Mercedes-AMG EQS review: the first production tests of the 2021 AMG EV


Looks like an EQS with more attitude.

You could say that. It will also answer a question that has probably gnawed at a certain type of car fan, namely: How the hell does AMG turn an electric car into, well, a real AMG? After all, if the good people of Affalterbach are known for anything, it’s the creation of some of the most thunderous internal combustion engines in automotive history. They are loud, proud and step back when it comes to moving forward. Or sideways.

Then go. First impressions?

It feels like an AMG. It really is.

But surely one of AMG’s hallmarks is missing – noise?

It disappeared some noise, but don’t get too excited. Like the Audi e-tron GT and the Porsche Taycan, the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic + – to give it its full name – proves that an electric car can have a personality as powerful as its combustion brethren. internal. Different but powerful. OK, so the vibes aren’t that of a fossil-fueled AMG, and it won’t hold your ears as convincingly as engaging third gear in an Italian motorway tunnel. But it still sounds cool, although we have to add the caveat that the sounds of the EQS 53 are artificially created.

Its audio system uses special speakers, a bass actuator, and a sound generator to create alternate soundtracks. The standard one is “authentic”, and there is an optional “performance” profile, which does its job inside and out, depending on the selected drive mode and the driver’s mood. It also provides a series of what AMG calls “event” sounds, including unlocking the car and starting and stopping it. What you do with a start button on the center console, unlike the regular EQS which is ready to go as soon as it detects your body in the seat. This one requires a little more literal numerical effort …

We prefer the real thing, thanks.

Sure. But you realize that a lot of musicians now use orchestral sampled sound patches or specific drum sounds that are so good they are indistinguishable from reality. Also don’t forget this song in the original (and the best) Matrix movie where Joe Pantoliano’s character asks to be reinserted into the simulation after a delicious but fake steak dinner? After 20 minutes in the EQS 53, you stop worrying about the authenticity of the “authentic” sound mode. Turns out the blue pill isn’t that bad.

Oh my God. They’ve got you, don’t they. Apart from the sound, what else has changed?

“Our customers want a dynamic and emotional driving experience,” Jochen Herrmann, CTO of AMG, told TG.com. “We deliver this with AMG-specific solutions, especially with regard to the drive system, suspension and brakes. Let’s start with the powertrain. This is a twin engine setup, one on each axle, for a total of 650 hp in standard form or a total of 751 hp and 758 torque if the AMG Dynamic Plus package has been specified and you have glued the ‘EQS in Race Start mode (it has a boost function).

We’re talking about constantly agitated synchronous motors, which AMG engineers / chemists have reworked to include new windings, stronger currents, and inverters that run specially developed software. This, says AMG, allows for higher rotational speeds and therefore more power. Much effort has also gone into cooling; there is a water lance in the rotor shaft to cool it and special ribs on the stator. Batteries are also a trap: usable energy is 107.8 kWh, the cobalt content is reduced and AMG claims that the energy density has been significantly improved. Connected to a 200 kW charger, Mercedes says 186 miles of range will return to the batteries in about 19 minutes.

Vary?

About 360 miles fully charged. The battery can be preheated or cooled while driving, so it is more receptive to rapid charging. But it also has a mechanism to reduce the load during the charging process to preserve its longevity. AMG says the battery is good for 10 years or 155,000 miles. The cells were developed in-house, and the hardware and software are all proprietary. Mercedes always needs technology partners, but has ambitions far beyond just having skin in the game. It is also working hard to reduce lithium-ion batteries’ reliance on rare earth materials. and intends to make the entire supply chain carbon neutral. It can manage bidirectional recharging in the markets that offer it (Japan for example). They know the car itself is only part of the bigger picture.

It generally seems complete. How does it feel to move?

Even more than on the lower EQS models, driving the 53 is to zap the future squarely and quickly into the here and now. It is extremely impressive. And a bit huge: on a car of this size with this amount of chemical firepower, there’s no escape from its inelegant mass – it weighs 2.6 tonnes (of which 760 kg is the electric powertrain) . And yes, you notice it, if you venture down the kind of road that you might expect a traditional AMG to excel at. How could you not?

Yet the EQS 53 is still an absolute blast, with the car’s software magically and instantly distributing drive to all four wheels and checking available torque 160 times per second. The usual range of driving modes is available: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport + and Individual. Select the sport and the software takes care of it once again, implementing a torque bias towards the rear while this increased cooling capacity developed by AMG helps maintain power for longer.

