The acceleration is overrated. People look at the 0-60 and quarter mile times on a new vehicle and decide if it’s worth it on that basis alone. As if every day begins with a clutch release in the morning and ends that night when the brake parachute is pulled. Life, however, is not just an NHRA class. Other things matter.
These are the other things that make the 2022 649-hp Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic + more capable as an all-electric car, even though its name is way too long and there is no volume knob for the radio. Plus, it’s not cheap. And it weighs a lot.
Beyond that, it sometimes makes 751 horsepower.
Because electric motors all have the same torque curve – there is no curve, just torque – there is a similarity in the way electric motors drive. A Nissan Leaf isn’t that fast, but it accelerates with the same linear progression as the ridiculously fast Tesla Model S Plaid. They all sound the same – quiet – and there’s never that moment of anticipation when gears change. The electrical devices all operate as if they had been dropped from the top of the Hoover Dam. This is not so much a criticism as an observation that the effect of gravity and the way electric cars move are similar.
But while the AMG EQS (omitting all the rest of the name from here on out) doesn’t feel all that different when accelerating than a Tesla, the chassis is much better sorted, with sharper handling. The structure of the EQS feels more substantial, the interior of the car has a bold design, and the materials used to finish it are more lavish and detailed. It looks, at least at first, like an electric, then a Mercedes. And then it feels like an AMG.
And all the time, it would be better if the outward visibility was better and there was more headroom in the back.
As AJ Baime explained in his talk about the Mercedes-Benz EQS – the ‘ordinary’ native electric upon which the AMG version is based – there is a lot of hardcore goodness in every EQS. This is Mercedes’ first native electric platform with, as in the top-of-the-line EQS580, an electric motor at each axle line and a large lithium-ion battery filling most of the wheelbase. 124.6 inch. That’s a wheelbase just two-tenths of an inch shorter than that of a Mercedes S-Class sedan. The EQS, at 205.3 inches, is also only 2.9 inches behind the S-Class in terms of total length.
The real kicker is the weight. Mercedes has yet to list a final figure for the AMG EQS, but there’s no way it’s lighter than its sibling the EQS 580 4Matic which weighs 5,888 pounds. Let’s just say the AMG EQS weighs three tons. That’s about a few pounds, about 1,400 pounds more than an S 500 4Matic sedan. This is also the weight of two – TWO – 2022 Honda Civic Si sedans. And there’s a reason why this comparison matters (later).
Yes, that thing is hissing. Mercedes-AMG claims a 3.4 second 0-60 mph blitz and that sounds conservative. With the ‘Boost’ function selected alongside the ‘Dynamic Plus’ and ‘Race Start’ system engaged, the AMG EQS leaps as if it were a cheetah chasing a particularly juicy water buffalo. There is never a screech of the tires at launch, no drama whatsoever, and the satisfying sensation as each of the driver’s vertebrae sinks into the front seat. It’s very, very electric.
The smooth parts of the transmission are “permanently excited synchronous motors”. What are they excited about? I do not know. But damn are they eager to get past their anxious feelings. AMG likes to brag about how all of this is “guaranteed by new windings, stronger currents and new actuation via inverters with specially developed software.” This allows for higher rotational speeds and therefore more power, setting standards for acceleration and top speed. Wow. It’s a lot of electro.
All of this equates to up to 752 lb-ft of instantaneous torque output. It’s an avalanche of pound-feet. It’s the tug of a black hole applied to an advanced computer-optimized all-wheel drive system. It works extremely well.
Still, it’s not surprising either. As satisfying as that pure growl is, Tesla does the same. What Tesla can’t do is build a car that handles this well. Using tricks like a rear steering system that allows up to nine degrees of deviation, something Mercedes-AMG calls Active Steering Assist that keeps the machine centered in a lane without appearing intrusive, and Michelin Pilot tires. Massive EV sport on 21 or optional 22 inch rims, air springs and all kinds of other adjustable elements, the AMG EQS is always precise and controlled. Of course, there are all kinds of modes – Sport, Sport +, Comfort, Anyway – but what’s impressive is that they’re all good.
Of course, AMG EQS has huge brakes and ceramic rotors are optional. This thing, after all, weighs three tons and that means it NEEDS those big binders just to maintain reasonable stopping power. Even with regenerative braking engaged, the braking system needs all the friction it can get. And that massive amount of weight is what makes this thing feel a little bit remote and separate. Not so much a sports sedan as an indomitable force. There’s nothing wrong with being indomitable, but it’s often not really fun.
Dressed in matte gray paint, the AMG EQS driven at the press event drew challenges along the roads around Palm Springs. The first was a newer Audi RS3 which, well, hit 130mph before being defeated. Then there was a Cadillac CTS V-Spec that was skimmed from brake light to brake light. âIs it a V8? Asked the driver. “Nah,” he got in response. “It’s electric.” It is an immensely capable car.
Sounds wise, either the non-grille on the front seems to be a direct link to other AMGs, or some sort of tongue-in-cheek statement about the nature of the grilles. The profile of the car borrows from the current idiom of the crushing roof, but the price for this style is compromised rear headroom and reduced rear visibility. Maybe there is room here for Mercedes-AMG to return to straight proportions and a more airy greenhouse with the next iteration. It was one of the hallmarks of the brand.
The interior design is more successful without ambiguity. The lighting colors can be changed, the seats are all almost infinitely adjustable, comfortable and massaging. And this head-up display is simply the best ever for an automobile.
With all that in mind, will the âMBUX Hyperscreenâ look as modern in three years as the lease runs out? There are a lot of amazing elements in the three displays under a common glass cover, but there is something a little bit of NCIS about it. Like in all of those scenes on those procedural CBS shows where cops or near-cops stand around an unlikely set of high-tech monitors exposing the plot. There is almost a sense of surrealism here; like the infotainment system too busy with “tain-ing” and only shy about “info-ing”.
And that’s where the Honda Civic Si comes into the discussion. The press launch just before this one for me was the Civic Si. It could well be that the Si is among the very last sport sedans to go on sale that aren’t hybrids or electrics. It’s lightweight, has a smooth six-speed manual transmission, it handles really well, and it’s different from the AMG EQS in almost every way. It only has 200 horsepower and needs almost seven seconds to hit 60 mph. But it’s delicious, simple pleasure in a way the AMG EQS can’t be. Both are sports sedans. Both are awesome. And while the Honda can be bought for around $ 30,000 at the sticker, the AMG EQS is expected to cost $ 150,000 when it goes on sale in early 2022. There’s a crossroads here. . Acceleration is not everything.
AMG is full of formidable and powerful talent. And before electrification completely eliminates the internal combustion engine, there may be a chance for Mercedes’ performance division to do something simple, stripped down, and not at all intimidating. Please.
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