2022 Mercedes AMG EQS 53, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 review
The first all-electric Mercedes AMG for Australia is now on sale, based on the radical EQS limousine flagship.
- An interior that feels like the future
- Brutal acceleration, superb highway refinement
- It’s not beautiful, but it really turns heads
- Does it have a clear AMG identity?
- Lacks ultimate driver-engagement
- Swooping roofline reduces rear headroom
“The AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ is the first all-electric ambassador in the performance segment, made in Affalterbach,” says Mercedes‑AMG GmbH chairman of the board Philipp Schiemer.
That word, “ambassador”, is really the key here. It signposts what we can expect to see from the tuning arm as Mercedes-Benz whooshes into its battery-driven future.
The top-of-the-range AMG EQS 53 beats its more humble luxury- and long-range-focussed EQS siblings to market by a few months, and stands apart with its AMG-specific electric motors, sound generator, unique displays and drive modes, and rejigged suspension.
How much does the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 cost?
The Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ is now on sale priced at $328,400 before on-road costs, which is about bang-on equal with the Mercedes-Benz S580L 4Matic halo.
While that’s a high price of entry for the time being, Mercedes-Benz Australia has confirmed non-AMG versions of the EQS for the Australian market, which no doubt should undercut the AMG EQS 53 by some margin.
What is the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 like on the inside?
Approach the car and when it unlocks, the flush door handles pop out and give you access.
The EQS 53’s interior does not have the traditional Mercedes-Benz limo interior that emphasises sumptuous old world material choices and the solidity of a double-brick cottage.
Rather, it’s largely about the latest in flashy tech, through the pretty dash does nicely blend into the upper door trims in an almost unbroken curved line, replete with light piping and silver metallic trim offsets.
The inside is dominated by its ‘hyperscreen’, a set of three screens (two touch-sensitive) under a single glass cover that stretches nearly pillar-to-pillar ending in turbine-like vents, spanning 1.41-metres across. It’s absolutely mind-boggling for a production vehicle.
The first of these is the driver’s instrument cluster with more display modes or software skins than you can poke a stick at – including a full-width map option – which you adjust with touch-sensitive sections on the novel five-spoke steering wheel.
This information-dense display is backed by a head-up display that projects your speed, lane-assist active guidelines and other data onto the windscreen – and is capable of tapping into the ‘augmented reality’ sat-nav with animated arrow instructions that grow as you near the target.
The big centre touchscreen running the latest MBUX system has beautiful graphics and as you would expected offers ample processing power, banishing lagginess when pinching, swiping, zooming or flicking through screens.
Highlights include the full-screen Apple CarPlay integration, augmented reality (AR) navigation which places a front-camera image overlaid with directional signals into the screen, and hyper-detailed menus with high-res animation showing the vehicle’s charge status.
There’s also a dedicated ‘AMG Performance’ menu with all manner of dynamic displays such as energy flow across the driveline, and the AMG Track Pace circuit data logger (which seems faintly incongruous on a car like this).
The final piece of the ‘hyperscreen’ puzzle is the OLED display ahead of the passenger – really, this seems more of a novelty than a must-have – with map views, audio controls, and vehicle status updates. Or, more quaintly, is displays flashy wallpapers.
In a bid to keep the design clean and modern, most key functions are operated through screens: including ventilation controls, driving mode adjustments, consumption status, and even the interior ambient lighting and seat massage modes (most seat controls are on the doors).
The cloud-based conversational voice control activated by the words “Hey Mercedes” is quite accurate though, able to understand phrases such as “I’m cold” (puts up the temperature) or “open the sunroof”. On the move, I encourage you to try the MBUX voice commands.
There are some haptic controls next to the starter and hazard light buttons along the centre tunnel that shortcut your audio functions, pull up the camera, and pop the charge port open.
There are also signature rotary dials on the wheel to adjust the driving mode, or to go more granular and individually change the damper settings and the artificial driving noise profiles.
Recognisable AMG additions beyond the wheel toggles include the signature embossed headrests, red stitching, extensive use of microfibre, carbon-fibre-looking trims on the doors and tunnel, and drilled metal pedal caps.
Beneath the centre section with its sliding cover (enabled by the ground-up EV platform) is a large open section for partially hidden storage.
The rear doors are similarly lovely to behold, with their suede and carbon-fibre materials and silver speaker covers. Rear occupants get temperature controls, and extra-soft headrests, as well was excellent legroom.
