2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS Review: A Comparatively Excellent Quiet Riot
The Mercedes-AMG EQS is exciting for what it is but lacks the drama that makes an AMG what we’ve coveted from Affalterbach before.
I’m the smartest guy in the room when I’m in a room full of houseplants. I’m the quickest to 60 mph when nobody else can drive faster than 55, and I’m the best-looking guy in probably six or seven counties, as long as those counties don’t have many people. For me and the 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS sedan, comparative excellence is still excellence. That’s because while the AMG EQS is not the quickest Mercedes in the land (it's tied with the SL 63 for 2022, or the AMG GT for 2021), nor is the EQS the biggest, nor the prettiest, nor the most luxurious, nor the most technically advanced, nor the figurative or actual flagship, it is—for now—the electric performance sedan of record for Mercedes-Benz. It’s worthy of that title.
Here’s how the AMG EQS earns it. Its alarmingly quick acceleration and high-tech interior are only slightly tempered by its oddball looks next to other Mercedes models. By Mercedes’ own admission, the EQS a leading indicator of where the brand wants to go with its electric vehicles, but perhaps not its lasting solution. Knowing as much, I took the EQS for a weeklong spin in the snow and found it was the super sedan Mercedes needs now, even if it’s the one I don’t necessarily want.
2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS 4Matic+ Specs
- Base Price (As Tested): $148,550 ($158,780)
- Powertrain: 107.8-kWh lithium-ion battery | dual permanently agitated synchronous motors | 1-speed transmission | all-wheel drive
- Horsepower: 649 (751 as tested with AMG Dynamic Plus package)
- Torque: 700 lb-ft (752 lb-ft as tested with AMG Dynamic Plus package)
- Seating capacity: 5
- Curb weight: 5,952 pounds
- Cargo volume: 22 cubic feet
- 0-60 mph: 3.4 seconds
- Top speed: 155 mph
- EPA fuel economy: 76 city | 78 highway | 77 combined
- EPA estimated range: 277 miles
- Quick take: Comparative excellence is still excellence.
- Score: 9/10
The Mercedes-AMG EQS is the automaker’s full-size, performance-leaning, luxury sedan and feels like more of a tech showcase than an heir apparent to the S-Class Mercedes doesn’t appear to be replacing anytime soon. For traditional AMG S-Class fans, the EQS may not resonate; it lacks the mellifluous V12 that big sedan has always had. Instead, the EQS sits atop the all-electric EQ range—for now. Wealthy shoppers looking to buy the biggest and most electric Mercedes may well be waiting for the EQS SUV to arrive soon.
The EQS’s exterior design grafts a bulbous, rounded shape atop dual electric motors and a 107.8-kWh battery. To be even clearer: It’s not especially handsome or avant-garde. The EQS cribs a shape that’s somewhere between the first-gen CLS sedan and the CLA, embiggened with proportions that identify it as a sleeker electric sedan, cutting a smaller hole in the wind with a 0.23 coefficient of drag, which is among the lowest out there. Its A-pillar reaches way forward on the front fender and cuts down on the big-hood proportions that make the S-Class traditionally handsome and also hint at a big motor under the hood.
The interior of the EQS is dominated by a bevy of touchscreens, collectively called the Hyperscreen, that occupy no less than 56 inches of real estate. Space for passengers and cargo is voluminous, albeit cold; most of what you see is meant for looking, not living. It’s comfortable and capacious, more like a contemporary art museum and less like a living room. Despite being the range-topping AMG version, the EQS I had missed some of the over-the-top luxuries normally found in flagship sedans: no crystal-topped shifter, intricate quilting, or every available surface slathered in open-pore wood.
For now, the EQS trades on its electric powertrain, which is less of a novelty and more about a brand name. To be fair, anyone making the jump to an EV from a gas-powered sedan will be immediately impressed by the EQS. Swaying buyers from other EVs? That’ll be a harder sell. Its 751 horsepower on tap is impressive and on par with similar EVs such as the Porsche Taycan Turbo, although the two deliver their power in dramatically different ways. Porsche’s appeal is violence; Mercedes’ appeal is silence.
Driving the Mercedes-AMG EQS
Bliss has a recipe, and the Mercedes EQS would prefer that you’re ignorant about electric cars, electric cars from other automakers, and upcoming electric cars from Mercedes. That’s because the blissful performance of the EQS is on par with its rivals—that’s to say, unlike any gas-powered car on the road. It’s alarming, hilarious, and intoxicating at every stoplight. It may get routine, but I’m not sure it’ll ever make me stop smiling.
Like almost every luxury car on the road, there are myriad combinations of drive modes, suspension settings, engine sound settings, regenerative braking thresholds, steering weight and sensitivity, power outputs … you get it. There’s a lot to customize. There are a lot of ways to set my microwave too, but I usually push the button that’s marked closest to “Let’s Go” when I’m hungry. I’m guessing most Mercedes-AMG buyers will do the same.
Most of my more than 180 miles were spent in the moderately limiting “Snow mode,” which dulls the throttle to a small roar and spins up the all-wheel-drive system as often as possible. The EQS’ traction was confident, made even more so by the winter tires smartly installed before one of Colorado’s notorious snowstorms.
