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27 Sep 2022

What We Dislike
Stunning, shocking price tag
Hefty mass takes effort to stop
The EQS450+ is arguably better

The Mercedes EQS53 AMG is excellent at being excessive, and this is exactly what makes it so compelling, in spite of it not making much sense.


We've all heard the phrase 'too much of a good thing is bad for you'. Too much alcohol? Well, that leads to drunkenness, risk of physical injury and yes, cirrhosis of the liver. Too much food? Well, a tummy ache and indigestion are always ready to make their presence felt, and a ballooning waistline is almost sure to cause health issues down the road.

Now, what about too much horsepower and torque? Can you have too much of these? If you ask me, the answer is no. But to be clear (and realistic), this is only practical in ideal conditions, such as a lack of traffic and speed limits. In Singapore, where congestion is common and driving quicker than 90km/h is illegal, then yes. A car that's too powerful is too much.

That is until I got behind the wheel of Mercedes' EQS53 AMG.

It's a fastback and a limo

Vertical bars and huge tyres that easily fill the wheel arches distinguish the EQS53 from the 'lesser' EQS450+
The EQS is Mercedes' flagship electric model. There are only two models in the lineup: the EQS450+ and the EQS53 AMG, which is the top variant.

Some will opine that it's an 'electric S-Class', but it's much more than that. It was designed and engineered to be an electric-only model, plus, despite resembling a saloon, it is actually a fastback.

In contrast to the EQS450+, the EQS53 has an edgier and sportier exterior, with the blanked-off grille featuring vertical 'bars'. The test unit seen here is even fitted with 22-inch, centre-locking wheels - one size up on the EQS450+. 
 
In black, the car looks particularly ominous.

An interior with more, more, more

Tech junkies will be screaming for these screens, which have gorgeous graphics and rich colours
If you've ever watched Wall Street, you'll remember Gordon Gekko, the fictional character played by Michael Douglas who said: 'Greed is good'.

That was what came to mind as I sat in the car and scanned through its spec sheet.

This electric fastback is excessive in so many ways. Apart from its considerable dimensions, it is seriously hefty, weighing in at 2,655kg sans driver.

Before the regulations were changed, you actually needed a Class 4 licence to legally drive one, because the weight limit for Class 3 used to be 2,500kg.

Mercedes gives the front passenger his own screen, even if the occupant in question already has a laptop, a tablet and a smartphone 
Anyway, open the door and the first thing that greets you is this huge, aptly named Hyperscreen that doesn't just dominate the dashboard. For Pete's sake, it is the dashboard.

Even the Honda e's considerable array of screens (surprising considering the cute hatchback's diminutive size) looks small in comparison.

The Hyperscreen actually houses three screens. There's the instrument panel for the driver, a centre display for the infotainment, and a separate screen for the front passenger.

With an array of colours and schemes to choose from, it's impossible not to find one that can suit your mood
So, while the driver uses the centre screen for navigating, the passenger can use his own screen for say, watching videos or online shopping. OLED technology helps ensure both brilliance and contrast.

Why the driver and front passenger need so many screens is beyond me, but they're there and can be useful, I suppose. The Hyperscreen is standard in the EQS53 AMG, but a $38,000 option in the EQS450+.

Then there's the EQS's ambient lighting. Yes, I'm a sucker for mood lighting in general, but I have to say, the mood lighting in here is dazzling. It can make the interior feel like a club on wheels.

Mercedes' official name for it is Active Ambient Lighting, because it does other things, too, such as welcoming you with a 'running' motion or warning you of a collision risk by flashing red.

Power overwhelming

Set everything to Sport+ and you're in for a pulse-racing experience and a stiff ride
The heart of the EQS53's excessiveness is its electric drivetrain. It has a pair of electric motors - one on each axle - fed by a humungous 107.8kWh battery.

The EQS450+ has the same battery, but only a single electric motor on the rear axle.

