Charge to experience luxe

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is the all-electric version of the S-Class

THE FLOODGATES have truly been thrown wide open. Electric vehicles have long ceased to be novelties but represent the inevitability of our mobility fate.

That’s certainly how it looks like with the local Mercedes-Benz stable of models. Following a trio of electric releases (EQA, EQB, and EQE) in September of last year, IC Star Automotive, Inc., official distributor of Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the Philippines, unveiled the flagship EQS. Coming in a lone EQS 450 4Matic AMG Line guise, the electric vehicle is the all-electric equivalent of the top-rung S-Class.

Amid the influx of EVs, the distributor is bullish about prospects. Intimated Mercedes-Benz Philippines Product Planning and Training AVP Benjie Bautista to “Velocity,” “The reception has been very good, with many of our customers being early adopters. Some are our previous customers who want to experience change. They also have their own personal advocacies in sustainability, reducing CO2 emissions, carbon neutrality, and the like. It has also been a success because I think we’ve been able to position and price the vehicles competitively.”

By the executive’s reckoning, about 15% of the EQ-model buyers here thus far are repeat customers.

Introduced globally just last year, the EQS luxury sedan is said to be the first Mercedes-Benz model “built on the modular design intended for executive and luxury-class electric cars,” according to a Mercedes-Benz Philippines release. The company continues that the sedan “seamlessly combines design, technology, safety, and connectivity.”

The exterior shape is highlighted by the brand’s signature “one-bow design” featuring a “coupé-like roof line, which extends in an arc over the vehicle, over the frameless doors to the rear.” A truncated nose and clamshell hood mark the forward area, while an attractive fastback rear gets the viewer’s attention. The profile is not just for show, either. The sleek shape helps the EQS get down to a 0.20 coefficient of drag, which makes it the most aerodynamic production vehicle in the world.

The EQS boasts a so-called Digital Light with Ultra Range High Beam, which can adjust to the driving situation for “relaxed and safe driving.” On the other hand, the rear lights get a curved 3D helix shape and are connected by an illuminated strip.

Mercedes-Benz reported that the EQS already banners Artificial Intelligence, which allows it to “make decisions almost instantaneously and learn over time about how the car is used.” A so-called Zero-Layer interface allows vehicle function, display, and infotainment parameters to adjust to the user. It even makes context-based personalization of comfort, entertainment, and vehicle modes. Integrated in the MBUX infotainment system is adaptive software that ensures most relevant or used applications are available most readily. The car bears “up to 350 sensors, feeding control units and algorithms information to process.” It can read distance, speed and acceleration, deceleration, lighting conditions, precipitation, temperatures, and seat occupancy.

The centerpiece in the vehicle’s cabin is the MBUX Hyperscreen, a huge 56-inch curved display that allows the user to “view all information and issue voice commands more easily.” Covered by a length of bonded glass are three screens — an OLED 12.3-inch one for the driver, 17.7-inch display at the center, and 12.3-inch screen for the front passenger. A Burmester 3D surround sound system employs 15 speakers, wireless charging, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

The second row boasts the MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment System, predicated on two 11.6-inch displays with touch controls on the backrests of the driver and front passenger seats. In addition, the MBUX rear tablet also comes standard. The independent tablet can be used outside the EQS. Android apps may be installed in the tablet, and it can be used as a remote control for all rear-seat entertainment functions. As for the seats, backrests are electronically adjustable. The front and rear seats are climatized and a comfort armrest is available in the rear.

And as it bears the hallowed “S” letter, the EQS receives a four-link front and multi-link rear suspension found in the S-Class, promising superior ride comfort. An Airmatic air suspension adjusts damping and allows for real-time adjustment to road conditions. Cabin lighting consists of 190 LEDs in wraparound light strips and elements. Active Ambient Lighting offers 64 colors, and can be operated and tailored through the MBUX voice assistant, which recognizes the position of the person speaking.

The EQS 450 4Matic AMG Line is powered by a next-generation lithium-ion battery. The 108.4-kWh cell pack can muster a maximum range of 717km (WLTP-certified). This can translate insisted Mercedes-Benz Philippines, to a “worry-free” trip from Manila to Baguio — depending on one’s driving habits and the vehicle load, of course. Its 4Matic all-wheel drive determines the most efficient all-wheel-drive distribution depending on situation, and the electric powertrain dishes out 360hp and 800Nm — translating to a standstill-to-100kph time of 5.6 seconds.

Finally, the Mercedes-Benz Driving Assistance Package Plus enhances safety through “modern, intelligently networked sensor systems” that yield semi-automated driving.

“We believe that the EQS is equally competitive in its segment,” added Mr. Bautista. “We’re expecting to build even more on our EV sales from last year… It’s very good that the government has been able to support the EV industry. We hope the support continues.”

The executive trusts that electrics will continue to be more attractive to buyers as public charging infrastructure is set up. “As infrastructure is being established, we’re confident that our customers can travel from, say, the northern tip of Luzon to the southern tip, and they’ll have chargers they can use along the way.”

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz Philippines Passenger Cars Distribution General Manager Rhomel Franco revealed to “Velocity” that a viable target strategy the company is looking at for its electric vehicles is to appeal to sustainable-minded firms’ executives. The Mercedes-Benz premium cache and green values are definitely aspirational sets for the, well, enlightened C-suite.

The 2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450 AMG Line has an introductory price of P9.99 million.