However, that swooping roofline limited headroom for taller folk – at 194cm, my head hit the roofline.
The boot (at the rear only) is accessed by a larger-aperture top-hinged hatch, and can stow a claimed 580 litres – matching a typical medium-large SUV.
What’s under the bonnet?
The AMG EQS derivative has permanently excited synchronous electric motors at both front and rear axles, meaning fully variable ‘AMG Performance’ all-wheel drive.
Standard power and torque outputs are 484kW of power and 950Nm of torque.
If that isn’t sufficient, the AMG Dynamic Plus option bumps this to ‘boost’ jolts of 560kW and 1020Nm specifically in the Race Start mode – effectively an EV launch control system – so long as the battery has the requisite state of charge (75 per cent).
The 400-volt lithium-ion battery has a usable energy content of 107.8kWh, and AMG-specific wiring said to be “adapted for high levels of performance along with a specially-configured battery management system”.
The maximum DC charging rate is 200kW, which should take it from 10-80 per cent charge in 31 minutes. Standard AC charging capacity is 11kW, which can be optionally scaled to 22kW.
The claimed driving range is 580km, with power consumption of between 21.1kWh and 24.3kWh per 100km.
We’d note here that the 400V battery contrasts with the 800V battery systems in the Porsche Taycan, and Hyundai Ioniq 5, which enable more rapid charging on an appropriate ultra-rapid DC charger. We’d need to charge all three and map their charge graphs to cast further judgement.
How does the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 drive?
Considering its 2655kg kerb weight, the AMG EQS spinoff is ridiculously quick in a straight line, as mentioned above. Acceleration from 0-100km/h is possible in as little as 3.4 seconds in Race Start mode, or 3.8 seconds in standard specification.
The AMG-specific electric motors at the front and rear axles are permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) with new windings, stronger currents and specially developed software. The driving modes unlock greater or lesser degrees of rear-motor bias.
To maximise the take off with the AMG Dynamic Plus package’s Race Start mode, just hold the brake and throttle, lift off the middle pedal, and hold on. The car plays some interesting noises to make up for the EV silence, but you’re too busy settling your stomach to notice.
Given sound has always been such an important part of the typical Mercedes-AMG driving experience, the EQS 53 is advertised as bringing “a new, powerfully sonorous sound to electric driving”.
It does this through speakers, a bass actuator and a sound generator to create a sound “experience” in two versions: ‘Authentic’ or optional ‘Performance’. It’s generated inside and outside the car, with tonality and intensity designed to match the driving status or mode.
I didn’t expect it to match the insane soundtrack of a C63 AMG Black or 507, but the whole sound experience left me a little flat. It’s a variable robotic hum, though I’d imagine you’ll be able to download more sound options through the Mercedes Me app soon.
Front suspension comprises four-linkages, air suspension struts, adaptive adjustable levels of damping, and an anti-roll bar. The rear is the same except it has five linkages per wheel.
The EQS 53 also has standard rear-axle steering that enables a back wheel angle of up to 9 degrees, helping cornering agility at higher speeds while reducing the turning circle at lower speeds to only 11.5m.
“The components have been specifically improved by AMG engineers and configured to meet the needs of Mercedes-AMG customers with respect to both driving dynamics and ride comfort,” the company insists.
Even with huge wheels the air-suspended ride quality is excellent, and so too are the levels of driving refinement over most surfaces. This is a car that you’ll very comfy in doing high mileage.
But point the EQS 53 towards a curved road, turn the wheel through some tight sequences while jumping from accelerator to brake, and you realise even the engineers from Affalterbach can’t easily tame 2.6 tonnes of battery-powered car.
While the rear-wheel steering system and rapid electric two-motor all-wheel drive offer competent handling, the car’s sheer mass and the uncommunicative steering don’t really encourage particularly aggressive, high lateral-G cornering, which the AMG badge may suggest.
Some may find the brake pedal delivers occasionally inconsistent pressure as it alters from regenerative to hydraulic stopping power, though in my mind you won’t notice this unless you really look for it.
The AMG compound braking system comprises six-piston calipers with 415 x 33mm discs at the front, and single-piston calipers with 378 x 22mm discs at the rear. There’s also a maximum of 300kW brake-energy recuperation available, with three levels.
