MERCEDES-BENZ MARKS THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA, INTRODUCING THE FLAGSHIP IN ITS ALL-ELECTRIC EQ SUB-BRAND: A STRIKING TECH-SHROUDED SALOON WORTHY OF THE HOLY S CLASS DESIGNATION

BY AMANDA MCCOY

Mercedes-Benz has long relished making history. The Stuttgart-based ultra-premium maker has been churning out industry firsts and class-leading designations ever since the automotive visionary Carl Benz took a New Year’s Eve joyride in the world’s first petrol-powered automobile circa 1879. In 1972, the introduction of the W116 marked the birth of the storied S Class badge, setting a new standard in both luxury and next-gen tech, eventually breeding some of the most gloriously deluxe and wildly advanced cars on the road. For the next 50 years, through the cycles of constantly shifting consumer interests, the S Class-donning saloon transcended trends and today is one of the most iconic symbols in road-faring luxury. So if anyone questioned whether the performance automaker was serious about investing in a novel sub-brand of electrified vehicles announced at the Paris Auto Show in 2016 with the crossover Concept M EQ those doubts were officially laid to rest with the arrival of the EQS, Mercedes’ flagship EV, a stately sedan swimming in style, tech, and sex appeal.

Though the saloon shares many similarities with its gasoline-drinking cousin, the electric S Class was built on an all-new platform designed exclusively for Mercedes electric vehicles moving forward, and a fleet of new battery-toting vehicles is in the pipeline. A large 107.8-kWh battery serves as the heart of this sizable machine, and drivers can choose from two powertrains: a 329-hp, rear-drive setup in the EQS450+ or a meaty 516-hp, all-wheel-drive variant in the EQS580 4Matic. The latter also sports more than 600-lb.-ft. of torque. A host of performance goodies ensures a smooth, nimble ride, such as AIRMATIC Air Suspension with Adaptive Damping System and rear-axle steering up to 4.5 degrees (with an option to up that to ten degrees). But it wasn’t just range and performance that sent headlines into a frenzy. In true S Class fashion, the flagship EV zipped onto the scene sporting truly jaw-dropping interior tech. Let’s begin with the obvious: the AI-enabled MBUX Hyperscreen aptly named, considering the three-screen system is housed behind a single 56-inch sheet of curved glass that stretches from pillar to pillar. Drivers and passengers are each awarded their own infotainment screens in addition to a 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Onboard artificial intelligence studies its users’ behaviors and preferences to make intuitive suggestions, saving data in individual driver pro les. The Head-Up Display also features Mercedes’ hyper-advanced Augmented Reality Navigation.

For those craving more space, the EQS SUV will be officially unveiled on April 19, and though details were limited as of press time, Mercedes confirmed the high-rider will adopt the same 56-inch mega-display.

EQS’ Intelligent Integrated Navigation, a smart streetside sidekick that uses the maker’s proprietary Electric Intelligence to calculate the route, being sure to take into account charging stops, weather conditions, and topography.

Hand & Stone SPREAD

A FULLY CHARGED BATTERY takes about the same amount of time as a fast casual lunch, capable of refilling from 10 to 100% in only 31 minutes on a DC fast charger. For at-home charging, the battery is fully replenished after 11.25 hours using 240V.

UP TO SEVEN DRIVER PROFILES can be stored in the MBUX system, accessible via biometric authentication (fingerprint scanner), voice control, or facial recognition.

SIT BACK AND LET THE SALOON SERENADE YOU with the soothing sounds of nature. Mercedes partnered with revered nature acoustician Gordon Hempton to create a menu of exclusive auditory experiences designed to energize, calm, and inspire. The system’s 15-speaker Burmester audio system (along with a pair of subwoofers) bathe the vehicle in the melodies of the forest, sea, or summer rain.

STEP INTO YOUR PALACE ON WHEELS, featuring headrest pillows for front and rear passengers, four-zone climate control, multi-contour front seats with rapid-heat and massage functions, and more than 64 colors of ambient light to choose from. For chauffeured passengers, there’s also an optional Executive Rear Seat package, which includes adjustable back seats with massage function, neck and shoulder heating, and an individual tablet to control the MBUX system.

Starting MSRP is $102,310.