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Mercedes Benz Unveils the EQS Electric Sedan, the Flagship Model That Represents the Automaker's Future

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【Summary】Mercedes Benz has teased its upcoming EQS electric sedan for the past two years with the unveiling of various concepts. Now the vehicle has been unveiled in its production form for the first time. Mercedes said its EQS is the world’s first “luxury class” electric sedan. It's also the first vehicle built on a new, dedicated electric vehicle platform.

FutureCar Staff    Apr 15, 2021 2:20 PM PT
Mercedes Benz Unveils the EQS Electric Sedan, the Flagship Model That Represents the Automaker's Future

Mercedes Benz has teased its upcoming EQS electric sedan for the past two years with the unveiling of various concepts. Now the vehicle has been officially unveiled in its production form for the first time.

The EQS is a futuristic electric sedan that's essentially an electric alternative to the company's S-Class models. The sedan is a bit toned down from the futuristic concept version and looks more like a modern version of the S-Class. Mercedes calls the EQS a "sibling" of the S-Class sedan.

The EQS also marks the automaker's entry into the electric vehicle segment that's currently dominated by Tesla. Mercedes said its EQS is the world's first "luxury class" electric sedan. The EQS is the first built on a new, dedicated electric vehicle platform.

"We set the bar very high," with this car, Daimler Chief Executive Ola Källenius told reporters. "Customers in this segment expect a blend of hi-tech innovation and modern luxury and that's what we're trying to achieve with the EQS."

The EQS will be available in two versions, the rear-wheel-drive EQS 450+ and the all-wheel-drive EQS 580 4-Matic. The usable battery pack is rated at 107.8 kWh, which can propel the EQS 580 from 0 to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Acceleration to that speed takes a bit longer for the 450+ at respectable 6.2 seconds.

Mercedes Benz confirmed that EQS electric sedan will offer roughly 479 miles (770 km) of driving range. The 479-mile range estimate easily beats the Long Range Model S, the current leader in the luxury electric sedan segment.

The Long Range Model S equipped with a comparable 104 kWh battery can deliver up to 412 miles of range. To be fair, Mercedes used the WLTP cycle to estimate the range of the EQS. Compared to the EPA standard, WLTP range estimates are usually more lenient.

The EQS is also technologically advanced with up to 350 sensors for monitoring the functions of the vehicle, passengers and external surroundings. The sensors monitor distances, speeds and accelerations, lighting conditions, precipitation and temperatures, the occupancy of seats, the driver's gaze and voice commands from the passenger.

One of the most striking features of the EQS is its interior, which includes the optional Mercedes Benz MBUX Hyperscreen display. The large curved display is 56-inch wide and covers almost the entire width of the dashboard. It can be accessed by both driver and front seat passenger. The Hyperscreen display offers a separate 12.3-inch area for the front passenger, with access to their own infotainment and vehicle comfort controls.

For added safety and to reduce driver distractions, Mercedes-EQS includes what Mercedes calls "camera-based locking logic." If the driver monitor camera detects that the operator is looking away from the road and at the front passenger display, it's automatically dimmed to eliminate the distraction.

The MBUX screen is powered by adaptive software. It adapts to its user and makes personalized suggestions for numerous infotainment, comfort and vehicle functions.

Another unique feature in the EQS is 4-wheel-steering that can be updated via an OTA update. The standard rear-axle steering for the EQS up to 4.5° and contributes to battery stability and easier maneuvering. However, the rear-axle steering angle can be increased up to 10° activated by an upgrade over the air (OTA). This enables a tighter turning radius of 10.9 metres for the EQS, which is very small considering that the EQS sedan is over five meters (16 ft) long.

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The MBUX Hyperscreen display in the EQS is 56 inches wide.

Mercedes Sets the Bar High for Tesla with its EQS Sedan

The new electric sedan represents the future of Mercedes Benz. For the rest of the auto industry, Mercedes has set the bar high in the EV space, especially for current segment leader Tesla.

Tesla faced little competition from the world's automakers for the past decade, which paved the way for the California company to become the world's most valuable automaker by far with a market cap topping $700 billion. Make no mistake, Mercedes is positioning its EQS to be a formidable rival to the Model S, which is Tesla's flagship sedan that first went on sale in 2012.

In a client note earlier this week, Deutsche Bank referred to the EQS as "Mercedes' Tesla fighter" and said the car "will likely set the benchmark in terms of technical features, as well as design and quality," for both traditional carmakers and for Tesla.

Tesla has not even built a single Model S or Model X SUVs in 2021, according to its Q1 results announced two weeks ago. The two aging vehicles are reportedly undergoing a design refresh before going back into production. The Model S has essentially not changed much since 2012, other than Tesla increasing its range and power and some minor styling updates.

However, when the Model S does return to production, the market will include the EQS and other new luxury EVs from BMW, Polestar, Lucid Motors and Porsche, which makes its harder for Tesla to hold onto its lead in the luxury electric sedan segment. 

The EQS will go on sale in Europe and U.S. in August and will launch in China in January 2022.

Källenius said he has high expectations for the Chinese market, where there is "tremendous demand" for the traditional combustion engine Mercedes Benz S-Class model. China is the world's biggest auto market. 

In addition to the EQS sedan, Mercedes Benz will soon introduce a pair of SUVs that will be based on the same Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA platform) that underpins the EQS sedan.

Mercedes has not revealed pricing yet for the EQS, but said its would announce pricing closer to the launch date this summer.

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