Mercedes-Benz is on an electric vehicle tear at the moment, so it was inevitable that AMG, the company’s performance arm, would get in on the act. The first of its go-faster models is the AMG EQS 4Matic+. While it shares its platform the EQS 580, the rest of it has been reworked to place a much clearer emphasis on outright performance.
In Europe, the 107.8 kilowatt/hour battery delivers a driving range of up to 585 km. It will likely be less when the official number is released in Canada. That aside, the first drive of this electric speedster proved it has the driving range required. At the start of the drive route the readout was showing 433 km to “empty.” At the end of the 271-km drive there was 179 km left in the battery, and the drive was not conducted with an eye to conservation!
This not only proved the AMG EQS lives up to its range promise, it demonstrated the importance regenerative braking plays in helping the overall range. Here, there are three levels of regen accessed through the steering wheel’s paddle shifters. In its most aggressive setting, it mimics a one-pedal drive, so the need to use the oversized AMG mechanical brakes was almost nil on the drive.
The battery powers two AMG-specific electric motors that are cooled, so they can handle the thermal load the higher performance places on them. The front and rear units combine to produce 649 hp and 700 lb-ft of instant-on torque. However, engage the Race Start mode and the numbers soar to 751 hp and 752 lb-ft, which gives the AMG EQS the wherewithal to blast to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 250 km/h. To use Race Start, the battery must have an 80 per cent state of charge.
The two electric motors also form a fully variable all-wheel-drive system — the overseeing brain checks the torque distribution 10,000 times a minute to ensure the power is going where it can be used most effectively. This means there’s a complete lack of drama whenever the driver demands full warp from the motors. How the torque is apportioned is tied into the drive mode selected: Comfort keys on efficiency and driving range; Sport and Sport+ bring a rear-biased drive that puts a much bigger emphasis on outright performance.
A big part of AMG’s legacy had to do with the unmistakable exhaust note the company made its own. In the new electric era, AMG wanted to transition its sound signature into future EVs. To this end, there are Authentic and Performance sound tracks with three intensity levels — Balanced, Sport and Powerful. The intensity of the sound also changes according to how hard the accelerator pedal is being worked. Unfortunately, the man-made sound just does not compare to the bark and burble elicited from quad tailpipes. In this case, it’s more of a distracting noise than an emotional sound. Muting the electronic overture proved that silence is, indeed, golden.
Beneath the shapely sheet metal sits AMG’s Ride Control+ air suspension with electronically-controlled damping. Again, the ride quality and roll-control vary according to the drive mode selected. In Comfort, the EQS wafts over the roughest of roads; in Sport+ body roll is banished to the point where it remains eerily flat through the fastest of corners.
The unspoken plus is the suspension and all-wheel-drive work with a four-wheel steering setup that can turn the rear wheels by up to nine-degrees. In a parking lot this cuts the turning circle to that of a C-Class. The real bonus, however, is it sharpens the response to driver input when pushing down a twisty a road. The point here is all of this technology does a stellar job of hiding the size and weight of the AMG EQS — it rides on a 3,210-mm wheelbase and weighs 2,655 kg! In practice it feels so much lighter and more alive, even as it approaches its seemingly impossible limits.
Inside, the AMG EQS 4Matic+ is class all the way. It starts with the quality of the materials and finishes with the fully-articulated, heated/cooled front seats. The highlight, however, is the standard Hyperscreen. It puts the 12.3-inch reconfigurable instrumentation, 17.7-inch infotainment screen and 12.3-inch passenger-side screen under one large piece of glass that spans the width of the car. The neat part is the MBUX operating system adopts a zero-layer strategy, so there’s no need to delve into sub-menus for any of the key infotainment, comfort or vehicle functions. Yes, the look is intimidating at first, but it proved to be surprisingly easy to live with and use. In a smart move the passenger’s screen only comes to life when a rider is detected in that seat, which prevents unwanted driver distraction.
For the driver there are some other handy features. Access to the drive modes, suspension settings and noise control for those electric motors is through two steering wheel-mounted rotary knobs. This and one of the largest head-up displays in the business allow the driver to focus on hauling through a corner, which is certainly not what’s expected of a full-sided ride.
The Mercedes-AMG EQS 4Matic+ is best described as being the ultimate sleeper. This is, after all, a rather formal-looking vehicle. However, it takes everything demanded of any AMG gas-powered ride and makes it all-electric — that instant-on torque grabs the driver’s attention in a serious hurry! It’s also a luxurious grand tourer with superior comfort and all the latest mod-cons.
FYI: The Mercedes-AMG EQS 4Matic+ is due to hit Canadian roads late first-quarter of 2022 with a starting price of $184,200. As of now there is nothing on the website to confirm the timing or further pricing.