Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 Off To A Flying Start In India
- Oct 13, 2022
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The best car in the world is a promise that the S-Class provides and the EQS adds an electrifying twist to that promise. It’s an electric, but with the range, driving experience and features rivalling any and even bettering most oil burners. Can it be the only ‘S’ you should consider when chasing that world-beating experience? We spent a full day behind the wheel of the EQS 580 to find out.
The EQS 580 is truly distinctive for sure. More spaceship than car. That near-perfect curved silhouette allows the EV to cut through the air like no other. Mercedes claims it’s the most aero-efficient car in the world with a drag coefficient value (Cd) of just 0.20.
The standouts have to be the connected all-LED headlamps with Digital Light internals that allow the light to dance around traffic in the night. The alloys are available in a few designs, though these aren’t our favourite aero design on an electric.
The rear of the EQS is equally smooth-flowing and the connected tail lamps that match the light signature up front just adds to its after dark appeal.
What doesn’t really come across on images is the sheer size of the EQS. Despite it not being a LWB car, the EV is only 66mm shorter than the S-Class length-wise.
For us the experience with the EQS has to start from the best seat in the house, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but it's clearly the one behind the wheel. Let me explain.
The reasons for this are many, but a good place to start with is what lurks under the driver’s right foot. 523PS and 855Nm of torque that’s capable of pushing this 2.5 tonne luxury sled to 100kmph in just 4.3 seconds! That’s a fair deal quicker than the S-Class oil burners. More than enough to get anyone's pulse racing.
This all comes from a 107.8kWh battery pack that powers two brushless electric motors, one on the front axle and the other on the rear. In fact, with that claimed range at over 857km (ARAI certified) and an expected real world range of well over 600 kilometres, we never really had any need to look down at the clocks to check on the range the whole day.
And even more impressive is that its electric performance of instant torque is strong enough to push you into the seat at any speed, even when pulling overtakes at highway speeds.
That driving experience is also very natural. In the way the car accelerates, in the way the motors are quiet, just like in the S-Class. And then when the roads get twisty, it seems to bend around corners and shrink around you, all thanks to that rear-wheel steering… magical. It will soon have you forgetting that it’s an electric in no time.
The ride, again like the S-Class, is sophisticated, comfortable and yet not mushy. Comfort is an all-day mode. And it's not a pain around corners either. Sport firms things up but only a tad, so it's still comfortable.
What's not so great is the ground clearance, not unsurprising for a long, low-slung luxury car. Air suspension that raises itself comes to the rescue here and it will even remember bad speed bumps on your regular route by logging GPS coordinates and lifting up automatically. But, on unknown roads, it's best to have the manual ride height toggle button handy for raising the suspension up for speed bumps that come out of nowhere.
The next most impressive thing has to be the MBUX Hyperscreen, which gives the cockpit a sense of occasion like no other. If we must have multiple screens I hope they start to look like this rather than multiple rectangles peppered around the otherwise soothing, curvy interior.
The driver’s head-up display is also a thing of brilliance. Firstly because it's massive. It's also bright, clear and customisable. No, it still doesn't get augmented reality yet but it's still easily one of the best HUDs we've experienced to date.
And the rest of the tech package goes on to include the AI learning from the adaptive display and interface that can call a friend or relative who you usually call on a weekend. Or remembering which massage function you like on your way back home. Then there are multiple profiles that can be saved and accessed either with face, fingerprint or voice recognition.
There's even access to online streaming music to play through the excellent 15-speaker 710W Burmester sound system. Connected car tech will allow you to pre-cool the car and even set preset times for this activity regularly. Safety is taken care of too with nine airbags and a five-star Euro NCAP score.
Being a top-shelf Mercedes-Benz, the EQS expectedly feels plush everywhere. Seats are cushy, everything is soft to touch and solidly put together and the design, though quite modern, still undoubtedly screams luxury.
Front passengers are again cuddled with massage functions, auto seat adjustments based on height and even seat settings unlocked with a fingerprint. The seats are also cooled and heated, again reaffirming my claim that they are the seats of choice in the EQS.
Now let me drive home my point. The rear seats are equally cushy, recline a little, have soft cushions for your head, are heated and cooled too. And you do get a second wireless phone charger. But that's it. No massage functions and no rear entertainment screens.
Yes, you do get a little tablet remote control, but it just about controls the mood lighting and infotainment. No access to remotely close the sunroof or much else. Almost like it’s more E-Class than S-Class with regard to the rear seats.
Mind you in the S-Class the list of features in the rear and the legroom, are a lot longer. Massage seats, many more degrees of recline, foot rest, screens, privacy blinds, and more. Sure you can comfortably spend a whole week travelling in the back seat of the EQS while Jeeves drives you to work every day. But there's no doubt you'd be better served in the S-Class. For the weekends, when Jeeves has his day off, you will enjoy the EQS more.
Don't get me wrong, this car is very very special, like any Mercedes-Benz with an ‘S’ in the badge. It's just not the experience we are used to associating with its forerunners.
With multiple ‘S’ flavours available we do have to talk about sibling rivalry. The very tip of the luxury iceberg has to be the EQS 53 AMG. First because of its Rs 2.45 crore price tag, then for its insane, mind-bending performance and finally the sporty opulence of those AMG interiors.
The EQS 580 is more of an all-rounder with more elegance and poise. But, at the touch of the button and a prod on the go pedal, it’s fast too. A middle child for sure, but not one to sit on the sidelines either.
The S-Class then is clearly the one that focuses all of its energy at that rear boss seat. It's nice from behind the wheel and it's fast too. The entertainment package and design is just a step behind the newer EQS’ but still exquisite. But when it comes to the pièce de rèsistance, the spa-like experience in the rear seats, it's the S-Class you will gravitate to every single time.
When the S-Class came to our office a while ago, I sat in the rear seat, in our parking lot, thoroughly engrossed and entertained for two whole hours straight. With the EQS, I spent all day just driving it. If you need only that back seat, then the S-class still reigns supreme. But, if you want a more overall car experience then the EQS arguably ticks more boxes.
The 580 is brilliant and I loved my day with this car. The experience is nothing short of exemplary in every way and except when you push the pedal to the floor, you don’t remember it's electric because of the way it accelerates and performs. And the fact that I didn't once look down to see how much range I had left, is testament to that. It certainly does deserve that ‘S’ badge, but it is a different experience. And considering that Mercedes-Benz plans to make over 500 of them in the next few years, there's more who think so too.
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