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2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ review: Electric opulence

Battery-electric vehicles are usually associated with speed, efficiency, and sustainability. Why? Because the cars making headlines are incredibly quick, travel long distances, and make extensive use of renewable or recyclable materials. As the industry embraces electrification, the range of available BEVs has broadened, resulting in the arrival of luxury entries. The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is among those focusing on the premium experience; it’s the first BEV to arrive in the United States wearing the legendary three-pointed star. The name suggests that it’s an all-electric S-Class; a tall order considering the S-Class has long been the benchmark among flagship luxury sedans. Let’s see if that’s truly the case by taking a deep dive into the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ exterior

2022 Mercedes Benz EQS 450 front three quarters 07
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

One of the most striking features of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ is its shape. The car ditches the typical three-box sedan design for a streamlined look, which helps it achieve a 0.20 coefficient of drag. You’re not mistaking this car for anything else on the road because of its curvy profile, short overhangs, and unusual dimensions. However, the EQS’ shape compromises rear visibility because of the small rear window.

The front fascia is barely changed from the Vision EQS Concept, combining the enclosed grille with the headlight clusters to create its unmistakable face. When you take a closer look at the exterior details, you’ll notice a sense of perfectionism. From the door handle operation and the sound of the doors closing to how every panel is perfectly aligned, the EQS exudes the aura of a flagship vehicle.

Interesting LED lighting treatments are found all over the vehicle complete with sequential light-up sequences that add drama and character. When you lock or unlock the EQS at night, the headlights put on a cool star shower light show for you. Hit the start button and they do a sweeping motion like spotlights on a movie premier. The taillights illuminate from the center and sweep out to main clusters that look like electric coils. You’ll also note that the EQS has an LED light strip spanning the width of the car in the front and rear, connecting the main headlight and taillight clusters.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ interior

2022 Mercedes Benz EQS 450 front seats 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

Mercedes bills the EQS as the S-Class of BEVs. This is most evident in the interior because the fit, finish, and build quality is simply impeccable. Everything you touch and interact with feels expensive and gives you a sense that this vehicle is special. Neat touches like matte wood inlays, metal speaker grilles, Rose Gold accents on the doors and air vents, knurled air vent surrounds and front seat adjustment buttons, and contrast stitching gives the cabin an aura of modern sophistication. Like the exterior, every piece of the cabin is put together with staggering precision, highlighting the level of care that went into the vehicle. You won’t find any misaligned pieces here, just first-class attention to detail and exceptional workmanship.

Further cementing EQS’ position as a proper full-size luxury sedan is the level of sound insulation. Regardless of how quickly you’re driving, the cabin is whisper quiet and you don’t need to raise your voice when talking to passengers in the rear. Mercedes did a fantastic job ensuring wind, tire, and road noise are nearly eliminated; even over rough pavement, the cabin is so isolated that impacts barely register as blips to occupants. The lack of powertrain noises amplifies the car’s refined nature because it gives you a sense that you’re separated from the rest of the world in luxurious comfort.

More vehicles feature ambient lighting across the mainstream and luxury segments but Mercedes takes this to another level in the EQS.  Beyond the 64 individual colors, you have 10 multi-tone themes that constantly change between their pre-set hues. There’s also the Energy Shine mode that cycles through all colors based on what the car is doing. When accelerating hard or if there’s someone in your blind spot, certain sections turn red. During regenerative braking, the light strips turn blue and turquoise and pulse to indicate that the vehicle is recovering energy.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the EQS is how practical it is. How? Because it’s a hatchback. Yes, you read that right the range-topping Mercedes-Benz BEV has a liftgate. That gives you generous cargo space regardless of whether you have the rear seats up or down. Despite the car’s low-slung roofline, there’s plenty of vertical space to stack items. In case you need to hide your belongings, there are two bins in the cargo area, a small but deep one on the left side and another under the floor. Clever packaging gives the EQS lots of places for your small items. There’s an area under the center console for your Prada handbag and other knick-knacks. Right above it is another cubby that easily fits big smartphones with a cord connected to it and has removable cup holders to expand the available space when needed.

