We’re used to seeing big numbers from cars produced by Mercedes-AMG. Even so, those credited to the new EQS53 4Matic+, the Mercedes-Benz performance car division’s first true series production electric model, are the sort to grab the attention of even the most ardent of internal combustion engine holdouts.
- It’s a 2.5-tonne car capable of accelerating to 100km/h in 3.4sec. Need we say more?
- Hugely muscular and instant response
- Great agility for such a large car
- Superb interior, overall accommodation
- Firm ride takes the edge off overall comfort and otherwise impressive refinement
- Spongy brake pedal feel
- Expected $350,000-plus price tag will make it a rare beast on Australian roads
At 560kW and a stomping 1020Nm of torque in combination with an optional AMG Dynamic Plus package, the drivetrain of the 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53 4Matic+ delivers 90kW and 120Nm more than the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine in the GT63 S 4Matic+ four-door.
The EQS53’s dual-motor system is based heavily on that used by the magnificently refined EQS580 4Matic+, but with a number of specific modifications aimed at ramping up performance even further. With a single-speed gearbox and a fully variable four-wheel-drive system to deploy it, the result is a claimed 0-100km/h time of 3.4sec, which considering the generous dimensions and 2575kg kerb weight is quite an achievement.
In doing so, AMG is serving notice that it doesn’t intend to let a wholesale shift towards electrification ruin its long-running reputation for delivering some of the fastest-accelerating four-door cars your money can buy.
The potency of the new AMG model is relayed by a number of unique styling touches that help to set it apart from the standard EQS. Included is an AMG-specific Panamericana-style grille within a redesigned two-tone front bumper sporting a prominent splitter element and fins on the air intakes, as well as revised air curtains to smooth airflow into the front wheelhouses on either side. Mercedes-Benz’s fully adaptable Digital Light headlamps also feature as standard.
Further back, the EQS53 sports wider sills, a larger rear spoiler, as well as a revised multi-channel valance at the bottom of the rear bumper. The standard 21-inch wheels come in either Aero or Heritage design. Buyers can also opt for larger 22-inch wheels in the same choice of design.
It is a successful reworking, giving the EQS53 4Matic+ a more performance-based appearance. But at the same time, it is not significantly differentiated to the AMG Line design package available for the standard EQS.
The changes have affected the aerodynamics, too, with the drag co-efficient increasing from 0.20 to 0.23 despite the retention of a blanked-off grille and largely enclosed full-length undertray.
The interior also gets a more sporting treatment than the standard EQS with AMG sill plates, a multi-function AMG performance steering wheel with a rotary drive-mode controller, AMG-specific graphics for the digital instruments, and two touch displays housed within the EQS53’s standard 1.4m Hyperscreen dashboard fascia. Plus, AMG sport pedals, AMG floor mats, as well as broad AMG seats up front with either standard synthetic leather or optional nappa leather upholstery – both with contrasting red stitching.
It is all fittingly upmarket both in appearance and feel, giving the latest AMG model a truly luxurious air matched by few, if any, competitors. The generous external dimensions and flat floor of Mercedes-Benz’s EVAII platform also make for outstanding accommodation and, in combination with a large liftback-style tailgate, impressive versatility.
Boot capacity is put at 610L – some 149L more than that offered by the GT63 S 4Matic+ four-door, extending to 1770L with the split-fold rear seat folded away.
The vast digital dashboard, along with all the various menus and functions, can be rather distracting at first. But once you’ve familiarised yourself with the intricacies of the MBUX operating system used to control it all, the EQS53 4Matic+ soon makes you feel at home.
The ‘Hey Mercedes’ conversational speech prompt is particularly intuitive, allowing access to most functions. It could operate a little faster, though. There’s often a pause before a command is acted upon. The touch-sensitive steering wheel controls also carry shortcuts to many functions.
|2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53 4Matic+|
|Boot volume||610L seats up / 1770L seats folded|
The AMG-specific drivetrain uses two synchronous electric motors – a smaller unit mounted up front and a larger, more powerful unit nestled within the sub-frame at the rear. Together they provide the big performance sedan with fully variable four-wheel-drive properties.
