Sunday Drive by Hormazd Sorabjee: Shock treatment

Published on Sep 17, 2022 02:17 AM IST

Mercedes’s first electric AMG provides the ultimate electric thrills in a civilised and supremely comfortable car—for a price

This electric luxury saloon EV offers a range of 580 kilometres on a single charge
This electric luxury saloon EV offers a range of 580 kilometres on a single charge

There’s a lot to celebrate with the new Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+. It’s the first all-electric Mercedes sedan built on a bespoke, pure electric platform, it’s the shape of things to come from the oldest carmaker in the world, and most importantly, it’s the first Mercedes EV to wear the coveted AMG badge.

Speed king

EVs recalibrate the concept of power and performance, which is why the ‘53’ badge is quite misleading—53 is the lesser AMG badge stuck on milder six-cylinder variants, while the ‘63’ badge is for the wilder, full-blown V8s. But look at the spec figures and you’ll be confused. Very confused, and completely blown away. The AMG EQS 53 produces an electrifying 761hp. And when you pin the EQS 53’s accelerator pedal to the carpet, you can only imagine what an EQS 63 (there’s no talk of one yet) would be like, because it’s hard to imagine something quicker than this.

The surge and exhilarating sensation of speed you get is addictive. You can’t seem to get enough of the accelerative g-forces pressing your cheeks back. But how often can you keep indulging in full bore acceleration sorties? If you have passengers in the rear, they may turn a different kind of green and mess up the plush interiors!

We found ourselves driving most of the time in Comfort mode, and in this relaxed setting, there’s still more than enough grunt to silently scythe past traffic. Silently? AMGs are not meant to be silent and a spine-tingling sound track is very much a part of the AMG experience. And that’s where the EQS 53 falls flat. The artificially generated sound is like a weird synthesised hum which doesn’t sound anywhere close to a V8’s throaty soundtrack. And if you want sound, you might as well play your favourite songs through the mind blowing 15-speaker, Burmester audio system.

Cabin fever

There’s a soft ride to the car which gives it a plushness not seen in other AMGs. Even in Sport Plus mode, the suspension doesn’t feel overly firm and it’s only the sharp edges that thunk through.

Tom Cruise in Risky Business
Tom Cruise in Risky Business

The steering is quite quick and the rear wheels, which steer up to nine degrees, give the EQS 53 the agility and manoeuvrability of a much smaller sedan and not something that is 5.2 metres long. The EQS 53 drives with enough verve and precision to keep you nicely entertained on your favourite road. But the driving experience is a bit aloof and not as engaging as the hardcore AMGs.

The cabin is where all the action is and it’s centred around the 56-inch ‘hyperscreen’, which is a bit of a misnomer because it is three separate screens integrated into a single dashboard panel that stretches from pillar to pillar. What is truly impressive is the crispness of the graphics, the clarity of the cameras and the brilliant heads-up-display (HUD).

With no lump of an engine to accommodate, the cabin of the EQS 53 has a lavish sense of space. In the rear, the fantastic legroom and absolutely flat floor gives a lounge-like experience but, compared to an S-Class, the seats aren’t as plush and don’t have the same level of under thigh support.

Fit and finish in the cabin, however, are S-Class levels and the rich mix of materials combined with some very cool ambient lighting and the hyperscreen gives the cabin a luxury spaceship feel. Luggage space? That’s a big complaint with the S-Class, but the EQS goes to the other extreme with its 610-litre boot which opens like a hatch.

Cost analysis

Under the floor is a massive 107.8 kWh battery, the biggest yet on an EV in India. This equates to a class-leading range of 580km but charging such a large battery takes time. Which is why it’s a good thing that Mercedes is installing superfast 180kW chargers at key locations on the highways and in dealerships.

If you are looking for the ultimate electric thrills in a car that’s equally civilised and supremely comfortable, there’s nothing to beat Mercedes’s first electric AMG. But for the 2.45 crore asking price, it might be better to wait for the standard EQS 580 4Matic, which is phenomenal too, and is expected to cost 50 lakh less. With the money saved, you can get a GLA too!

The views expressed by the columnist are personal

From HT Brunch, September 17, 2022

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    Hormazd Sorabjee is one of the most senior and much loved auto journalists in India, and is the editor of Autocar India.

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