It will do that EV traffic light dragster thing if you want it; with the optional Dynamic Plus package, 0-62 mph is completed in 3.4 seconds, with top speed limited to 155 mph. The base car is four tenths slower at 62 mph and has a lower top speed. Another thing to note: Michelin has co-developed a special tire capable of withstanding all this energy while offering low rolling resistance. And it has built-in polyurethane foam to reduce noise in motion.

But is this an AMG full bore?

There is a bespoke electric platform called AMG.EA currently in development that could be more traditional AMG hardcore. The EQS 53 features a “performance-oriented driving concept with a luxurious ambience,” says AMG. That’s right. There’s an active rear axle as standard, and AMG’s ride control +, adaptive damping and tailor-made rear subframe and engine mounts strike the right balance between dynamic calm and compliance.

Obviously, that’s not one of the company’s efforts, and the EQS remains mellow and limousine than Porsche’s Taycan Turbo. But its bandwidth is still so extensive that a bunch of different cars are allowed to coexist under one roof. Excellent braking feel too, thanks to the huge 415mm brake discs up front (440mm on optional ceramic caps), which skillfully combine powerful three-stage electric recuperation with hydraulics. There is an i-Booster for a more authentic AMG feel.

What about the interior and exterior makeover?

Effective too. Mercedes has led the way with various “mono-box” concepts – “single-arch” in Mercedes parlance – over the years, but the EQS 53 does slightly better as an AMG than the standard car. curved. There’s an AMG-specific black panel grille with hot-stamped chrome vertical struts and an integrated three-spoke star. There are various aero modifications including a front splitter, side air intakes to clean up turbulent airflow around the front wheels, as well as a larger diffuser and rear spoiler.

It’s super slippery too, with a drag coefficient of 0.23. Inside the EQS 53, the Hyperscreen comes standard, 1.4m of OLED magic that reinvents the way we interact with a car. “Honestly, it’s like sitting in a glider or an airplane cockpit,” Gorden Wagener, Mercedes Creative Director, told TG.com. “People are asking about our dream cars and super sports cars, but it is in fact the most dreamed car we make.”

Is he right ?

We’d say the EQS is pretty sensitive to specs, but our AMG 53 test car shows what can be done. I mean, why would you think of a cream interior on a car like this? There are pinstriped pale wood and synthetic leather, micro-cut microfiber and red stitching. The driver’s screen is multi-configurable, and while the area around the steering wheel is occupied, everything is intuitive. The graphics and resolution of the center display are unmatched, and Mercedes’ “zero layer” philosophy means the elements you use most often float upward.

AMG’s Track Pace Virtual Race Engineer is an option, logging data on 80 parameters if you really feel the need to take your 2.6-ton EV on a racetrack (we wouldn’t). Passengers can watch content or chat on the Internet without interrupting the driver. It’s a remarkable system, the centerpiece of a truly fascinating interior, although I found the heads-up display distracting and couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. So not totally perfect, then.

Charging?

The AI ​​helps the navigation system plan the optimal route in advance, monitoring variables such as topography, ambient temperature, speed and demand for heating and cooling, as well as the availability of charging stations. recharge and payment functions. So that should relieve beach anxiety. The charging process itself is simplified as long as the user signs up for Mercedes Me Charging, with charging and billing taking place automatically, with the emphasis on “green” energy. European customers can use the Ionity FOC fast charging network for one year after purchase.

The EQS is also the first Mercedes to offer the ability to activate new vehicle functions via live updates, positioning the company on the edge of the new digital frontier. “We made the choice several years ago to massively increase our investment in the digital space,” Daimler CEO Ola Källenius told TG.com earlier this year. “We have recruited and created digital hubs around the world. In Silicon Valley, Stuttgart, Beijing, and Berlin, and our cloud computing team is in Seattle. So it’s not something totally new to us, but it’s a must if you want to be a leading luxury brand.

All very convincing. But expensive, right?

Prices in the UK are not yet confirmed, but they start at € 150,000 elsewhere in Europe. So a loaded EQS 53 will likely cost £ 170,000. Sip. On the flip side, this is the most compelling version of Mercedes’ EV statement to date, and a very clever manifesto for AMG as these famous ICE warriors pivot in the inevitable new direction.

About Ethel Nester

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