Don’t bother with the ceramic brake option.
What do you get?
The list of features reads like an old Russian novel, but here are some highlights:
- AMG body styling
- AMG-specific front grille
- 21-inch wheels
- Digital headlights
- Adaptive high beam assistant plus
- Three LEDs per headlight
- 1.3 million micro-mirrors per light
- Active light function with anticipatory control and topographical compensation
- LED rear lights in a 3D helix design with light band at the rear
- Heat-insulating, noise-noise insulating, infrared-reflecting laminated glass
- Panoramic sunroof
- Proximity hands-free access
- Powered hands-free tailgate
- Tyre patch kit with inflator
- Heated, cooled and powered Nappa leather seats
- Hot stone massage functions
- Four-zone climate control
- AMG Performance multifunction steering wheel
- 1.41-metre curved ‘Hyperscreen’
- Digital driver instruments
- Centre touchscreen
- Ahead-of-passenger OLED display
- ‘Augmented Reality’ navigation
- Projecting head-up display
- Steering wheel-mounted rotary controllers for AMG-specific driving modes
- Burmester 3D surround sound with 15 speakers, 710-watt output
- Digital TV tuner
- Active ambient lighting
- Mercedes me Connect smartphone app
Key options – for a car that costs well over $300,000, there are rather a lot – include:
- AMG Dynamic Plus Package: Power and torque boosts in Race Start, ‘performance’ AMG Sound Experience system – $7690
- Energising Comfort Package: Steering wheel heating, heated rear seats, Energising Air Control Plus, HEPA air purifier, and MBUX rear seat entertainment with two wireless headsets – $9290
- Night Package: Red-painted brake callipers, 22-inch multispoke wheels, trim details in black – $3990
- AMG ceramic composite braking system – $9990
- MBUX Augmented Reality head-up display – $2690
- AC charging system for up to 22kW – $2490
- Mercedes-Benz Wallbox Gen 1.5 for home charging – $1450
- Polar white non-metallic
- Graphite grey metallic
- High-tech silver metallic
- Nautic blue metallic
- Obsidian black metallic
- Onyx black metallic
- Sodalite blue metallic
- MANUFAKTUR diamond white bright – $1990 extra
- MANUFAKTUR hyacinth red metallic – $1990 extra
- MANUFAKTUR selenite grey magno – $9490 extra
Is the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 safe?
The Mercedes-Benz EQS has a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating based on testing carried out in 2021.
It scored 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 91 per cent for child occupant protection, 76 per cent for pedestrian protection, and 80 per cent for safety assist.
Safety features comprise:
- 8 airbags
- Adaptive cruise control
- Route-based speed change function
- Active stop-and-go
- Traffic sign assist
- Active steering assist with active lane-change assist
- AEB with bike, pedestrian and junction assist
- Pre-safe plus crash-preparation
- Active lane-keeping aid
- Active blind-sport and exit warnings
- 360-degree camera with parking assist functions
In other words, the big AMG steers itself through highway corners and matches the speeds of the vehicle ahead. For context, Mercedes is also rolling out Drive Pilot Level 3 autonomous tech in Europe, using the EQS as its first example, so it’s capable of more.
More impressive are the lengths Mercedes-Benz went to with regard to battery protection. Through an extruded aluminium process, the automaker created a strong underbody housing around the battery pack described as a “crash protected area in the underbody, embedded in the body shell” with energy absorbing structures fully encasing the battery pack.
The company also tested the battery’s durability during both heavy shock loads and in the case of a foreign object penetrating the casing.
Extreme temperature and overcharging conditions were also tested, and software monitoring ensures the battery switches off if temperature, voltage or insulation faults occur. The system can even detect an impact when the EQS 53 is stationary and charging (i.e. another car hits it).
How much does the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 cost to run?
The regular warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres, plus 10 years cover for the battery.
Buyers get a three-year Chargefox public-charger subscription thrown in, meaning you get unlimited charging through the national network for that period.
Service prices are TBA.
CarExpert’s Take on the Mercedes AMG EQS 53
The Mercedes-Benz EQS fills the brief of being tomorrow’s S-Class, today. It’s an impressive machine, with amazing acceleration for something so large and heavy.
But I think the regular Mercedes-Benz EQS range due shortly is worth waiting for, because the AMG enhancements don’t look to make this an entirely more compelling car.
2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS 53, On Youtube