Mercedes-Benz continues to dribble out new details on its EQS electric sedan, and today we get to see what it looks like without the camo. Take a gander. What do you think?
“It’s as simple as it is striking,” said Sylvain Wehnert, VP of Mercedes-Benz Design and the head of the company’s studio in Carlsbad, California. “This one line that starts from the front goes all the way over the roof and then, with this nice tension, ends in the rear and creates this monolithic, mono-volume but at the same time super sporty and luxurious shape.”
Your eye and your brain never shake the feeling that this body was shaped for aerodynamic efficiency above all else.
“What you see here is clearly an S-Class in the context of EV mobility,” Sylvain said.
The look and the basic proportions started about six years ago with the F 015 concept that was built to foretell the coming autonomous driving future, but which could also be driven by a real human being. That look was further refined in the Vision EQS, which looked a little closer to a real car that could be produced and sold around the world. And now we have the straight-up EQS, the S-Class of electric cars.
So what’s it like to see in the flesh? The whole thing looks really, really rounded, not so much like a jelly bean but more like a large and very healthy vegetable, one that is good for you and you will eat it whether you want to or not.
“Looking at the proportion, that’s obviously the most striking, unexpected element,” said Wehnert. “We don’t need a tremendous hood, so we shortened it. To the degree where we really liked the proportion, we also took opportunity of the fact that we could bring the front point of the cowl down, create this really aerodynamic but super sporty look, it’s super-seamless and clean and round on the front section, because you don’t have a radiator grille, so you’re much more flexible. That’s how we interpret it, this is new freedom in the front.”
That theme stretches all the way to the back of the car. Even the door handles retreat flat into the doors, presenting themselves when you swipe your hand across them.
“We’ve continued with our design theme of the bow design,” said Sylvain. “So you see the bow basically coming from the front, we’re stretching all over the DLO (daylight opening) to the very end of the car. And what it does is, even though this is a big car, this is a very big car, it looks super-sleek and stretched, and elegant and dynamic. And it looks actually much lower than it is when you walk to it. And you really notice that it is, as a matter of fact, an inch higher than an S Class.”
The S-Class manages to look far sleeker, despite its large proportions. But the S-Class doesn’t have to create an absolute bare-minimum coefficient of drag the way the EQS must.
The slope of the roofline has some of the 2015 F 015 concept car left in it, but on the EQS it’s more like something made strictly for aerodynamics, like the Otto Aviation Celera 500, Piaggio P180 Avanti, or even a Cirrus Vision SF 50, all airplanes with large, cucumber-shaped fuselages that are very efficient if not exactly beautiful. Yet the very fact that we’re comparing the EQS sedan with airplanes suggests that it is a highly efficient shape. Indeed, Mercedes quotes the car’s coefficient of drag at 0.20, the lowest in the world for a production car. (And yes, that’s with the mirrors on.)
Inside the car will remind you very much of the S-Class, with much of that car’s new electronics and infotainment. Gone is the living-room feeling of the F 015 concept, the front seats of which swiveled around while the car’s robot brain drove. The EQS interior is almost snug.
“One of the things that we did was bring the A-Pillar further forward to generate a more generous or airy, space,” said Sylvain. “Sitting in the front seat you have quite a distance to the windscreen, which just creates this nice, light and not-too encapsulated feeling on the interior space.”
That carries over to the rear seats, too, it’s snug but far from claustrophobic. Just not like the F 015, which was a concept car and not bound by the rules of production. The concept’s crazy number of touchscreens is down somewhat, but there are still three distinct screens splayed out across the dash.
“What we were able to do using the opportunities of having an electric vehicle, we were able to lean the dashboard forward away from you to also give this roominess that you would like to have in front of you as even as a front passenger. But in order to give you still this safe and embraced feeling, we introduced this wraparound theme that in a distance still encloses you, and gives you basically this right balance between space, but also being embraced inside the vehicle.”
That panoramic screen across the dash is known as the Hyperscreen, a feature that will be standard on the EQS 580 model and optional on the 450 Plus model. While it is three separate screens, it appears as one, sweeping festival of electronics.
“Instead of introducing three separate screens, we wanted to merge it into one digital experience, field or landscape or sculpture,” Sylvain said. “So for us, this is actually like an art piece on its own.”
The curved Hyperscreen’s three screens start in front of the driver, with a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, a 17.7-inch screen in the middle, and a 12.3-inch passenger display. Rear seats can come with two 11.3-inch screens to keep everybody happy and entertained. The Hyperscreen is not standard equipment; you start with the waterfall screen from the base S-Class. MBUX infotainment is present here, but the NAV system includes charging stations wherever you go. “Mercedes me Charge” also offers the best and most comprehensive charging, with several charging networks available through a single plan, with access to over 90 percent of all public chargers in the U.S., including fast chargers. The HUD display is available in two sizes and is very helpful, or looks like it’ll be when we get a drive.
The EQS rides on an all-new architecture called the EVA platform. It is scalable in most dimensions and will soon accommodate two new sedans and two SUVs, the EQS sedan you see here, and an EQS SUV, along with E-Class-sized sedan and SUV. The EQE sedan will make its debut this year and will go on sale in 2022. This giant EQS you see here arrives in showrooms this fall, priced around what the S-Class sedan costs.
The EQS will be available in a 450 or 580 model. The 450 will have one motor only, powering the rear wheels, while the 580 will have its own take on Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The EQS models will get 329 hp or 516 and what Mercedes says will be “at least 406 lb-ft of torque.”
The ultimate question of range is still a little up in the air. The biggest battery available will have 107.8 kWh of juice, and consists of a new-generation of lithium-ion technology developed by Mercedes. It’ll go 479 miles on a charge if you follow the more generous European WLTP testing. Our SAE range will be lower but is still likely to surpass 400 miles. The battery itself is warrantied even to include range, for up to 155,000 miles. Top speed is electronically limited to 130 mph. Regen can be adjusted by the driver to any one of three modes.
Will the EQS and its coming siblings take a big bite out of Tesla, Lucid, and whoever else manages to come to market with an actual electric “car”? Yes, of course. The future is inevitably electric, and the EQS shows that you can have just about everything you ever wanted in a luxury car in an electric Mercedes.
Please share your thoughts on the just unveiled Mercedes-Benz EQS. Is it what you expected, or does the design dissapoint? Let us know in the comments below.
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