As expected from a flagship luxury sedan with a six-figure price tag, the EQS coddles you in supreme comfort. The front seats offer near-endless adjustability, meaning you’re guaranteed to find the ideal seating position. You’ll be pampered, too, thanks to the heated and ventilated massaging front seats with 10 different massage settings. To ensure that your back is taken care of, the EQS has a seat kinematics function that makes subtle adjustments so that you’re not in one position for prolonged periods. The car will even adjust your seating position by looking at your posture to suggest an ideal setting.  Rear seat passengers have generous head and legroom thanks to the nearly flat floor and a scalloped headliner to ensure people don’t bonk their heads. In case your rear-seat passengers need extra comfort, there’s the Executive Rear Seat Package Plus that adds massaging multi-contour rear seats, a tablet, and neck heating.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ tech features

2022 Mercedes Benz EQS 450 passenger display 01
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

MBUX remains one of the most comprehensive infotainment systems on the market, blending multiple control types with ease of use. The EQS 450+ gets the standard setup with a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster plus a 12.8-inch OLED main touch screen. You can upgrade that to the MBUX Hyper screen like in our test car, which essentially turns the dash into a screen. A single glass panel houses the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, a passenger display of the same size, and a 17.7-inch main touch screen, totaling 56 inches’ worth of display real estate.

Like the standard version, the menus are intuitive and easy to figure out and most settings are only one to two taps away. Quick responses to your inputs make the interface even easier to learn and it helps that everything pops up in a separate window that you can easily close. Clear graphics and large icons minimize distraction when you need to change something on the move.

Quibbles? There aren’t many physical buttons. Although they kept them for seat controls, most of the shortcut buttons, including the ones on the steering wheel are haptic feedback or part of a larger panel. Even with built-in indents, they can be finicky to use without taking your eyes off the road. The small black touchpads on the steering wheel are also inconsistent with their responses, requiring multiple swipes to get it to register your inputs.

The standard Burmester surround sound system is among the best in-car audio experiences. It’s crisp, clean, and highly customizable, giving you plenty of ways to personalize the unit based on your tastes and/or the type of music you listen to. Speakers are spread throughout the cabin including within the headliner to create an immersive experience and provide even coverage. Mercedes also uses the audio system to play cool futuristic sounds when the EQS is in motion. The Comfort setting keeps the spaceship noises subtle, highlighting the cabin’s generous levels of sound insulation. Switching to Sport mode amplifies the funky tunes, adding extra character to a sedan that’s already packed with personality.

The virtual assistant is among the best out there. It’s easy to talk to the vehicle and have it do things like change the temperature, fan speed, massage setting, and media. Best of all, it makes the experience a little more personalized and human-centric because you’re interacting with the vehicle by talking to it. MBUX Hyperscreen’s artificial intelligence also learns what you frequently use and will put them at the bottom of the main menu so you can easily access them. If you use the massaging seats a lot, for example, a shortcut to that will pop up next to the larger media tab. There’s also an available augmented reality function that shows arrows pointing to your next turn on the main display.

Mercedes-Benz is among the leaders in safety and it shows in the EQS. Every variant gets a full suite of driver assistance technologies as standard and they work wonderfully. The lane centering and steering components are so gentle with their corrections it’s almost imperceptible when it nudges you back into your lane. With adaptive cruise control on, it’ll help you navigate mild turns and slow down ahead of time so you can complete them safely. The system will also automatically change lanes for you if the one you’re trying to move into is clear. The distancing component is proactive and keeps the gap you’ve set as closely as possible. In traffic, the system will allow you to crawl, maintain your set distance, follow the vehicle ahead, and come to a full stop. When the car you’re following pulls away, the EQS will follow immediately while keeping your set gap. It’ll even slow down or help you make evasive maneuvers to prevent an accident.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ driving impressions

2022 Mercedes Benz EQS 450 rear three quarters 02
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

To say that the EQS is a superb cruiser is merely scratching the surface. Road imperfections essentially disappear underneath this big sedan, resulting in a supple ride. Nothing fazes this land yacht; you know you’ve gone over something but only because you hear little thuds from bumps and other obstacles. The adaptive air suspension with adjustable dampers does an outstanding job isolating the passenger compartment without causing excessive body motions. Even putting the suspension or the vehicle into Sport mode doesn’t hurt the EQS’ ride quality because it still coddles you in supreme comfort.

For its size, the EQS is incredibly easy to maneuver in tight spaces. Credit the standard rear-wheel steering system, which turns the rear wheels 10 degrees in either direction to help the car turn in better. As a result, U-turns and getting out of tight spaces are a cinch. On the road, the rear-wheel steering system also helps the EQS handle better, resulting in a car that drives smaller than its size might suggest. It corners confidently and doesn’t flop around when you execute evasive maneuvers. The car also rotates easily, resulting in neutral road manners when pushed hard.

