Updated: Apr 1, 2022
Okay, I know. That headline reads like a cover blurb from a 1990s car magazine. But hear me out.
A chunk of how Tesla got to be Tesla came from buyers who weren't so much interested in driving an electric vehicle as they were about driving a status symbol. Enough of those people have been buying Teslas that Teslas are now considered (at least the Model S) to be a luxury vehicle---even though there's very little in the way of traditional luxury, or even the modern variety as practiced by the likes of Mercedes-Benz, BMW or even Lexus.
So---here's the real question. Now that Mercedes-Benz has a full-size luxury sedan that also happens to be an EV, blending Mercedes luxury standards with some pretty flashy tech, can enough of those buyers be won back to the three-pointed star?
The EQS 580 4MATIC I drove for a week makes a strong case that Elon should be worried.
This is the part of the review where the hood would be open and I'd show you either an electric motor or a front trunk (frunk). But not in the EQS. There is an electric motor up there---making 516 horsepower and 631 pounds-per-foot of torque, but nothing opens up for mere mortals to look at it. Only your authorized Mercedes-Benz service center has the tool needed. There is a small door on the driver's side, just behind the front wheel. That's where you can refill the washer fluid. And that is the absolute beginning, middle and end of your access to the nether regions of this vehicle.
If that horsepower and torque figure sounds impressive, it is. Even though the EQS 580 weighs a whopping 5,888 pounds, sixty miles an hour happens from a standing start in 3.7 seconds as the 4MATIC all wheel drive system sends all that electric instant torque through all four wheels.
Mercedes also was determined not to come to the table without impressive range per charge---in this case 340 miles. Enough that in a week of driving, I was able to give it back, never having charged it, with 25% charge remaining.
Yes, the EQS is a hatchback---a clever solution to the problem posed by a trunk that would be compromised in its capacity by a raised floor accommodating the batteries.
Past that, it's the level of quality and luxury you'd expect in a Mercedes S-Class, but with a front screen that's unique to the EQS line. That's a 56-inch Hyperscreen, with 12.3 inches devoted to driver information, 17.7 inches to infotainment in the center and a 12.3 inch screen for the front passenger. It's highly configurable and infinitely cool.
The base price of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580 we drove (in Exclusive trim, the middle of the three trim levels), is $119,110. There is so much in the way of standard equipment and so much in the way of extra-cost options that I'm just going to refer you to the window sticker at the end of this review. If you want to know more about the other trims, click on the window sticker and it'll take you to the EQS page on the Mercedes-Benz website.
The bottom line, with $1,050 destination and delivery? $127,020.
Here's the kicker, though---that price is $16,220 less than the S580 I reviewed, lusted after and raved about in September. Yes, the gasoline-powered S was more lavishly equipped, but even going to the top-of-the-line EQS, which brings much of that decadence, the price is substantially lower with the electric Benz. And, truth be told, if I had the resources to own either one of these cars, I find the EQS so impressive, that's the one I'd buy.
No, this type of car doesn't sell on price alone, but there's so much more to recommend Mercedes' first electric S-Class that the price is just a lovely bonus.