By Funizwe Moleme
We live in a world where change is constant, and improvements are expected to happen in leaps and bounds. Car manufacturers are introducing several EVs into the market and in some cases EV derivatives of an existing model. Whether this move is intended on an inevitable replacement, time will tell. One thing that steers on the side of certainty is buyer/consumer expectations. This means that buyers at a certain price point will expect a level of quality and execution that is on or above par.
Performance and drive impressions
Enter the Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ that we recently had on test. The car doesn’t take a long time to make its case with its fresh and sleek looks, modern interior execution, and style. Power is adequate at 250kW from its electric motors backed by a 107.8 kWh battery that has a claimed range of 630km – which is also attainable in the real world. We managed approximately 540 kms before we had to return the car, and about 90 kms was still in reserve. Impressive.
It is important to note that the range will be impacted by how much one uses the seat warmers/air conditioning. We also loved how comfortable the EQS is. This is both from a suspension and seat combination. Everything here is well damped, and the cabin isolated from the outside/road noise.
Tech-fest on wheels
As one could expect, technology is right up there when it comes to features. The reverse (and front) camera has good resolution and blends in well with the MBUX infotainment. Operating the system can be done via controls on the steering, on screen as well as the center console. Barring the biggest of phones, it is easy to slide in a handset for wireless charging and there are ports all around the interior to ensure that every passenger has access to charge a phone. Driver assisted features were also easy to use and crucially, worked all without being intrusive.
Not so good
We did, however, find some slight concerns with the EQS. For one, the front camera that displays the traffic ahead of you, the driver, at a traffic light, was occasionally very laggy. Interior fit and finish had uneven gaps between the front right and left doors. We also felt that the front windows could have been one window (like in the E-Class Coupes) and not have a small separation that takes away from the uniformity. Air-conditioning operation could have also been quitter, especially at higher fan speeds. The rims also have a blue highlight/trim – which is not necessary for a car at this price point, where the potential buyer would have a certain level of sophistication. Our last hurdle is the Burmester sound system. Admittedly, this is more of a preference than a concern/quality issue. At this level, we expect the higher spec version to be standard which would elevate the experience.
Are we nit-picking? We think not. The above points stem from several things. Mercedes-Benz is known to be one of the leaders in luxury and design and these are things they do elsewhere in other stablemates (i.e. S-Class/E-Class). The price point is another aspect. The EQS 450+ we had on test has a starting price of R2,615,100 and that is high-end territory in many car categories.
In summary, the EQS points to a very interesting future, but as we feel it still lags behind in some design and execution aspects for its price point, its S-Class stablemate remains a stronger proposition in our view.
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