2021 Mercedes-Benz EQS: luxury EV drops disguise as reveal nears

Mercedes-Benz is preparing to take on the Tesla Model S, Porsche Taycan and next-generation Jaguar XJ with its plush new EQS luxury EV, and fresh spy shots of a minimally disguised prototype have emerged.

Test cars have recently ditched the bulky body cladding and fake lights of previous testing mules, giving a glimpse of the headlight and tail-light designs and the overall body proportions. We recently had our first glimpse inside, too, and it looks like the EQS will have the same 11.9-inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital display as the recently revealed 2021 S-Class, doing away largely with physical controls.

Mercedes has already confirmed a range of more than 700km for the EQS. Daimler boss Ola Källenius said the new model would also “set the benchmark” in terms of luxury, comfort and safety.

The EQS will compete with the Taycan and its upcoming Audi E-Tron GT sibling in the flourishing electric premium saloon segment. Test mules feature a low, swooping roofline, with a slim headlight design among the more obvious visible features.

The EQS is described as being roughly the size of the current CLS. Mercedes previously hinted at the styling of its first electric sedan with the EQS Vision concept at last year’s Frankfurt motor show.

The latest addition to Mercedes’ EQ electric vehicle line-up will join the EQC mid-sized SUV and EQA compact SUV in showrooms in 2021. According to officials, the EQS name implies a level of luxury, comfort and features consummate to the company’s traditional S-Class.

It will head what the engineering boss of the EQ sub-brand, Michael Kelz, suggests will be a 10-strong electric model range by the middle of the 2020s.

Whereas the EQC is based on existing underpinnings from the GLC, the range-topping EQS will be the first EQ model to benefit from Mercedes’ dedicated Modular Electric Architecture (MEA).

Among the key engineering solutions included in the aluminium-intensive MEA platform is a flat floor structure.

In terms of proportions, it has a much shorter bonnet and a more heavily raked windscreen than the S-Class. In combination with the flat floor structure and a near-three-metre-long wheelbase as well as less intrusion from the gearbox and transmission tunnel than in conventionally powered models, this is expected to provide the EQS with greater interior space than Mercedes’ current range-topper.

The heavily curved roofline and relatively shallow glasshouse is similar to that seen on the CLS, while the fastback-style rear contains a liftback-style bootlid similar to that of the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé.

The EQS is expected to be powered by two electric motors – one on the front axle and the other at the rear – providing permanent four-wheel drive. In the EQC, this set-up delivers more than 300kW and some 700Nm.

Mercedes has confirmed the EQS will be produced at its main Sindelfingen factory on the outskirts of Stuttgart. It’s the third plant in Germany earmarked to produce an EQ model, with the EQC set to be built in Bremen and the EQA at Mercedes’ compact car plant in Rastatt.

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