In everyday driving conditions, it relies heavily on the rear electric motor, with the front motor only making a significant contribution to overall propulsion at higher speeds. Four driving modes are put at your disposal: Slippery, Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus, as well as a Individual setting that allows you to tailor the throttle response, steering, suspension and other areas of the car to your liking.
As in other areas, the motors have been upgraded to allow them to rev higher than those used by the standard version of Mercedes-Benz’s electric-powered EQ flagship. Included is a six-phase design with two windings for the rear unit – each with three phases for a more powerful magnetic field, a stronger current to allow them to draw energy from the battery faster, and newly developed software for the inverters.
AMG has also altered the cooling system for the motors, specifically the water lance within the shaft of the rotor. Other changes include heat dissipating ribs on the stator and a ceramic structure on the inverter. Additionally, there is a second oil cooler for the single-speed transmission.
The result is a 99kW and 95Nm increase over the EQS580 4Matic at a nominal 485kW and 950Nm. As mentioned earlier, though, it doesn’t end there. AMG offers the EQ53 4Matic+ with a so-called Dynamic Plus package, which brings an additional 76kW and 70Nm for that headlining output of 560kW and 1020Nm.
To give this some perspective, the most powerful of the electric-powered four-door competition, the Tesla Model S Plaid, delivers a claimed 750kW and 1450Nm, while the Porsche Taycan Turbo S serves up the same 560kW and 1050Nm of torque.
Electric energy, meanwhile, is provided by a 107.8kWh battery operating at 400 volts. It uses a unique management system that allows the electric motors to draw power faster and for longer periods than the system used on other EQS models.
There is prodigious step-off acceleration, even in more relaxed driving modes, despite a kerb weight that is over 500kg more than that of the GT63 S 4Matic+ four-door. Traction off the line is outstanding, and a big part of why the new model is able to challenge AMG’s existing four-door petrol-powered flagship for outright pace off the line. Keep it nailed and it gathers pace with great determination, tracking with outstanding straight-line stability well into triple-digit speeds.
A claimed 0–100km/h time of 3.8sec for the standard EQS53 4Matic+ is a good 0.5sec inside the time Mercedes-Benz quotes for the EQS580 4Matic. But with the optional Dynamic Plus package it is 0.9sec faster. Top speeds are put at a limited 220km/h and 250km/h respectively.
The EQS53 4Matic+ is equally as impressive on light throttle loads, where the front electric motor is engaged from the drive process and it is at its most efficient. On a two-hour cruise from Palm Springs to Los Angeles, it felt wonderfully muscular. At the 65mph (105km/h) speed limit, you only begin to scratch the surface of its enormous performance potential.
Steering wheel paddles allow you to alter the level of energy regeneration in three steps, the highest of which claimed to harvest up to 300kW, pulling it up very smartly when you lift off. Alternatively, you can use the lowest setting to coast along for prolonged distances.
Drivetrain refinement is excellent. There was a high-pitched whistle from the front electric motor under light load on occasion in the early example car we drove, though as a whole the drivetrain is very smooth and quiet.
Too quiet? Try the AMG sound experience system. It adds a range of synthetic sounds to the drive process. They’re linked to throttle pressure, becoming louder as you tickle performance from the electric motors. Oddly, though, they remain very subdued on a trailing throttle, which is where traditional internal combustion engine AMG models are at their snarling best.
|2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53 4Matic+|
|Euro NCAP rating||Five stars (tested 2021)|
|Safety report||Link to Euro NCAP|
As with the driveline, AMG has tweaked the EQS’s air suspension. Changes include model-specific adaptive dampers similar to those used by the GT63S 4Matic+ four-door, as well as a nominal reduction in ride height.
