Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ First Drive Review
A feature on the hyperscreen takes me through my launch sequence. I toggle the dial on the steering wheel to Sport+, click on Drag Race at the centre of the three screens. Five red lights appear on the screen akin to a race start. I press play on the screen and everything in the cabin turns red and an electric whine gets deeper. I’ve got one foot hard on the brake, the other smashed on the accelerator. The lights on the hyperscreen turn green, I lift off my left foot and hold on for dear life. 2.65 tonnes of Germany catapults ahead towards Lavasa. 3.4 seconds later, I’ve got chills down my spine. I need a break to gather my thoughts.
Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ Styling
While I wrap my head around the performance of the AMG, let’s take a look at the car. I quite like the way it looks, but it doesn’t quite look like an AMG. An AMG has to be loud and shouty, but with all the no noise game going on, it is difficult to make the car look angry and ready to rip on a race track or a winding road. Nevertheless, the beautiful Panamericana grille, the swept. Back headlamps and the one-bow roof line going all the way to the rear give the EQS AMG a lovely slippery shape.
The EQS is built on a brand-new Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) platform. It’s the most aerodynamic car in the world with a drag coefficient of 0.2. This AMG though with its larger 21-inch wheels gets a slightly higher 0.23 Cd.
Mercedes-AMG EQS 4MATIC+ range and charging network
The slippery shape must aid considerably in increasing its range as does the mega 107.8kWh battery in its floor. WLTP claims are at 529-586km, but realistically, you’ll get an easy 450km with a bit of hooning. After multiple runs up and down the Lavasa hill climb, testing and shooting the car all day, I still had about 100km of range left at the end of the day. This will most definitely be the car that finally puts an end to the whole range anxiety debate.
And just to ensure range is a non-issue, Mercedes-Benz India is setting up the most comprehensive EV charging network for a luxury car brand in the country. There will be 100 22kW chargers, 20 60kW DC chargers and 20 180kW ultra fast DC chargers spread across the MB network, that can be used 24x7 by Mercedes customers, and free for the first year. AMG also doesn’t want you to wait too long at charging stations. The car has an interesting thermal management system that gets data from the navigation system when you are mapped to a charger and preheats or cools the battery to keep it at the optimum temperature for fast charging.
Mercedes-AMG EQS 4MATIC+ Interior
The 56-inch hyperscreen dominates my thoughts initially, but it fades into the background once I get going. It’s surprisingly easy to use once you get the hang of it, and since there is so much real estate, most of the frequent functions are all on top. I don’t want to even get to the quality of the Burmester system and the fit and finish, the dials and controls on the steering wheel, the number of massage options or the games you can play on two of the three screens to kill time because there are nothing but superlatives to describe them. You get a cosseting set of seats for all passengers, the front two come with massagers and ventilation and pillows so soft, you’ll wonder if you are sitting in an AMG. Even the seat belts aren’t red! Nothing inside tells you it’s first a performance car, not a luxury car.
Mercedes-AMG EQS 4MATIC+ driving impressions
This is the first electric AMG, ever. The boys from Affalterbach might have been a little easy with slapping the AMG badge on cars that don’t quite stir up the emotions of purebreds of the past but such is the power of economics. Nevertheless, a purist will give you slack for a petrol car; but when it comes to electrics, most car manufacturers have stayed clear of their halo marques for good reason. It’s a new era of performance that’s got nothing to do with the fast cars of the past. There is no succession or evolution as we transition to electric cars so developing a new range of cars makes total sense. AMG though rides on the back of what Mercedes-Benz makes and if Mercedes-Benz is serious about going electric, AMG has no choice but to chart a similar path. With its own nuttery of course. And so we’ve got our hands on the first ever electric AMG ― the EQS 53 4MATIC+.
AMG has reserved the 63 badge for something even more mental, but the stats of the 53 are nothing short of extraordinary. It’s the most powerful AMG ever, it’s got 120bhp more than the most powerful four-door AMG ― the GT 63 S E Performance. The EQS AMG packs more horses than a McLaren 720S or a Ferrari 488 Pista and it’s just a few short of the Aventador Ultimae. You compare torque and it’s in a whole new league altogether. I’ve never driven a stock car out of the factory with four-digit torque figures. With the AMG Dynamic Plus package, the EQS AMG sends 1020Nm to all four wheels. It might weigh 2.65 tonnes but that doesn’t get in the way of an acceleration run to 100kmph. In most fast cars, you flirt with a speeding ticket, in the EQS AMG, you’ll need to marry the traffic police (or try jail warden). I can only imagine what destruction would lay in its wake had it been half a tonne lighter. Electrics are absurdly quick. So quick, that even if it’s the only party piece, you are partying all day, every day without a hangover. Why wouldn’t you want one?
Because you like some noise. You like that the V8 thumps its hairy chest as it sets fire to the souls of dinosaurs and sends the fumes back to its bum to fart out sounds that make your heart flutter. I love myself some noise too, I love how the revs build to a crescendo, how your right foot controls the build up and in a way, gives you the baton to the orchestra. What do you do when you miss out on so much? I tried letting go of the cylinders for the day in interest of an unbiased opinion. And then the EQS AMG began to grow on me.
You quietly roll out of the driveway and since it’s Pune, encounter at least a dozen speed breakers on your way out of town. The adaptive adjustable air suspension hints at a bit of stiffness but takes you over the humps with ease. I’m yet to give it the beans but just getting out of town is so relaxing in the AMG, I want to make touring plans with it!
With the AMG Dynamic Plus package, not only do you get more power and torque to tap into, you get more steering angle for the rear axle — 9 degrees the other way to the fronts at low speeds — and that makes the 5.2-metre long AMG turn on a dime. It’s got a 10.9-metre turning circle and while the way it handles parking spots will make you want to take it everywhere, the way it attacks a tight set of corners will make you want to corner carve with it. The weight is evident as you turn in but the grip from the Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres is remarkable. We did several launches through the day, on dry and wet surfaces. But never did the tyres break traction despite 1020Nm trying to send them to the grave. It’s crazy how difficult it is to lose traction, and that means that even though 100 per cent of the torque can be sent to the rear wheels, the edge at the loss of traction will be a scary one. Find enough space before giving it full sends with the TC off. What AMG has mastered in this big blob of a car is the steering. It’s well weighted, makes the heavy car feel super nimble and when you turn in and out of corners, you are reassured it’s an AMG. It darts out of corners with finesse that defies its mass and size. A low centre of gravity only helps with this.
For the first time in a long time, I am not looking at the range or the efficiency while driving an electric car. The drama of the piped sound through the speakers is just extra for this flagship EV, but even without that, when you set the dial in comfort it still feels properly fast. The turn of pace is just silly on a winding road. As I connect the dots between corners and finish a series of them, I realise how frequently I am hitting triple-digit speeds in this AMG. It’s beyond belief. And because the rear steer makes a mockery of tight bends, at every corner exit, I gain time. I could get used to beating Google Maps by a few hours on every road trip.
The EQS AMG begs to be driven over long distances. You’ll get over 100-120km more per charge compared to an RS e-tron GT or a Taycan Turbo and the Mercedes charging network to go with it. So this EQS AMG is not just going to appeal to the luxury EV car buyer, it will appeal to every performance/luxury car buyer. It is a CBU and hence has a hefty Rs 2.45 crore price tag, but Mercedes will look very closely at how it’s received. Besides all the AMG SUVs that can go almost everywhere, this could well be the first non-SUV AMG in which you could tour the country in style. It might not be as engaging as its thunderous cousins but it’s fast. Very, very fast.