2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS

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2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS First Drive Review: AMG Makes Electric Cool

Mercedes proved it could go toe-to-toe with Tesla by building a flagship electric sedan with S-Class levels of luxury. That car was the EQS Sedan. Now, Mercedes has handed over its magnificent creation to the AMG department. The 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS arrives to improve upon what we loved in the standard model. This is the first production EV to wear an AMG badge, not counting the highly limited SLS Electric Drive which was more an exhibition car than a proper series production model.

Some enthusiasts might worry that the switch to EVs will remove the trademark AMG flare, but after driving the AMG EQS, we're positive that the folks in Affalterbach can still build an exciting car without a gasoline engine. Mercedes set us loose on the canyon roads between Los Angeles and Palm Springs to experience the future of AMG.

2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS Models

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Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Single Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive

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Performance: More POWER

The standard EQS 580 was already impressively quick, but the AMG EQS takes it up several notches. When driving normally, the dual electric motors combine to shove 649 horsepower and 700 lb-ft of torque out to the 4MATIC+ all-wheel-drive system. The AMG Dynamics Plus Package comes standard on US cars, adding a Race Start launch control function to temporarily boost the outputs to 751 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque. Only the upcoming Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance produces more. Mercedes says the package will help the AMG EQS hit 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds, though those numbers seem conservative based on our testing. Keep mashing the pedal, and the car will top out at 155 mph.

Tesla Stans will quickly point out that a Model S Plaid will hit 60 mph in 1.99 seconds (with a rollout) and even the "lowly" Model 3 Performance will post a quicker time at 3.1 seconds. AMG might sound outgunned here, but just remember, those cars don't come with four heated and ventilated massage chairs. Drawing a direct comparison to Tesla on performance isn't fair to either automaker. We suspect future electric AMG models will post more ballistic acceleration times.

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Driving Impressions: AMG Goes Big

The straight line performance here is ludicrous, but don't go thinking AMG has built a track car. This is still an EQS at the end of the day, so it's best to think of this car like we would an S63 Sedan; perfect for high-speed cruising, but it's not a canyon carver. We don't have an exact curb weight, but the EQS weighs the better part of three tons. You can feel that weight through the bends, even with AMG-tuned air suspension attempting to keep it all flat. The AMG EQS doesn't offer much feedback through its steering, making it difficult to take corners with much confidence. Like an S63, the AMG EQS is better as a straight-line performer, or as intended in its home country of Germany, an autobahn crusher.

That being said, the EQS still offers great balance thanks to its low center of gravity. A standard nine-degree rear-axle steering system turns opposite of the front wheels for greater agility, or with the front wheels and high speeds to improve stability. This system keeps the car planted on the highway and helps it shrink when negotiating tight turns.

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The cabin is remarkably quiet on the highway, with little noise intruding from the road. Some AMG fans may object to the idea of an EV because it will never match the sound of a V8. Well, it may not be quite as loud, but the AMG EQS does include a cool AMG Sound Experience feature with three distinct modes. In its loudest "Powerful" setting, the car's speakers play a futuristic hum whenever you mash the throttle. It even includes a special tone during Race Start to make it sound like an engine pinging off the rev limiter. Add in seatbelts that tighten while the electric boost builds, and the AMG EQS manages to capture the drama of gas-powered car more than any EV we've tested.

Our biggest gripe from the standard EQS unfortunately carries over here; the brakes. Like many EVs, the EQS offers regenerative braking. However, this system often pulls the physical pedal away from you, making it awkward to operate the brakes smoothly. We'd hoped the AMG department might improve this annoying feature, but it seems this is not the case.

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Battery And Range: Super-Sized

Like the standard EQS, the AMG EQS possesses a massive battery mounted in the floor. The battery pack measures 107.8 kWh, which is a bit larger than the one in the Tesla Model S. Mercedes hasn't quoted EPA range figures, but the dual-motor EQS 580 can go 340 miles on a charge with the same battery. When we first hopped in to drive, the car displayed a 293-mile range estimate and a 332-mile maximum. We expect the EPA figure to fall within those figures.

Though we don't have final range numbers, Mercedes did confirm the AMG EQS can charge at a peak rate of 200 kW. On a DC fast charger, it should theoretically recoup around 186 miles of range in only 18 minutes. On a 150 kW Electrify America charger, we added 30 miles of range in 10 minutes. It's also worth noting that the EQS includes two years of complimentary EA charging, and the car can talk directly to the charger without making drivers pull out a special app on their phones.

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Interior: Tech Galore

The cabin in the AMG EQS looks similar to the standard EQS, with a few sporty changes. Drivers get a special steering wheel on the AMG model, with two mode selectors to fiddle around with the car's drive settings. We've loved these mode selectors in previous AMG cars, and they are a welcome addition to the EQS. All AMG EQS models will ship with the Mercedes Hyperscreen, three separate displays housed under a single 56-inch piece of curved glass. The Hyperscreen is easy to navigate, though the passenger side screen seems ab it gimmicky since it can only be used if someone is sitting in that seat.

The AMG EQS gets slightly different seats than the standard car, which can be upgraded to include diamond quilting, pillow headrests, and massage function. Our tester had the Executive Rear Seat Package, which added powered adjustability, massage function, and an ejectable tablet in the armrest. We still felt more comfortable in the S-Class, but the EQS with the upgraded seats is far more pleasant than one without it.

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Verdict: Perfectly Rounded

It's tough to finalize our thoughts on the 2022 Mercedes AMG EQS because pricing isn't available yet. The base EQS 450+ is surprising value at $102,310, undercutting the gas-powered S-Class by around $7,000. An EQS 580 4MATIC tops out around $125,310 for the Pinnacle trim, so if we had to guess, the AMG model should cost anywhere from $150,000 to $160,000 to start. That puts it above even a fully-loaded Tesla Model S Plaid, though we mentioned earlier the EQS is on a completely different level of luxury and interior quality.

AMG's stiffest competition comes from the Lucid Air, which offers more available power (up to 1,111 hp) and significantly higher range (up to 520 miles). We'll have to wait to drive the Air to determine how it stacks up with the Mercedes, but as it stands, in a vacuum, it's hard to imagine a more well-rounded luxury sedan than the AMG EQS.

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