When combined with the low center of gravity courtesy of the 107.8-kWh lithium-ion battery mounted under the passenger compartment, you get a luxury sedan that retains its poise through the corners. Body motions, especially roll, are well controlled and nearly non-existent even when pushed hard. There’s not much dive during braking either, enhancing the car’s stability. Nicely weighted steering completes the package and adds to the EQS’ pleasant driving experience. It’s light and easy at low speeds and adds just the right amount of weight in Sport mode and at higher speeds.

The EQS 450+ uses a single electric motor with 329 hp and 417 lb-ft of torque mounted on the rear axle. There’s plenty of usable power to move the 5,597-pound sedan without any fuss thanks to the instant torque that doesn’t taper off immediately. That makes passing, merging, and climbing steep inclines a cinch even with five people in the car. It’s not going to shove you back hard into your seat like more powerful BEVs but it will give you a noticeable push, especially from a standstill. Since power is going strictly to the rear wheels, it’s easy to overdrive them and get the car to rotate and bring the back end around. You’ll also note a distinctly rear-drive sensation because you feel a pushing motion when you accelerate.

Brake pedal operation is natural because there’s no clear point where the handoff from regenerative to mechanical braking happens. As a result, you don’t get jerked around when you have to suddenly stop. The EQS’ strong energy recuperation helps recharge the battery and slow the vehicle down significantly when you ease off the pedal. In addition to normal regeneration, you can completely turn it off or increase it via the paddles on the steering wheel, the latter of which slows the car down the most.

The EQS also has one-pedal operation, allowing you to bring it to a full stop without touching the brake pedal. One of the ways the car helps you drive smoothly is by automatically depressing the brake pedal when slowing down via regenerative braking. This keeps you from inputting too much stopping power, preventing any chances of jerking your occupants around. Additionally, the driver can be more precise when braking, resulting in smoother operation.

Using a DC charger, the EQS can charge at peak rates of up to 200 kW. This allows it to go from 10 to 80 percent in 31 minutes. A level 2/240-volt AC charger will get you a full charge in just under 12 hours at rates of up to 11 kW. Due to the battery’s large size, it takes longer to charge the EQS on an AC charger. Some of its competitors like the Porsche Taycan and Audi e-tron GT DC charge at higher peak rates of up to 270 kW. According to the EPA, the EQS 450+ can travel 350 miles on a single charge. During our week with the car, we easily surpassed those estimates and even broke into the 400-mile mark on one charge.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ pricing

The 2022 EQS 450+ starts at $103,360. Our test car, which was the mid-level Exclusive trim with several standalone options plus the MBUX Hyperscreen costs $117,965. Every EQS is eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit plus state and local incentives. The range-topping Pinnacle trim gets additional extras like heated and ventilated rear seats.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ final verdict

2022 Mercedes Benz EQS 450 front three quarters 05
Photo credit: Stefan Ogbac / EV Pulse

There’s no question that the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ is a proper flagship luxury sedan. Everything about it screams premium and exudes an aura that gives you a sense that this car is a high-end product. This time, it’s wrapped in a package loaded with cutting-edge technology and top-notch build quality. The EQS is proof that you can turn a BEV into a legitimate luxury vehicle, a car that doesn’t sacrifice comfort, space, and conveniences in the name of sustainability and zero-emissions mobility. So yes, the EQS is the S-Class of BEVs because it takes the premiumness of the current flagship and puts it in the car that serves as the harbinger of Mercedes-Benz’s future. We look forward to seeing how Mercedes-Benz redefines luxury as it expands its BEV portfolio. If the EQS sedan is any indication, the cars and crossovers following it will live up to the three-pointed star adorning their hoods regardless of their size and positioning in the market.

At a glance

  • Year: 2022
  • Make: Mercedes-Benz
  • Model: EQS 450+
  • Trim: Exclusive
  • Type: 4-door full-size luxury sedan
  • Horsepower: 329
  • Torque: 417 lb-ft
  • EPA range: 350 miles
  • Combined MPGe: 97
  • Pros: Smooth ride, impeccable workmanship, spacious interior
  • Cons: Not many physical controls, some competitors DC charge faster, small rear window limits visibility
  • Base price: $103,360
  • Price as tested: $117,965
Written by Stefan Ogbac
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