Test drive: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 lights up the S-Class

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 charts a new course for a brand that helped pioneer the internal combustion engine 140 years ago. Evolving from the ethos of the S-Class, the German luxury brand’s flagship sedan, the EQS electric flagship points the tri-star forward with more efficient propulsion, more sumptuous comfort, Maybach levels of luxury, and eye-popping technology. 

It’s remarkable to catch evolution in real time and ride the wheels of progress. That’s what a week behind the wheel of the EQS 580 in top Pinnacle trim felt like. It’s not the quickest or most powerful electric luxury car, nor is it the most expensive. But it marries the luxury experience with the electric age to earn a high TCC Rating of 8.0 out of 10

It commits us to keep moving forward. Here’s where that commitment delights and where it disappoints.  

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 has a 340-mile range.

Hit? Let’s talk about the Hyperscreen in the room

The door-to-door dash of screens covered under a 56-inch pane of glass is simultaneously distracting and arresting. It’s like a gaper’s delay, slowing down traffic, in your own car. The driver has a configurable 12.3-inch gauge cluster found in other Mercedes, but the centerpiece is a 17.7-inch touchscreen shaped like the Superman crest. Beside it is a 12.3-inch touchscreen for the passenger that can be used for multimedia, phone, and to input navigation. It took me two days to not be overwhelmed by the entire display. The center and side screens, which both use OLED tech, can be shut off, then the center screen only shows the climate controls. But it turns into a smudgesboard of fingerprints. 

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

Once acclimated to the splash of screens, I appreciated all the layers, settings, and small details, such as a blue bar that pulses atop the nav screen when using voice commands. But you don’t need to play with it if you don’t care. It uses artificial intelligence to populate your most frequently used icons in the default navigation screen. So I had the EQ meter showing range and charge info overlaid in the top left part of the screen, and the audio controls in the center bottom, with the phone icon beside it. 

The default 3D map display is outstanding, but the swipe and pinch functions can be distracting. In the search bar at the top of the screen there is a charger icon that, once pressed there or in the EQ function, will illuminate charging stations on the map. Nothing new there, but in list form it shows what the kw output is for each charger equal to or under 50 kw, 100kw, and greater or equal to 150kw. Filters can be set as well to streamline search results. It’s pretty cool, and everything I’ve mentioned above is just the beginning. There’s a redundant head-up display, too. 

Miss: Design

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

This most subjective element warranted more negative comments from people online than in person. Such is life. Its teardrop shape, with short overhangs and an arching roofline, pleased designers in the wind tunnel to be as aerodynamic as possible, with Mercedes saying its 0.20 coefficient of drag is the lowest of any production car. It has presence, but I wouldn’t argue if someone were to say it lacks the stateliness of the S-Class. In time, perhaps. 

Hit: Range and charging

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

It wasn’t long ago that experts predicted 200 miles of range would encourage EV shoppers to overcome range anxiety. In my week with the EQS, the range rarely dipped below 200 miles and I only thought about charging for this article. The EQS 580 has an EPA-estimated range of 340 miles, which falls short of the best from the Tesla Model S (405 miles) and Lucid Air (520 miles). It’s still exceptional. It can DC fast-charge at up to 200 kw, and go from 10-80% of charge in 30 minutes. On a 240-volt Level 2 charger, it takes nearly 12 hours to charge to full. Four regen brake settings help recapture energy, but they also change the brake pedal response, which takes some getting used to.  

Not really a miss: Speed

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 has a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds.

With a 0-60 mph time of 4.1 seconds, the EQS 580 trails the Tesla Model S Plaid, Lucid Air, and Porsche Taycan. Its big 245-kw rear motor and smaller 140-kw front motor help generate 516 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque, however, so it pinned me in my seat at launch. The instant response leveled off above 30 mph, but even with its 5,888-lb curb weight, there was no hesitation in executing even the most aggressive passing moves. It does not lack for quickness, even if it can’t stake a speed claim. And an AMG iteration is forthcoming. 

Hit: Serenity now 

Like the S-Class, the EQS is defined by its composure. In the four-hour intervals between those four-second bursts, the EQS must be the calmest, chillest, comfiest car in the class (I have not driven the Lucid Air). The difference in ride quality between cruising speeds and questionable speeds is unnoticeable. Even on 21-inch wheels (that look a lot larger when equipped with AMG multispokes with seemingly as many spokes as minute bars on a clock face), the adaptive dampers and three-chamber air suspension shared with the S-Class cossets the cabin from any fluctuations in the road. 

Not really a miss: Built for ride comfort

When pushed hard even in the firmest damper setting, its near three-ton weight pushes it through curves even as the motors and suspension tries to counteract those heavy forces. Rear-axle steering helps cut corners at speed but even with its low profile and engineering wizardry the EQS follows the laws of physics. Around town, and under 37 mph, the rear wheels turn 10 degrees opposite the front wheels to effectively shrink the long wheelbase and make parking and turn arounds easier. 

Hit: Supreme seat comfort

While it’s still a delightful driver’s car, the full intention of the EQS 580 can be found in the sumptuous seats. Front seats come standard with heating and cooling, and massagers on all but the base model assure a level of comfort that may not be safe. The suede pillow puffs on the headrests induce calm, as did the gorgeous charcoal gray Linden wood trim on my tester, contrasted with metallic flourishes rimmed in multicolor ambient lighting.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

Mercedes caters to back seat passengers with a $1,690 Executive Rear Seat Package that not only has power reclining and heating and cooling, but also neck and shoulder heaters as if it were a Mercedes roadster. That curving fixed roof eats into rear head room (it lowers from 40.4 inches up front down to 38.0 inches in back)—and getting in and out requires a duck of the head for most adults—but the rear leg room is plentiful, even if it can’t be fitted with the rear power foot rests as in the Maybach. 

Miss: Capacitive sunroof slider

The touchy feelies of the Hyperscreen fails overhead. The twin sunshades covering the twin pane sunroof require a gentle slide of the finger on the touch panel overhead. To crack the front part of the roof, push the slider in. To open the sunroof, push and hold, I think. It’s unnecessary. 

Hit: Lighting

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580

The EQS lights up like a Vegas marquis. On the outside, the front lightbar across the prow vertically cascades when locking it at night, and welcome puddle lights stand out on approach more than the illuminated tri-star up front. Inside, ambient lighting rims the cabin in dynamic arrays. Turn up the heat, and the band across the upper dash glows red; turn down the a/c, and it chills to blue before returning to the selected setting.

From its battery propulsion to its interface, the 2022 Mercedes EQS 580 is a tech showcase. We’ve come a long way from the Motorwagen.

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