We decided to push the range capabilities of Merc's latest EV with mixed results.
Mercedes-Benz says its newest electric S-Class sedan will go an estimated 350 miles on a single charge. Denver, Colorado is exactly 333 miles from Durango, Colorado - a quiet mountain college town with some of the state's prettiest vistas. It's also just about as far from home as we thought we could get on a single charge.
On the surface, it sounds pretty easy. After all, that's a whole 17 miles less than the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ conservatively estimated its maximum range after a full charge. However, before we even climbed into our as-specced $122,100 luxury EV, there were some caveats. First, a few errands left the Cirrus Silver Metallic EQS' 107.8-kWh battery at 89% charge or a claimed 364 miles of range. We are aware that that figure is already more than the EPA's claimed figure. Second, there were some rules for the challenge ahead, and third, we knew that 364-mile estimate was going to change pretty rapidly as a result of these rules.
And drop it did. But more on that in a moment. We decided that given the EQS' six-figure price point (and an MSRP of $102,310), we'd not compromise on comfort to make our destination on a single charge. We wanted to use the EQS like any owner would in the real world, making use of all the available features in the EQS at some point in the journey; range be damned.
Massaging, ventilated seats? We left them running almost the whole time, along with Merc's massive $7,000 Hyperscreen system. And who needs efficiency when you can have speed instead? No thought was to be given to range conservation, save for one thing: we left the EQS' brake regen system turned all the way up, simply because single-pedal driving felt a little more luxurious. The logic here was that no one should be expected to compromise and give up features for the sake of saving range on a road trip that should, in theory, be perfectly doable on a single charge.
With those constraints, we set off. For the duration of the journey, we used Merc's mapping systems (for the get in and go experience) instead of the available Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Speaking of, we also used Mercedes' adaptive cruise control for much of the journey. On long highway drives, it's a godsend. The system will make lane changes for you and following distances are easily maintained. The system manages to do both without scaring you, thankfully. It'll also work down to around 2 mph, which was nice when we eventually hit traffic.
As the miles ticked by on the odometer, there was a single obstacle on our minds. Wolf Creek Pass is the 10,857-foot gateway to Southwestern Colorado, dividing towns like Durango and Pagosa Springs from the rest of Colorado. With a 6.8% grade, we knew we'd be losing range. And we did. A lot of it. By the time we summited the pass, the EQS said we had around 50 miles of range left, around 33 miles shy of reaching Durango. Despite that, the car's navigation said we'd arrive at the hotel with 5 miles of range left.
In the end, the EQS proved to be right. Mercedes' brake regen system added a further 37 miles of range by the time the 6.8% grade flattened out. In theory, that meant 87 miles claimed range for 60 miles of our journey left. While seriously impressed, we chickened out a little and stopped for dinner in Pagosa Springs, just 60 miles from Durango while plugging into a 150kW fast charger. By the time we finished recharging ourselves, the Merc had more than enough juice to ensure our arrival.
After a weekend soaking in Durango's hot springs and hiking, we set out again, confident the now fully-charged EQS could make the 333-mile trip home in one go. And it did, with ease and more than enough range to spare, the battery meter showing 132 miles of range remaining. That was easily what shocked us the most. By that math, the car would do 456 miles on a charge. Had we decided to push past our hunger and make the hour-long journey from Pagosa Springs to Durango on the first leg, the EQS 450+ would have made it.
However, we did have some minor complaints. Our phones would often disconnect for seemingly no reason, and a small rattle persisted from the corner of the Hyperscreen. While the screen is impressive, as is the car's ambient lighting, it is rather fiddly, with some important seat functions buried in the menus. Additionally, the wireless charger only worked for our passenger's iPhone. We also found the EQS' ventilated seats to be far weaker than those in cheaper cars. The fans were simply too weak.
In all, the EQS proved to be more than comfortable on the journey. Luggage space was ample, and so too was legroom. These are some of the best seats we've had the pleasure of sitting in, too. Setting departure times in the infotainment meant the car was always at a comfy 71 degrees, and we felt the car was more than eager to show us some of its 329 horsepower on some of Durango's windy roads. Finally, the 10-degree rear-steer system made parallel parking in downtown Durango a breeze. We couldn't have asked for a better road trip companion, and we'd happily jump back in and do the whole thing over again.