The “AMG” designation on certain Mercedes-Benz models stands for “Aufrecht Melcher Großaspach.” Few consumers recognize that those three words are the last names of Mercedes’ founders and the city in Germany where Aufrecht was born – they just know that “AMG” is synonymous with “high performance.”
On that note, Mercedes-AMG has introduced its first EQ – fully electric – model in the United States. Designated the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+, the four-door delivers performance at (or above) its combustion-powered counterparts without consuming a single drop of gasoline.
Like all AMG models, the AMG EQS follows a similar formula of enhancing a standard model (in this case the EQS 580 4MATIC Sedan) with more power, boosted performance equipment, and cosmetic alterations to distinguish it from its standard siblings.
AMG-Specific Cosmetic Appointments
Externally, the AMG EQS is visually differentiated by its AMG-specific black panel grille with hot-stamped vertical stripes in chrome (with integrated Mercedes star and AMG designation). The front bumper matches the vehicle’s exterior color and the wheels, offered in both 21- and 22-inch sizes, are AMG alloys. Numerous options allow buyers to further customize their AMG EQS – the AMG Night Package adds dark chrome, red brake calipers (and special interior treatments that include Nappa leather).
The passenger cabin has been enhanced with a range of AMG upgrades. These include special space grey MB-Tex on the instrument panel and beltlines, black microfiber with contrasting red stitching, and AMG Performance Steering Wheel, AMG Sport Pedals, and AMG floor mats with AMG lettering. Mercedes fits the AMG EQS with its innovative MBUX Hyperscreen as standard equipment – complete with its 56-inch curved glass instrument panel.
Beneath the skin, and mirroring the standard EQS models, the AMG EQS rides on a new electric platform with a 400-volt, 107.8 kWh, lithium-ion battery pack packaged beneath the passenger compartment. Like the EQS 580, the AMG model boasts two electric motors – both upgraded and specifically engineered for the AMG – to provide 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. Combined, the motors deliver a combined system power of 649 hp / 700 lb-ft of torque (opt for the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package and those figures jump to 751 hp / 752 lb-ft).
AMG Mechanicals for Remarkable Performance
Performance is striking. According to Mercedes, the AMG EQS rockets from a standstill to 60 mph in just 3.4 seconds (with the AMG DYNAMIC PLUS package) and won’t slow until it hits an artificially limited 155 mph (the AMG is about half-a-second quicker in the benchmark spring when compared to the 580 4MATIC). While power is up, range is down a bit – expect the AMG EQS to deliver about 275 miles of range on a full charge (about what the gasoline-powered AMG models do).
The AMG EQS utilizes AMG RIDE CONTROL+ air suspension (which is based on AIRMATIC) with an Adaptive Damping System. Programmed for AMG driving dynamics, damping forces to each wheel may be calibrated and adjusted within milliseconds to ensure the ride is optimized. Rear-axle steering is also standard. The system has been engineered to reduce the vehicle’s turning radius at low speeds, improve agility at moderate speeds, and increase stability at high speeds.
Brakes have also been upgraded and enhanced for the higher demands of performance driving. Six-piston calipers are mounted within the front wheels, with single-piston calipers in the rear. An optional AMG ceramic high-performance compound braking system utilizes even larger brake rotors. An i-Booster function ensures that the braking system seamlessly incorporates electric recuperation and hydraulic actuation based on demand and efficiency.
Lastly, to ensure the driving characteristics of the Mercedes-AMG EQS meet the expectations (and needs) of the driver, the sedan is fitted with AMG DYNAMIC SELECT. The five-mode system (“Slippery”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport+”, and “Individual”) aligns the vehicle’s driving dynamics and battery’s thermal management systems, to optimize power and vehicle handling in each mode. Mercedes even offers the option of disabling stability control with an ESP OFF function.
AMG EQS Driving Impressions
Fit an aerodynamically clean sedan (the Cd. is an impressively low .23) with all-wheel drive and 751 hp and magic ensues. Mash the accelerator pedal and vehicle occupants are immediately planted against their seatbacks – there’s no delay as the power and torque from an electric motor (in this case two electric motors) is instantaneous. No AMG, whether combustion or electric, has ever launched with this sense of immediacy. Initial acceleration is dizzying, but rate of acceleration does fall off as speeds increase – typical of electric vehicles without traditional multi-gear transmissions.
Yet at no point is the AMG EQS not ready to deliver mind-blowing power. Pulling into traffic is effortless, merging onto highways is unproblematic, and passing large groups of vehicles in one fell swoop is entertaining. And, as a bonus, electric motors are not affected by altitude or temperature (two places where combustion engines struggle) so performance never degrades.
Ride quality is exceptional in the standard “Comfort” drive mode, with the sedan gliding contentedly over most large surface imperfections (“Sport” and “Sport+” are significantly stiffer, so they are best reserved for spirited driving). Wind noise is hushed, but a bit of tire noise permeates the cabin – especially if the road surface is poor (blame the performance tires).
Handling, which is a signature strength of an AMG model, is impressive. The steering is accurate and nicely weighed, yet it lacks tactile feedback through the wheel (a common complaint with most every new vehicle these days). Initial turn-in is sharp and notably steady. The rear-axle steering system ensures utmost stability, allowing cornering speeds at much higher velocities than expected.
Overall, the AMG EQS delivers impressive driving dynamics. But it’s a very different feel from a traditional gasoline-powered AMG model. Electric motors deliver power faster, without drama, and the digital driver assistance systems on the sophisticated EQS (e.g., Active Steering Assist) remove the inaccuracies and sloppiness found in traditional combustion models. Some will argue that some of the “seat-of-the-pants driving feel” has been lost, while others will appreciate the newfound accuracy and precision of the all-electric AMG.
The AMG Sound Experience
One important mention on the AMG EQS is the AMG SOUND EXPERIENCE. As electric motors are inherently much quieter than their combustion counterparts, Mercedes engineers have synthesized a sound to “emotionally enhance the dynamic driving experience,” says the automaker. The tone, which makes the AMG sedan hum like a futuristic spaceship from Star Wars, emanates from the loudspeakers and a sound generator – it fills the cabin loudly. Occupants may tweak the sound (choosing between “Balanced”, “Sport”, and “Powerful”) to their liking, or extinguish it completely.
The Final Verdict
Mercedes-AMG has done a commendable job engineering the EQS to fit its new role as an AMG model – no easy task considering the lineage of the special badging and the expectations of its discerning owners.
While purists may question why (or how) an electric Mercedes deserves the hallowed “AMG” on its decklid, the initiation of the EQS is just the beginning. This isn’t Mercedes-AMG testing the water, trying to determine if its customers will buy a non-combustion AMG model (my gut says it will be a strong seller). Instead, the 2022 Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4MATIC+ is a step towards the electrified future of the performance brand.