2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS luxury EV: Brains and beauty are a potent combination

Imagine my surprise when Mercedes-Benz canceled the highly-awaited U.S. debut of its EQC all-electric SUV earlier this year. Instead, the automaker is wielding an arguably bigger and more potent stick with the 2022 EQS luxury SUV. Yes, you can think of the EQS as an all-electric derivative of the S-Class since the former shares most of the latter's cockpit operating structure. However, the differences get more significant the deeper you dig, since the EQS is the first Mercedes built using the German carmaker's all-new, dedicated modular architecture for luxury vehicles.

It'll also be the first all-electric Mercedes-Benz you can buy stateside after it officially debuts this fall. Like you'd expect from a flagship car with that three-pointed star, the EQS delivers a potent combination of brains and beauty. "At Mercedes, we are striving for nothing less than leadership in the field of electric mobility and digitization through an intelligent platform strategy and a software-based approach," said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and COO of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The new EQS shows we are following our own Mercedes path by offering customers a highly-efficient, electric, and luxurious experience with our electric vehicles."

First previewed at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show as the Vision EQS, shown above, the production model is almost everything that I'd hope as far as a concept brought to life. It has a cab-forward fastback design with almost non-existent front overhangs, counterbalanced by extended rear overhangs. The EQS's one-bow aesthetic is more evident when viewed from either side.

"Traditionally, we have two-box or three-box designs," Stefan Lamm, head of the Mercedes-Benz design studio in Stuttgart, explains. "For the EQS, we did something completely different with the one-bow-design. It reflects a very unique silhouette, which I think no one else has done so far."

With its curvy proportions, generously-sloping roofline, and fastback rear, the EQS has a genuine sport-luxury vibe, reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving concept car from CES 2015. And like the concept, the EQS has a pure, sophisticated body shape, a natural interpretation of the automaker's "progressive luxury" credo. It's as if the entire vehicle was carved from a single block of metal, and it's what I expected from a flagship electric Benz.

"With our EQS, we have created a completely new, future generation of luxury cars," said Gordon Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler Group. "Key features such as the 'one-bow' design and a holistically integrated, highly reduced, and seamless styling give the EQS its sporty and progressive look."

The sloping design theme isn't just for aesthetics: in fact, it's more about aerodynamics. Unsurprisingly, the EQS's curvy and hunkered-down silhouette significantly improves how the car slices through the air. Mercedes claims the 2022 EQS is setting new aerodynamic benchmarks in production vehicles. With an average Cd (coefficient of drag) value starting from 0.20, Mercedes says the 2022 EQS is the most aerodynamic vehicle to enter production, regardless of drivetrain. Part of this is due to Mercedes-Benz's 'purpose design' architecture.

Since the EQS is not riding on an existing architecture that has to accommodate internal combustion engines, the designers had the freedom to pen a purpose-built shape with generous dimensions and a seamless design with virtually non-existent panel gaps. With no oily bits under the hood and stretching 5.2-meters in length, the 2022 EQS EV is the epitome of spaciousness.

"We gave additional space for the customer, and you can see from the outside that there is more space inside," said Robert Lešnik, head of interior design. "I think it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a car designer to work on a new architecture." The fascia bears a black-panel front grille with a three-dimensional Mercedes-Benz star logo (a distinguishing feature of Mercedes-Benz's all-electric EQ family, including the EQC SUV). Simultaneously, the bevy of curved 3D helix taillights at the rear wouldn't look out of place on an interstellar spaceship.

After making a striking visual impact, the interior has more high-tech luxuries. The most prominent and eye-popping feature is the new MBUX Hyperscreen infotainment system. It consists of three separate displays with a shared glass cover, spanning 56-inches across the dashboard, and is a first for a modern (electric) car. I can't wait to see it for myself.

It not only looks incredible, but MBUX Hyperscreen acts as the brain and nervous system of the vehicle. Unusually, though, you'll also be able to get the EV without Hyperscreen: the EQS will be available with a base dashboard layout, lifting the latest S-Class' sizable OLED center display and 12.3-inch digital instrument console. It all looks fantastic still.

"We're combining pioneering technology with classic materials for the EQS' interior, and this combination provides some beautiful transitions," said Belinda Günther, head of interior color and trim.

Buyers have a choice of contrasting warm and cool tones for the dashboard with a plethora of available colors and material combinations like leather, wood, chrome, piano-black panels, and aluminum. Meanwhile, the form-following graphic stitching on the seats is "function and design in a beautiful combination," Günther suggests.

Depending on the configuration, the 2022 EQS has up to 350 sensors to monitor almost everything under the sun, both inside and outside of the car. That includes distance, vehicle speed, lighting conditions, precipitation and temperature, seat occupancy, and even the driver's eye movements.

Drawing bandwidth from eight CPU cores and 24GB of RAM, the Hyperscreen's advanced A.I.-based operating system and zero-layer menu functions give powerful gaming laptops a run for the money. Additionally, the central and passenger display screens offer haptic feedback, while the flowing leather surfaces and avant-garde cabin materials will make you feel like royalty. The Burmester 710-watt 15-speaker audio system could well inspire you to sing like a rock star (or TikTok pop star, if you prefer).

More importantly, the all-new Mercedes-Benz EQS has some timely innovations to improve health and safety. The cabin has a large HEPA filter to prevent odors, dust, pollen, and other particulates from ruining your driving experience. Infused with generous servings of activated charcoal (around 21 ounces for the entire vehicle), the HEPA filter and cabin filter have an absorption area equal to about 150 football fields, ensuring all the occupants are constantly breathing fresh and clean air while riding in the EQS.

If you prefer a fragrant cabin ambiance, there's an active fragrance dispenser to fill the cabin with pleasing aromas. The wellness package includes new Energizing Comfort sound programs that play soothing audio melodies when entering or charging the vehicle. And, while you can bask in eerie silence while driving the EQS, there are optional driving sounds that change their tune depending on the chosen driving mode.

The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS is making its U.S. debut this fall, and I can't wait to drive it. The powertrain options remain a mystery as of press time, but I expect dual electric motors of some sort, packing at least a 100 kWh battery pack which is good enough to deliver around 300 miles of range. Production for the 2022 EQS is at Mercedes-Benz's carbon-neutral 'Factory 56' Sindelfingen manufacturing facility, the same plant where Mercedes builds the S-Class and the even more lavish Maybach S-Class.