The Mercedes EQS electric luxury limo might be the most high-tech car yet

Sitting behind the wheel of the futuristic new Mercedes-Benz EQS luxury limousine is less like getting ready to drive than getting ready for takeoff.

Facing a hi-tech panoramic screen, doing pre-flight checks for space travel seems much more appropriate in this all-electric machine.

Before driving it on UK roads ahead of first deliveries from February, I familiarized myself with the system of this remarkable engineering masterpiece.

Merc’s masterpiece: EQS luxury electric limousine is packed with tech and costs from £100,000

It’s arguably the smartest, most efficient new car to ever hit the road. Indeed, this streamlined battery-powered Benz promises a range of up to 453 miles.

It all matters because this advanced technology will, over time, trickle down from the top to most family cars.

Sky is the limit

The new EQS is the first Mercedes-Benz to be built on a platform bespoke for the company’s large luxury and business-class electric vehicles, and is the battery-powered sister to the A-Class’ conventional flagship limousine. S.

The EQS’s expansive digital instrument panel immediately reminded me of the “superjumbo” cockpit of the Airbus A380.

Starship Command: The EQS's expansive, high-tech panoramic digital instrument panel looks like something out of a sci-fi movie

Starship Command: The EQS’s expansive, high-tech panoramic digital instrument panel looks like something out of a sci-fi movie

At the heart of this impressive machine, with its smart yet beautifully appointed interior, is the striking hyper-display incorporating multiple screens under a single cinematic spread of curved glass spanning nearly 5 feet. The front passenger even has their own 12-inch screen.

Two main versions of the EQS are available for sale at launch in the UK. The standard 333bhp EQS 450+ range priced at £99,950 comes in three sport-focused AMG Line variants (AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus) and two classic luxury versions (Luxury and Exclusive Luxury ).

These all accelerate from rest at 62mph in 6.2 seconds to a top speed of 137mph.

Priced at £154,995 and arriving in April, there’s the more powerful 659bhp Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ which accelerates to 62mph in just 3.8 seconds to a top speed of 155mph.

Seven magnificent EQS features

Hyperscreen

A high-tech £7,995 extra that transforms the cockpit of your EQS into the deck of the Starship Enterprise.

MBUX

The sensors of the Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX system use artificial intelligence to monitor your time on the road.

“Hi, Mercedes”

Want to know tomorrow’s weather? Just say “Hey, Mercedes” and the Alexa-style voice assistant will tell you.

Fingerprint readers

The fingerprint scanner logs you in to your custom driver settings as well as your preferences.

Facial recognition is also an option.

GPS

Not only will it get you to your destination, but it will find you vital charging points along the way.

Massage seats

A choice of warm back massages to soothe your aching limbs during a long journey.

Head-up display

The augmented reality head-up display keeps your eyes firmly focused on the road while projecting speed, speed limit, sat nav directions and warnings into the line of sight.

First impressions

I drove the EQS 450+ Exclusive Luxury which costs from £113,995, but the hi-tech hyper-display (extra £7,995) brings the final price to £121,990.

Powered by its 333 horsepower, 245 kW electric motor, there are three main driving modes: Eco – if you’re trying to save energy; Comfort — for relaxed everyday riding; and Sport — when you want a more exciting drive. You can also change it yourself with the Individual setting.

Approaching the car with the key fob in your hand or pocket, the EQS’ door handles automatically emerge to greet you.

Before leaving, I set up my personal driver profile using a fingerprint security scanner.

After that, a simple print swipe reminds me each time I log in, allowing any number of drivers to configure the car to their own seating position, driving preferences and music choices.

The car sweeps effortlessly along highways and the smooth ride is aided by the self-leveling air suspension which raises the vehicle for rough roads and lowers for better aerodynamic performance at high speeds.

On country roads and around town, it’s nimble — thanks to 10-degree rear axle steering that combines with the front wheels to reduce this 5-meter-long car’s turning circle to just 10. 9 meters, like many compact class vehicles.

The head-up display keeps your eyes focused on the road and highlights speed, speed limit, sat nav directions and relevant warnings.

For passengers in the back, there’s plenty of legroom and sound-absorbing, infrared-reflecting privacy glass.

The optional Luxury Lounge Pack (costing £3,995) brings a host of extras, including electrically adjustable rear seats with massage functions, a comfortable rear armrest, air conditioning and wireless smartphone charging.

The trunk is large and the panoramic sunroof lets in light.

Sensors galore

At the heart of all the gray matter on the screens and around the car is the Mercedes-Benz User Experience or MBUX.

It uses artificial intelligence to improve driving – from augmented reality technology in the navigation screen to intelligent voice control with voice recognition and the ability to speak 27 languages.

Up to 350 sensors monitor the functions of the EQS, recording distances, speeds and acceleration, light conditions, precipitation and temperature.

However, I did experience “range anxiety”. A run to the Midlands from London initially showed sufficient charge, but on the way back it looked like I wasn’t going to make it.

Tapping the on-screen icon of a public charger revealed a menu with a list of the nearest charging points.

According to Mercedes, charging with a 200kW DC fast charger takes 31 minutes to 80 per cent, or 15 minutes to 186 miles. A full charge on an 11 kW AC wall box takes ten hours.

I was also impressed with the Alexa-like “Hey, Mercedes” when I asked her to perform tasks. Maybe the robots are really taking over.

Demand drives prices up

Used car prices rose by more than 30% last month to an average of £17,816, with some rising by more than 50% like-for-like.

The biggest price jump in the top ten in December was the Seat Alhambra, which now costs an average of £19,038, the Auto Trader Retail Price Index reveals.

Seat to believe it: The biggest price jump in the top ten year-over-year in December was the Seat Alhambra, which now averages £19,038

Seat to believe it: The biggest price jump in the top ten year-over-year in December was the Seat Alhambra, which now averages £19,038

It was followed by: the Renault Grand Scenic (average £10,152), Skoda Octavia (£16,826), Ford S-Max (£15,142), Skoda Yeti (£12,739), Ford Focus (£15,475 ), Land Rover Defender 110 (£81,857), Hyundai i30 (£13,963), Toyota Yaris (£13,647) and the Ford Grand C-Max (£12,189).

Price rises were driven by Covid and a global shortage of computer chips delaying new car deliveries – which increased demand for used vehicles.

In December, the average asking price of a ‘nearly new’ vehicle (those less than 12 months old) increased by 45% over the previous two years in December 2019, reaching an average price of £34,429.

Richard Walker, director of data and insights at Auto Trader, said the second-hand market “is on track for continued strong price growth well into the second half of the new year.”

“The two main factors fueling this growth, supply constraints and strong consumer demand, show no signs of easing anytime soon.

Claims of an imminent bubble burst ignore these key dynamics,” he added. Rival used-car price index CarFinance 247 also reported “double-digit annual growth”.

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