4.1 out of 5 4.1
Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Astonishingly fast all-electric AMG-fettled limo

Mercedes-AMG EQS Saloon (22 on) - rated 4.1 out of 5
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PROS

  • Rapid acceleration and good range
  • Spacious interior
  • Surprisingly manoeuvrable

CONS

  • Interior quality could be better in places
  • Rear seats too upright as standard
  • Firm ride for a luxury limo

Mercedes-AMG EQS Saloon rivals

Written by Alan Taylor-Jones on

It could be argued that the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 is a car of contradictions. After all, this is a zero-emissions super-luxury saloon that can also out accelerate almost everything else on the road. Even though it weighs upwards of 2655kg, it’ll do 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, or 3.4 with the optional Performance Package.

To get Porsche-baiting performance it has an electric motor for the rear wheels like the regular EQS 450+, and another for the fronts. Combined they produce up to 658hp or 761hp if you tick for box for the Performance Package, something you can only do on Night Edition models.

To make sure the EQS can get around corners almost as quickly as it devours straights, there’s standard four-wheel steering and adjustable air suspension. Combined they help make the EQS feel smaller and more agile than its size would suggest. For those looking for a larger alternative to the Audi E-Tron GT, Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S with similar performance, it seems to tick all of the boxes.

What’s it like inside?

The answer to this question partially depends on whether you’ve gone for sporty Night Edition or luxurious Touring. The former gets dark wood and suede-like material on the steering wheel, dash and centre console while the latter sticks to leather and open-pore walnut trim. If you’d prefer something even racier, the Performance Package adds carbon fibre trim.

Initially the interior looks great, with plenty of rich materials for the items you touch regularly. However, some of the plastics found inside cubbies and lower down the interior is a little disappointing in such an expensive car. The Audi E-Tron GT, Porsche Taycan and Mercedes’ own S-Class all feel better screwed together and a little more luxurious.

All models get Mercedes’ ‘Hyperscreen’ infotainment system that’s usually an exceedingly pricey option on the non-AMG EQS. This combines a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and then upgrades the central touchscreen to a massive 17.7-inches. The front seat passenger also gets their own 12.3-inch touchscreen to control a wide variety of features, with all three under a single glass panel that stretches across the dash.

If that sounds like overkill, it’s because it is. All screens have sharp graphics and respond promptly to commands, although we’d prefer physical controls for the heating, stereo and a few other key items. The menus are certainly logical and it’s easy to find what you want when you’re stationary, but even trying to adjust the always visible temperature controls on the move requires a long look away from the road. Thankfully voice control is included and actually works pretty well.

Space is, unsurprisingly, almost identical to the regular EQS. The short version is that four six-foot plus adults can sit in comfort and the boot is huge. Handily it’s accessed via a hatchback, so you can even fold the rear seats down and carry a surprising amount of stuff. For more detail, have a look at our main Mercedes EQS review.

Comfort

We’ve no complaints regarding the EQS’s driving position, with seat, steering wheel and pedals all lined up well enough to avoid you feeling like you’re sat crooked. You sit higher than in an S-Class, if not quite SUV tall.

Both versions of the EQS 53 get Mercedes’ all singing, all dancing front seats. These have loads of adjustment that’s all done electrically, are heated, ventilated and can even give you a massage. No matter what size or shape you are, you’ll be able to get comfortable and stay that way for hours on end.

Those in the back aren’t quite so lucky if the Lounge rear seat package hasn’t been optioned. The seats themselves are soft enough and nicely covered, but the backrests are far too upright, certainly for a luxury saloon. If you’re carrying rear passengers it’s something we’d recommend, so it’s a shame you can’t get them on Night Edition.

Safety

Euro NCAP crash tested the EQS in 2021, giving it the full five stars with excellent protection for adults and children. In fact, it’s one of the safest cars you can buy today.

There’s also tonnes of standard equipment bundled into the Driving Assistance Package Plus that all EQS 53s get. The automatic emergency braking can detect cars, cyclists and pedestrians at up to 80mph while steering assist can help pull you away from a crash or keep you in your lane.

What’s it like to drive?

The most impressive thing about the EQS 53 isn’t just how fast it is, but how easily accessed that power is. The near-instant response of those electric motors and four-wheel drive traction means it fires off the line with little fuss, just gripping and going exceptionally hard. The sub four second 0-62mph time isn’t just believable, it could very well be on the conservative side.

As with many electric cars acceleration tails off more noticeably at higher speeds than a potent petrol equivalent, not that it’ll ever be an issue if you stick to the legal limits. That’s harder said than done with the way it picks up pace, leaving you with a much higher number on the speedo if you’re not paying attention when overtaking a stream of cars, for instance.

It’s not like you’re waiting for gearchanges after all, the 53’s electric motors supplying a linear shove that’s rather addictive. It should be noted that top-spec versions of the E-Tron GT, Taycan and Model S are faster still, but they’re smaller and lighter saloons with even more power. Besides, AMG’s 53 models are generally the penultimate rung of the ladder, with 63 models sitting above. Nothing has been confirmed, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case here.

The EQS doesn’t disgrace itself in the bends either, cornering far faster and with far greater agility than should be possible for nearly 2.7 tonnes. You can stiffen the adaptive air suspension with a couple of button pushes on the steering wheel, improving the already good body control and boosting agility.

Four-wheel steering helps to get the EQS’s nose tucked into low-speed corners and also improves stability on the motorway. You don’t get loads of communication from the wheel, but the steering is precise and makes placing the car on the road easy, despite its large size. All this makes it possible to travel from point-to-point cross country at an astonishing pace.

The speed you’re able to carry is certainly exciting, but the harder you push the more you’re aware of the car’s limitations. The clever air suspension can’t totally mask the car’s bulk during fast direction changes, and the handling errs on the side of predictability rather than being another tail-happy AMG Mercedes. Ultimately the more focussed Taycan involves its driver more and is even sharper to drive.

It’s not like the EQS 53 is loads comfier than a Taycan, it transmitting more surface imperfections to the driver’s posterior than the far squishier EQS 450+. The ride improves as speed increases, but you’re still more aware of expansion joints and potholes thanks in part to the standard fit 21in wheels (22s on the Touring). At least there’s none of the float and heave that can affect the normal EQS on particularly undulating roads.

Range and charging

A real-world 300 miles of range is entirely possible with the 53, although you won’t get anywhere near that if you’re enjoying all that power. Thankfully the range indicator is very accurate and it’s capable of some serious charging speeds.

It can cope with 200kW if you find a potent enough DC rapid charger, giving a 10-80% charge time of just 31 minutes. That makes long distance travel reasonably pain-free if you’re able to pick the right chargers. Get it wrong and you’ll be waiting 15 and a half painful hours to get from 10-100% on a 7.4kW wallbox or a slightly less awful 10 hours if you luck out and discover an 11kW fast charger.

What models and trims are available?

Unlike the regular EQS that has a range of trims to pick from, there’s only two in AMG land. As we mentioned above, there’s sporty Night Edition or more luxury-focussed Touring. As the regular EQS 53 is plenty fast enough we’d stick to Touring and add the Lounge package to make it feel as luxurious as possible.

If you’re tempted by the Night Edition to get the Performance Package and the even crazier acceleration that comes with it, you’re probably better served by a Taycan Turbo S.

To find out how we rate the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53, read on for our verdict.

Mercedes-AMG EQS Saloon rivals