Reviewing the very latest high-end luxury vehicles is always an exciting experience, not because I get to see what it’s like to be Alan Sugar for a week, but because it gives you a glimpse of the technology that will eventually trickle down into vehicles that most people can afford. The new Mercedes-Benz EQS is the perfect example of this - it’s just as much a rolling tech showcase as it is a car. Here are the things that excited me most about the future of motoring.
For a start, the EQS marks the launch of a new generation of batteries with significantly higher energy density and innovative battery management software. The result is a range of up to 453 miles (WLTP) which genuinely lets you forget about dreaded ‘range anxiety’.
One day, I drove from Oxford down to West Wittering and around Chichester, and back, on a single charge, something that I wouldn’t have even attempted with previous electric cars I’ve reviewed.
When it does finally come to charging, the EQS can be charged up to 200 kW at fast-charging stations with direct current, adding up to another 185 miles (WLTP) in just 15 minutes. Of course, those chargers are rare at the moment, but it's useful future-proofing.
Finding the electric charging points has never been easier thanks to Mercedes ‘Navigation with Electric Intelligence’, which plans the fastest and most convenient route taking into account traffic, your driving style, and electric charging points along the way.
It will tell you at the start of the day whether the available battery capacity is sufficient to return to the starting point without charging, and, what’s particularly impressive about this system is that it will prioritise faster chargers. For example, it might take you on a route that's five miles longer if there is a faster charger nearby, taking into account the charging time and reducing the overall journey time compared to using a slower charger on a more direct route. It was good enough to tempt me away from Android Auto and removed the stresses of route planning.
The sat nav is controlled using the large, curved ‘Hyperscreen’ which sweeps from A-pillar to A-pillar. It’s hugely impressive from the moment you sit in the driver's seat, automatically logging into your profile using facial recognition and setting up the car with your personal preferences. The interior feels more like you’re piloting a plush spaceship than driving a car.
The navigation directions are also projected on the road ahead of you using the head-up display (HUD), with big arrows pointing to which way you should turn. There is really no excuse if you make a wrong turn.
The EQS has a similar level of driving tech to a spaceship as well, the most advanced of which is Drive Pilot, which is a semi-automated mode that works up to 40mph where traffic density is high or in traffic on the motorway. It's initially only available in Germany, it aims to take the strain off the driver and give them time to do other things, such as browsing the internet or replying to emails.
I was also very impressed by the ‘Intelligent Recouporation’, which uses the car’s cameras and computers to decide when to draw power back into the battery and when to coast. It's another setting you don't have to worry about.
Of course, the Mercedes EQS also has adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, so it will all but drive itself on the motorway, all you need to do is enjoy the massage seats and keep your eyes on the road.
Finally, one feature I haven't seen on a car before is the automatic comfort doors, so, when you approach the car, first of all, the door handles extend. As you get closer, the driver's door opens automatically. It's like having a robot chauffeur. Using MBUX, you can also open the rear doors, for example, to let in children in front of the school.
Driving the Mercedes EQS was a genuinely interesting glimpse into the future of motoring, not only did the semi-autonomous systems make driving long journeys effortless, the long-range and clever mapping essentially killed range anxiety. It showed me a future where electric cars aren’t simply as good as ICE cars, they’re 100-times better.
This article is part of The T3 Edit, a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.