The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS—the marque’s first full-size electric sedan that is an alternative to Tesla’s Model S or the 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year-winning Lucid Air, as just two examples—may or may not appeal to you when it comes to its styling. But it hits hard in terms of modern luxury, comfort, and tech, as we’ve covered previously. That’s a big reason why it was a Car of the Year finalist, but how does it perform in a traditional sense when you drop the hammer and go big? We rocked it onto our testing courses to find out.
The 2022 Mercedes EQS580 4Matic takes its thrust from dual AC permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors, good for totals of 516 horsepower and 631 lb-ft of torque. We’ve already passed an inflection point in the greater automotive space-time continuum where those types of power and torque figures no longer cause anyone to wet themselves, but it’s still a more than fair amount of kick. However, our scales said the big blob checks in at 5,822 pounds, a long way from being a svelte street fighter ready to deliver much driving fun.
Not so, er, fast, partner. Our testing gear timed the EQS580 from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, and through the quarter mile in 12.2 seconds at 113.3 mph. That’s an expectedly long way from the Tesla Model S Plaid’s scorched-earth pace of 2.07 seconds to 60 mph and its 9.34-second quarter mile at 152.2 mph. But it’s not a lightyear away from the 3.2-second 60-mph time and the 11.7-second quarter mile at 116.0 mph we bagged with a 2016 Tesla Model X P90D Ludicrous. Our recent test of a 2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring yielded a 3.0-second 0-60 time and a quarter mile run of 10.8 seconds at 130.1 mph.
Sure, the 2022 Mercedes EQS is slower than those cars, but it’s a rocket ship compared to more than 90 percent of vehicles on the road today. In other words, keep some reasonable perspective: Feeling let down by the EQS’ accelerative prowess is a bit akin to someone who makes “only” $200,000 per year feeling depressed because they spend all their free time around friends with $2 million salaries.
From a technique standpoint, we discovered that the Mercedes EQS580 4Matic lurches forward when you floor both the brake and accelerator pedals—the same brake-torque method we employ often to get the best times out of conventional gasoline-powered cars with automatic transmissions. Instead, to launch this car well, simply use the brakes to keep the Mercedes from rolling and then quickly switch your foot over to drill the accelerator to the max. The motors feel impressively powerful and the EQS pulls strong initially before it gradually tapers off beginning around 80 mph. Nevertheless, you’re still traveling at more than 110 mph when you reach the quarter mile line.
We’re always as concerned with braking performance as we are acceleration, especially in incredibly quick cars that are also insanely heavy. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a high-speed punt from any vehicle, let alone a small land yacht that weighs nearly three tons. The 2022 Mercedes EQS580 stopped from 60 mph in a reasonably impressive 115 feet, on par with a much smaller, lighter performance car like the Hyundai Veloster N. We noted unsatisfying brake-pedal feel, along with a lack of energy-regeneration effect that could’ve lended extra confidence. But the ultimate result is solid, and we’re interested to see how AMG will tune this hardware on its future hopped-up model.
Lately when we test one of these here dang-fangled new electric cars, we find ourselves singing a mildly revised version of the Eurythmics’ 1983 hit single (here’s a YouTube link for you kids):
Here comes the weight again/Falling on contact patches like concrete …
Renewed marketplace obsession with straight-line speed and acceleration is an interesting phenomenon and/or byproduct of this EV age, but to enthusiasts, the overall driving experience in any vehicle is about a lot more than sheer force. With power-dense battery packs, instant-on torque, and in many cases all-wheel-drive traction, electric cars can be made to run stunningly quick and fast. When it comes to handling and the effect of mass on same, however, EVs’ high curb weights remain a fact of life.
That’s not to say EVs can’t handle well or are inherently no fun to drive; indeed, our 2022 MotorTrend Car of the Year judges had a blast recently in the rear-drive Porsche Taycan. That car might seem like an odd choice to compare against the 2022 Mercedes EQS580, as it’s intended to deliver a sports-car experience, and it weighs 4,860 pounds—practically a full half-ton less than the EQS. But it puts modern EV performance into perspective at opposite ends of the electric-car spectrum.
The Porsche pulled 0.93 g on average around on our skidpad and completed our figure-eight test in 25.0 seconds at a 0.76 g average. The Mercedes, despite its significantly greater mass and higher center of gravity, registered an average of 0.88 g on the skidpad and ran the figure-eight in 25.2 seconds at the same 0.76 g as the Taycan.
Considering its inherent on-paper dynamic physical disadvantages, the 2022 Mercedes EQS580 4Matic’s performance across the board isn’t too shabby. We were pleasantly surprised during our figure-eight runs; the EQS was much quicker than we imagined it would be, to the point we had to back up our braking zones significantly. The brakes performed well, but the soft pedal feel continued to not inspire confidence, as we found during our straight-up braking tests. We also thought the steering felt vague, but the car’s actual skidpad balance was quite good, yielding very mild understeer even as we piled on the front-tire-killing laps.
The EQS delivers surprisingly solid numbers to fortify its true mission of providing a grand, tech-rich, luxury experience, and that’s exactly what its maker set out to create. By the end of our testing, our overall impression of the EQS was that it is an extremely heavy vehicle with plenty of luxurious—and luxuriously silent—power. “Like a whale,” one of our drivers said, “or an old Mercedes-Benz.” Consider it a compliment.
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