Opulence and displays galore: Meet the EQS 580 EV and its ‘Hyperscreen’

Opulence and displays galore: Meet the EQS 580 EV and its ‘Hyperscreen’ thumbnail
are the perfect examples of opulence and displays.

Mercedes-Benz is currently in a transformation like many other automakers. With stricter emissions and fuel economy rules coming into effect in the next years, many brands are investing huge amounts of money and engineering resources in powertrain electrification and EV platform design HTML1. Mercedes’ goals are more ambitious than most, though, with the company targeting a fully electric lineup not only for Mercedes-Benz, but also its high-performance AMG subdivision, as well as its ultra-luxury Maybach brand by 2030–although that plan comes with a “where market conditions will allow” caveat.

The EQS line is the company’s first volley in full-size luxury electric vehicles. It’s evident from the posh amenities onboard and the wide range of technologies that the company has installed on our test car, that they are serious about this small but growing segment. As is the case with car-making, the stuff found on today’s flagship will eventually make its way into more affordable vehicles. The new S-Class models have often prefigured what’s to come for the E-Class and C-Class brand vehicles down the road. In the case of the E-Class, it previews some hardware that we can expect in the less expensive models .

After spending a week with this electric luxury sedan we can confirm that the future looks promising. However, the EQS seems to be more concerned with existing high-end EV owners rather than bringing in traditional luxury car buyers. This design philosophy is a saber that cuts both sides.

Opulence and displays galore: Meet the EQS 580 EV and its ‘Hyperscreen’
The EQS 580 cost $133,655 as tested. Bradley Iger

The basics

The exterior of the EQS 580 is a showcase of technical prowess. Aerodynamic testing was extensive, which resulted in a slippery 0. 20 drag coefficient that’s one of the best in the industry today. Standard 21-inch wheels and AMG Line exterior accents give the bodywork additional personality, but the teardrop silhouette is what truly defines the look of the EQS. Although we like the EQS’s unique and streamlined design, aesthetics are a subjective matter.

On the powertrain front, a pair of AC permanent-magnet synchronous electric motors send 516 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels while a 107.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack offers up 340 miles of range. The EQS can recharge at 9.6 kW on AC or 200 kW on a DC fast charger, the latter of which will bring the battery pack from a 10 percent charge state to 100 percent in 31 minutes. Mercedes-Benz has also partnered up with Electrify America to provide new EQS owners two years of complimentary charging at their stations.

The big sedan rides on an air suspension with adaptive dampers. This allows for greater adjustability. Rear-axle steering also comes standard, and the system provides up to 10 degrees of steering angle to reduce the vehicle’s turning circle during low speed maneuvers. At speeds above 37 MPH the rear wheels steer in phase with the front wheels to provide more responsive handling and improve high speed stability.

A range of safety features such as Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Steering Assist are included in the deal. A surround-view camera system makes parking in tight spots easier.

The Hyperscreen

That’s all impressive stuff, but the cabin is where the EQS 580 really stakes its claim in the full-size luxury EV space. The centerpiece is what Mercedes-Benz has dubbed the Hyperscreen, a trio of displays that consists of a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster in front of the driver, a legitimately stunning 17.7-inch OLED center infotainment display, and an additional 12.3-inch touchscreen for the front passenger, all of which are housed behind a single piece of glass.

The company’s most recent MBUX software manages the proceedings. It offers wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto support and a Burmester surround sound system as standard.

The Hyperscreen and MBUX interfaces are a joy to use. They offer fast input response, a intuitive menu layout and stunning graphics. This is especially important since most of the vehicle’s features can be accessed through the interface.

[Related: Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E is an important leap into the future]

The problem is that the controls inside the car are all capacitive touch surfaces and not physical buttons or knobs. That helps the interior of the EQS 580 achieve an uncluttered, futuristic vibe not unlike what you’d find in a Tesla Model S. But in practice it also makes it more cumbersome to, for instance, lower the volume or skip the current audio track than it would be if conventional controls were present. These actions can be done via touch sliders on either the center display or the steering wheel. This is a different approach from what Ford has taken on the Mustang Mach-E, for example, which still retains a physical volume knob.

We tried it out a few times, but adjustments were not always as smooth as we expected. It was often difficult to see the road and make adjustments that would work. It speaks to a wider mindset that is focused on appealing to existing high-end EV owners rather than mainstream buyers who might be considering switching to electric vehicles.

Performance

The EQS is more like the S-Class in the Mercedes-Benz EV line-up. It’s more concerned with providing a comfortable driving experience than delivering thrilling performance. The compliance of the air suspension absorbs all imperfections found on LA’s ramshackle roads. However, there is a tradeoff to that soft ride quality. Out on the twisting tarmacs of the Angeles National Forest, the handling of this almost-three-ton sedan isn’t particularly impressive, even when the dampers have been cranked up in Sport drive mode. But that’s a task better suited to the AMG model anyway.

Although it doesn’t pull like a Porsche Taycan Turbo S or the absurdly-quick Tesla Model S Plaid, the EQS 580 has more than enough grunt to get the job done. In fact, we’d probably be fine with the less-powerful EQS 450 under most circumstances, which makes 329 horsepower and offers roughly the same amount of range. But it’s hard to complain about an overabundance of power, and the EQS 580 responds instantly when you drop the hammer. It’s easy to pass slower traffic thanks to the all-wheel drive grip and the deep well of torque available.

While we have a few nits to pick with the EQS 580, the truly important stuff–the powertrain, the range and charging capability, and the infotainment tech–make this car a compelling option in the luxury EV segment. Of course, with a starting price of $119,110 ($133,655 as tested, with the destination fee), it certainly should be. The EQS also points to a promising EV lineup by Mercedes-Benz. It will include various elements of the tech in a variety vehicles at varying price points.

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