If you’re looking for the quietest Mercedes, this is it. If you’re looking for the most tech-forward Mercedes, this is it. If you’re looking to entertain friends and family with an EV that has a three-pointed star on its nose, this is it. If you want to shock the neighborhood Joneses into green-eyed submission, well … you might be bored.
That’s because the EQS is so overt in its execution and so clinical in the application of its luxury and electrification that it risks fading into the background. My tester’s exterior shade of drywall-white paint didn’t much help either.
The Highs and Lows
The Mercedes-AMG EQS is exciting for what it is, but also equally exciting for what it’ll bring to the future. As an EV, it’s almost flawless in promising little and delivering a lot. If you’re expecting an AMG with quad exhaust tips, a big rear spoiler, and a snarl audible from the next county, look to one of their other offerings. To be fair, I didn’t track the EQS while I had it. To be even fairer, I’m not sure anyone else will either.
But it lacks the drama that makes an AMG what we’ve coveted from Affalterbach. That’s not a criticism of Mercedes, per se, but the larger performance EV landscape in general. I suspect that won’t dissuade many AMG EQS buyers today, but it may not inspire many in the future. If anything does, it’d be the touchscreens and they’re fine. No, really. They’re fine.
Mercedes-AMG EQS Features, Options, and Competition
Burmester’s wall of sound emanating from 15 speakers hit hard, but it’s the wall of screens that beats it to the punch. Its 56 inches of screen is more than what’s in my living room, and I won’t argue with it. I also don’t imagine it’ll show up on a Pebble Beach lawn in 60 years, either. If the EQS has a “killer app” it’s this: stone-cold predictability. Everything does what it says and says what it does. There’s very little guesswork involved, provided you’ve perused the manual or at least familiarized yourself with the controls for a couple of hours.
Considering its price and pedigree, the Mercedes EQS will inevitably be cross-shopped against the BMW i7, Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan, and Lucid Air. The EQS is none of the above. It eschews the conventional looks of the BMW, skips the rawness of the Porsche, misses the cultism of the Model S, and promises more recognition than the Lucid. (Being seen in a luxury car is sometimes just as important as driving one for many buyers.) Even if it’s not the prettiest of the bunch, at least it gets much better by throwing more money at it.
That’s a long way to say that the best EQS is the most expensive one. The pandemic limited my tester to a handful of options that weren’t available at assembly, including rear heated seats and automatic comfort doors. Burmester sound is a must and the only way to listen to Little Feat’s “Waiting for Columbus” live album, which was recorded on a 48-track deck in the 1970s, amazingly. Carbon-ceramic brakes for $5,450 are a no-brainer for something so heavy and so fast. All-in, the AMG EQS crests $150,000 quicker than it reaches the horizon. But you’re not interested in this car for its “value” anyway.
Range, Charging, and Efficiency
Snowy Colorado and high-performance, high-energy EVs don’t mix well. Yet, the AMG EQS easily displayed more than 200 miles of range on a single charge in snowy and ice-cold conditions, which was better than I expected. I suspect—and the EPA agrees—that there are much more efficient EVs on sale than the AMG EQS. Nonetheless, I had plenty of range for around-town jaunts, a spirited run up toward Boulder, Colorado, which is roughly 65 miles roundtrip, and more. At a nearby (and new) Electrify America fast-charger, the EQS hit speeds just north of 100 kW but shy of its claimed 200-kW charging capacity.
Replenishing 70 kWh of electrons in 48 minutes at the charger cost me $13.71 if that’s any concern to someone looking to buy a six-figure sedan. According to the trip computer, I managed 224 miles of range from a single charge at 514 Wh/mi with an average speed of 37 mph. That’s impressive, considering the cold weather, winter tires, and heater on blast just about everywhere I went. World-beating? Nah.
Not much about the AMG EQS screams “sustainability,” and mostly, early EVs aren’t going to save any whales. The EQS tips the scales at nearly 3 tons without any passengers aboard, which is anywhere from 700 to 1,300 pounds more than an S-Class. Similarly, the potent powertrain begs for generous stabs with a right foot, which drains energy at a prodigious and hugely entertaining rate.
Not all the news is bad: Colorado rates near the middle among states for its renewable energy usage, and I’m a hopeless sap who pays a little more each month for sustainable energy at home. (The National Renewable Energy Lab is right down the road, so I consider it a way to support local businesses.) What’s more, Mercedes uses renewable nylon in its carpet stitches, the AMG EQS is produced in a carbon-neutral facility, and the vehicle’s steel is 80% recycled material. Small wins.
Value and Verdict
The Mercedes-AMG EQS’ value proposition is easy to summarize in that there isn’t one. It’s fast, it’s luxurious, and it’s a Mercedes. None of those words alone signal a great value for money. Its value is perhaps greater to Mercedes, which now knows that it has a powertrain to compete with other EV makers, even if their packaging isn’t quite ready yet.
Given that, the EQS easily scores a 9 out of 10. How so? The AMG EQS is every bit a performance sedan, a Mercedes, and a relative riot for well-heeled buyers. Comparative excellence is still excellence. And the Mercedes-AMG EQS is excellent at what it does.
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