2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS Review: Fantastic yet fleeting

Eric Weiner

The AMG EQS is the latest in a rich line of Mercedes sedans stuffed with excessive performance. Going back many years, AMG versions of the S-Class—primarily the V-8 S63 AMG and V-12 S65 AMG—brought a dignified brutality to the inimitable full-sizer. To this day, when CEOs, celebrities, and kingpins want to project strength as they’re shuttled around Los Angeles, London, Moscow, or Hong Kong, they do so from the magnificently padded seat of a full-size AMG sedan.

Our own Grace Houghton and Aaron Robinson have driven other, non-AMG versions of the EQS, which is essentially Mercedes’ take on a pure-EV S-Class. (Read their reviews of the EQS 580 and 450+ here and here.) Both editors found the big bean to be an impressive first swing of an electric Mercedes flagship sedan, albeit one that could use some more at-bats. That’s indeed the case for this high-performance EQS, which also bears the burden of defining what AMG means when it’s powered by a battery.

2022-Mercedes-AMG-EQS front
Eric Weiner

Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote a piece on the Mercedes-AMG E63 wagon. The prose was a bit breathless, looking back, but if any car deserved an extra helping of effusiveness this was it. A barking V-8-powered longroof you’d want to drive all day and night, from the school pick-up lane to the farthest-flung back road. Performance and practicality are enticing, of course, but what made this AMG so endearing was its honking German hot-rod personality. The car got under my skin, and I wanted it to stay there.

Driving the first all-electric Mercedes-AMG in America, the $148,550 EQS, produced no such attachment. Performance is not its shortcoming, so much as lack of charm. The car commands 751 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque from a dead stop. Acceleration, even in snowy conditions with winter tires, is sudden and violent. Dial back the traction control and it is possible to execute effortless, perfect drift circles in an unplowed parking lot. And despite its prodigious 5952-pound heft, the AMG EQS is remarkably agile on a twisty road, dancing over icy pavement like a lithium-ion humpback whale.

2022-Mercedes-AMG-EQS carbon ceramic brakes
These optional AMG carbon-ceramic rotors cost $5450. Eric Weiner

It even rides marvelously, with standard adaptive damping and air suspension that makes the car feel like it’s gliding. Such ride and handling prowess for a car in this class distinguishes the AMG EQS from the drag-king Tesla Model S, the car that planted the flag for electric high performance in the modern age but isn’t nearly as beloved for its chassis tuning. (For the record, Mercedes estimates the AMG EQS can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, but it feels closer to 3 seconds flat. Even being generous, that’s still a second slower than the Model S Plaid.) More competition is fast approaching, too. In addition to the current Audi RS e-tron GT and Porsche Taycan Turbo S, BMW has just announced its own entry into this arena, the 650-hp i7 M70 xDrive.

Specs: 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS

Price: $148,550 / $159,110 (base/as-tested)
Powertrain: 107.8-kW lithium-ion battery; twin permanently excited synchronous electric motors (one per axle)
Horsepower: 649 hp (751 hp with additional boost in Race Start mode)
Torque: 700 lb-ft (752 lb-ft with additional boost in Race Start mode)
Layout: All-wheel-drive, four-door, five-passenger liftback sedan
EPA-Rated Fuel Economy: 76/78/77 MPGe (city/hwy/combined)
Range: 277 miles
0–60 mph: 3.4 seconds (est.)
Competitors: Porsche Taycan Turbo S, BMW i7 M70, Tesla Model S Plaid, Audi RS e-tron GT

In what now amounts to a dreadfully familiar formula, the AMG EQS employs a large lithium-ion battery (here 107.8 kW) that feeds energy to electric motors, one on each axle. Total range is 277 miles, which is well shy of the rear-drive EQS and its claimed 350 miles. Given the sub-freezing conditions during our test, I was not surprised to experience range much closer to 230 miles. Most owners will charge every day at home, which Mercedes says will take 11.25 hours from empty to fully charged using a standard 240V wallbox. The AMG EQS also supports DC fast charging up to 110 kW, and can go from 10 percent to 80 percent charged in 31 minutes.

2022-Mercedes-AMG-EQS charge port
Eric Weiner

That’s all under optimal conditions, of course. Cold not only reduces range, as it does in combustion-engine vehicles, but it also slows down the rate of charge. Using the EQS’ free charging program at Electrify America stations (no-cost fast charging for the first 30 minutes, during the first 2 years), we managed to go from 30 percent to 95 percent in 50 minutes.

That is, objectively, a long time to wait if you are trying to get back on the highway during a road trip. However, if you’re going to wait there’s no better place to do it than inside the EQS. The back seat, for one, is absolutely humongous, with leg and head room for days. Despite the lack of frunk, the trunk is also huge, with enough room to store weekend luggage for four people and then some. Not to be outdone in the realm of enormity, the “Hyperscreen” display is 56 inches. There are six 100-watt USB-C ports, and Burmester’s 3D Surround Sound system features 15 speakers with as many separate amplifier channels and 710 watts of Rush-thumping audio power. Everything within reach is lovely to the touch, from the inlaid wood to the luscious Nappa leather. In that regard, this is is a luxury sedan with few equals.

