GRR

The Mercedes EQS concept is the first all-electric S-Class

09th September 2019
Bob Murray

The world’s luxury saloon of choice for decades – with everyone from heads of state to the poshest of Heathrow’s taxi drivers – today faces a watershed moment. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is going electric.

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Merc’s big news at the Frankfurt Motor show today is the Vision EQS, officially just a show car, unofficially a near-future preview of the first battery-powered S-Class.

Your next limo might not light up in quite such a festive manner as this – 940 individual LEDs floating in a three-dimensional space make up the “light matrix” that is the front grille – but there’s plenty that’s real about this new design- and technology-leader for the expanding Mercedes EQ electric family.

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The reality centres on a bespoke electric car modular architecture – motors at both the front and back axles, batteries under the foor. The structure is scaleable for a range of EQ models and is made from a mix of steel, aluminium and carbon-fibre. Also real are the motors which pump out 469bhp with 760Nm (561 lb ft) of torque.

With all-wheel-drive and plenty of torque vectoring, Merc says the all-electric S-Class gets from 0-62mph in under 4.5 seconds, has a 124mph top speed and can go without being plugged in for up to 435 miles. All of which is very specific for a mere show car…

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It’s what’s on top that grabs you first, however. Like any S-Class the body is huge and the wheels equally so (actually 24-inchers!). But it’s how the traditional three-box saloon shape has morphed into what Mercedes calls a "one bow" proportion that serves as a peek into Merc’s next luxury-class design language.

The “one bow” look centres on a stretched arc profile with long cabin, short bonnet and boot, and big doors made possible by the huge wheelbase. The lower half of the car is silver and the top half replicates a “black panel” look, with the two haves separated by…  more lights.

A “lightbelt” around the waistline circumnavigates the body, connecting the hi-tech headlights and light matrix front grille with an equally glowing rear end, where 229 LEDs have been integrated into the body.

It’s a seamless and very sculptural form that, to us at least, succeeds in conveying what any S-Class has to convey: luxury travel.

But what is it with all the LEDs? Mercedes believes digital light technology allows for an unlimited number of display possibilities and is a key safety element in interaction between a vehicle and its environment.

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And inside? Spacious is the word, as you would expect of an S-Class, but it’s just as sculptural as the outside with a definite luxury yacht vibe. Serenity was the aim. Like the outside, there’s a 360-degree internal light belt that can create special lighting effects as well as communicate information to passengers.

Cabin materials are sustainable, colours classy, the technology discreet. The future of the Mercedes user-experience (MBUX) is about immersing yourself in digital content over the entire interior surface area, according to Vision EQS.

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Electric S-Class anyone? It’s going to happen, that’s for sure, just as Jaguar is reinventing the XJ as an electric limo. For Mercedes, its Frankfurt show star is “a clear statement for the continued future of high-quality vehicles and self-determined driving,” as well as “a first milestone on the way to CO2-neutral mobility of the future.”

One thing for sure, with all those LEDs you’ll definitely see it coming…

  • Mercedes

  • EQS Concept

  • Concept

  • S-Class

  • Frankfurt Motor Show

  • Frankfurt 2019

  • 2019

  • Motor Show

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