Our first drive of the EQS53 4Matic+ came in California on a combination of heavily patchworked highways and wonderfully flowing canyon roads. The light steering action is sharper and arguably more communicative than that of the standard EQS, owing to the inclusion of uniquely specified bushes and the larger contact patches of its front tyres.
The new AMG sedan model turns in with great enthusiasm when running in Sport mode. For such a big car, it is quite easy to place on the road and very obliging when you ask for a quick change of direction. Given the sort of lateral forces the Porsche Taycan rival is capable of generating mid-corner, though, its steering could do with more meaningful weighting off centre.
Admittedly, the four-wheel steering system takes a lot of credit for the inherent agility – that a car measuring well over five metres offers such fluid properties is credit to AMG’s engineering prowess. The low centre of gravity, a result of housing the battery down low within the floor structure, also plays a crucial role in heightening the handling.
Owing to the weight, there is substantial inertia in corners. However, the variable qualities of the four-wheel-drive system, which allow up to 100 per cent of drive to either the front or rear, ensures grip from the upgraded tyres remains strong on most surfaces. Overall balance is very impressive, and quite rear-biased when you begin to push. There is also great traction when you deploy those generous reserves with an earnest stab of the throttle on the exit to corners.
When you do overstep the limits, the electronic stability program is very quick to react with automatic braking of individual wheels and rapid redeployment of power to trim your line and help to keep you out of trouble.
|At a glance||2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53 4Matic+|
|Warranty||Five years / unlimited km|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||21.1–24.3kWh/100km|
With its own unique suspension tuning, the EQS53 4Matic is better tied down than the EQS580 4Matic+. However, there is still quite a bit of roll at times. The body movement, though, is clearly communicated and quite progressive in the way it builds, allowing you to anticipate it and take action accordingly.
Less distinguished is the ride quality. The air-sprung underpinnings are quite firm, even in Comfort mode. This leads to a degree of harshness and quite a lot of vertical movement when the road surface is less than smooth, particularly at the front end, which fails to mask high-frequency bumps at speed with great distinction. There is also a significant amount of tyre roar compared to the standard version of Mercedes-Benz’s top-of-the-line electric sedan too.
Another concern centres around brake feel. While the upgraded system, using six-piston callipers up front and two-piston callipers at the rear, is tremendously powerful in its ability to haul the EQS53 4Matic+ up, the action of the pedal leaves a lot to be desired. The weighting is inconsistent, and it lacks meaningful feel as well.
With its battery supporting charging at up to 200kW, the new electric sedan can be charged in as little as 30mins on a high-powered charger, according to AMG. With combined-cycle WLTP consumption between 24.3 and 21.1kWh/100km, the overall range is put at between 511 to 585km.
|Key details||2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS53 4Matic+|
|Engine||Dual permanently agitated synchronous motors|
|Power||484kW (560kW Dynamic Plus package)|
|Torque||950Nm (1020 Nm Dynamic Plus package)|
|Drive type||All-wheel drive|
|Power to weight ratio||182.3kW/t (210.9kW/t Dynamic Plus package)|
|Weight (kerb)||2655 kg|
It is not AMG’s first electric model. That honour rests with the limited-production SLS E-cell introduced back in 2012. But the EQS53 4Matic+ is where the Mercedes-Benz performance car division electric car ambitions gain volume-production status.
In the best of AMG traditions, it is hugely powerful, explosively fast, and very accurate in its actions. It also offers a truly outstanding interior, an excellent range and impressive quality.
A definitive verdict will come when we get to drive it in Australia, but for now there are some question marks over its ride, which contrary to the smoothing character of the EQS580 4Matic+ we drove earlier this year, was found wanting over certain roads we encountered in California earlier this month.
We’re also yet to see an official price. But with the EQS580 4Matic set to command over $300,000 here, this even more powerful AMG model is expected to be positioned a good deal above it at more than $350,000.