On the outside, unfortunately, the AMG EQS looks, well, like the regular EQS does. A blob of bland that even sweet 22-inch multispoke AMG wheels can’t spice up. I can appreciate that flying under the radar is part of the appeal with a full-size Mercedes, but there’s a certain elegance to the S-Class that the EQS is missing. If this design was the price we had to pay for truly exceptional range, then looking like the offspring of two wind tunnels would be a reasonable trade-off. Not the case here. To wit: The door handles retract to produce a more streamlined profile when the car locks; when they’re covered in ice, however, they make unpleasant noises and sometimes fail to extend when you need to get back in.

2022-Mercedes-AMG-EQS door handle
Eric Weiner

Mercedes seems to have focused primarily on the tech and infotainment experience, which centers around the AMG’s aforementioned (and standard) “Hyperscreen.” It’s really three OLED screens—instrument panel for the driver, center display, and secondary display for the front passenger. The instrument cluster is customizable and features a variety of different themes, and across the board the displays are amazingly sharp. The center screen defaults to a gigantic map, which feels a bit overkill at first, but you quickly get used to it. The interface is heavy on touch and capacitive response, but it works well even while wearing gloves. Passengers up front can adjust the music or climate functions on their screen without disrupting the map feed, which will be welcome on long drives with a rider fond of fiddling.

By far the most impressive capability of this system is the augmented-reality navigation. It overlays graphics onto the head-up display that literally point to the lane you should be in and highlight the road you should take as it comes up in real time. The system even works in the dark, using a night-vision camera and video feed that go a long way on unlit, unfamiliar roads. It’s one of the rare OEM navigation systems that presents a compelling reason to use it over Google Maps via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

2022 mercedes amg eqs hyperscreen
Eric Weiner

Of course, these tech features are available on other versions of the EQS. That’s where the AMG runs into trouble. Even the non-AMG EQS sedans are plenty quick thanks to the immediate torque of the electric motors, such that easy passing on the highway is guaranteed. Their ride is just as supple, too. Rear-wheel steering—unbelievably useful in tight, low-speed maneuvers, such as in a parking garage—is also not unique to the AMG EQS. I’m not sure how many full-size luxury sedan buyers in this price bracket are going to consider the AMG’s (admittedly fantastic) chassis upgrades to be a dealmaker when range is a competing priority. The power and torque are extraordinary, yes, but the EQS’s synthesized whomps, whirs, and whooshes are no replacement for the emotion of Mercedes’ twin-turbo V-8.

2022-Mercedes-AMG-EQS front 34
Eric Weiner

Two years ago, it was obvious why you’d want the E63 over the E400: all the pleasures and delights of a luxury Mercedes wagon, packed with the swagger of an AMG engine and a chassis that let you really explore it. Two years from now, it’ll be 2025. There will be plenty of six-figure luxury EVs on the road, and with any luck they’ll keep getting better. Designers, engineers, and product planners in Affalterbach will surely continue developing AMG’s personality as an electric performance arm. By then, I hope, they’ll have found a way back under our skin.

2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS

Highs: Go-to-jail fast, on command. Exceptional chassis tuning. Gorgeous materials and eye-popping infotainment tech.

Lows: Frumpy looks. Fussy retractable door handles. Not quite enough “wow” to separate it from other EQS models.

Takeaway: A highly competent, highly luxurious Mercedes EV that doesn’t yet communicate what AMG means in the electric age.




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    You’ve captured the essence of electric vehicles: Who cares? Am tired of the Tesla guy coming up to my Mustang wanting to race. No sound, no soul. EVs if adopted will kill our auto obsession. They’re a boring appliance. Even an S Class version apparently–also ugly. What happened to MB styling? 1996 Taurus is calling.

    Thanks for responding, Mike. I care about EVs, to the extent that I think they could be designed, marketed, and discussed in ways that would make them a lot more appealing to the average customer. I have driven EVs that were genuinely fun and and delivered on their promise — the Model 3 is a great example. It’s simple to figure out, practically sized, easy to live with if you charge at home, fast as hell, has lots of range, and the chassis is brilliant. I love the sound of a straight-six (there are two such cars in my garage) but I get the appeal of the Tesla for its target audience. It’s far from perfect, but I think it’s the probably best car at that price point.

    There are plenty of boring-appliance cars with gas engines, both past and present. I don’t believe electric cars have to be boring appliances, but that one costing this much and wearing an AMG badge should produce a deeper connection with the driver.

    Not so fast guys, I was a die hard never Electric car. That is, until last weekend. I had the opportunity to use a Lucid Air for a day and also a brand new Amg EQS. Ok, I’m sold. The lucid rode, handled and accelerated more than I would ever expect and also had a longer range than almost everything out there. When people knock on your window and ask “what is this?, It’s georgious” You know its a winner. Now comes the EQS , felt like the same performance with a great interior. The Lucid wasn’t even in the same Leaque. I would even consider buying one of these, i’ll just have to keep my 2500 HD Diesel and a trailer for when it runs out of Unicorn Juice.

    I’m still contemplating what exactly is positive about a 3 ton vehicle that took so much energy and resources to build, that it will be negative to the environment forever. But it gets better. If there are two cars ahead of you at the rapid charger, you will be at 80% battery ( less than 200 miles of range) in a blistering 1 1/2 hours. Take that you gas guzzlers! All for only $150K. It’s kinda like the fella that uses his private jet to fly around the world to meetings and conferences to convince folks to all conserve energy. I do have one suggestion for MB: Preload the entertainment system with a video on lithium mining in Indonesia. That will really make the new owner green – well green of a different sort.

    (End of rant)

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