The EQS53's two motors churn out 649bhp and 950Nm by default. In Boost mode, which is activated when the Race Start function is used, these figures rise to 751bhp and 1,020Nm. That is stupendous.

These are eye-opening and grin-inducing. But one must also admit that nobody actually needs such output for driving on public roads.

The EQS53 AMG is a luxurious electric rocket for harried executives with piles of money to burn
What's really astounding, though is how these figures enable the EQS53, which now weighs over 2.7 tonnes with myself on board, to sprint, no rocket, from rest to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds. It's 3.4 seconds if Race Start is used.

Hard to believe? Yes, it's a surreal feeling when it happens. Brace yourself before you set the drivetrain to its most dynamic mode and slam your foot down on the accelerator.

The car shoves and then presses you into your seat, leaving you momentarily breathless. Your organs feel like they've left your body, cosmically, and are now some 600 metres behind. You pray they can somehow be re-attached.

Having rear-wheel steering is great, but being able to witness it in action on the big screen is even better
Is it the most violent? Certainly not. A car like the Audi RS e-tron GT is a lot scarier, for its lighter weight makes the accelerative force harder for your senses to comprehend.

In the EQS53, you still have your wits about you, thanks to the car's mass.

By the time you lift off the pedal to avoid breeching the national speed limit, you're even more blown away by the fact that the 1,020Nm tsunami was just starting to form.

Sound of fury

The fastback is shod with Michelin Pilot Sport EV tyres, which are specially tailored for Mercedes-EQ models - replacing them won't be cheap
There are three soundtrack volumes for you to choose from. You can go almost-silent, or opt for the loudest, which I preferred. Other road users are also treated (or aurally assaulted) by the same soundtrack.

You'd think that driving such a powerful car is difficult, but Mercedes made it easy to modulate. It's very linear, and the EQS53 only gives as much as you ask.

With massive 22-inch tyres, all-wheel drive, fully-variable torque distribution and rear-wheel steering, the EQS53 has grip in abundance, and you'll need it if you want to corner quickly.

Given its heft and size, tackling bends is not the car's forte, but they can nevertheless be easily overcome. Just know that your bum will be sliding all over the seat.

Braking is also when you'll feel the car's imposing physicality. The brake pedal surprisingly requires more effort than expected, so I set the energy recuperation to 'Strong'. It really helps when shedding speed.

Too much seems just right

This electric rocket was designed to cross continents, so using it for your work commute feels rather extravagant
The EQS53 made me realise that sometimes, too much of something can actually feel good.

Perhaps the car eventually got to me. The mood lighting, number of screens, 22-inch wheels, numerous standard features, utterly unnecessary performance... and oh yes, the $760,888 price tag.

Nobody really needs a 2.7-tonne flagship electric fastback that has the ability to worry supercar drivers. The EQS450+ is arguarbly better for everyday use, and has 200km more range, too.

But the EQS53's excessiveness is what makes it so excellent. And that's all you need to justify wanting one.


Looking for an all-electric flagship model? These stories may interest you

The Mercedes-EQ EQS450+ stands out for its comfort, refinement and luxurious nature

The Audi e-tron GT quattro may be the 'base' model, but there's nothing basic about its firepower and ballistic performance

Audi RS e-tron GT quattro is mind-bendingly fast yet comfortable on long drives

The BMW iX is an electric SUV that's comfortable on the road and mighty impressive on the tech front

BMW i7, the electric version of the 7 Series, is now in Singapore
Car Information
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Mercedes-Benz EQS Electric EQS53 AMG 4MATIC+ 107.8 kWh (A)
Rate it

Price

: $769,888

Engine Type

:

Dual AMG-specific PSM motors

Engine Cap

:

-

Horsepower

:

484kW (649 bhp)

Torque

:

950 Nm

Transmission

:

Single-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

3.8sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Energy consumption

:

4.3km/kWh

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