Why would I buy it?
- No range anxiety whatsoever
- Explosive performance
- Road presence
Why would I avoid it?
- Underwhelming rear seat experience
- Low ground clearance
What is it?
It’s a relatively sane, more sensible version of the EQS 53 AMG that we tested earlier this month. Yes, Mercedes-Benz India has launched the all-electric EQS 580 roughly a month after the mad AMG version and it’s yours for Rs 1.55 crore before registration, insurance and taxes. While that is a lot of amount for an electric sedan, let’s not forget that the EQS 580 costs nearly a crore less than the EQS 53 AMG. More importantly, it’s the first-ever locally-assembled EV from Mercedes-Benz India, one that gives us an idea of what’s in store for the brand’s future here.
Is the cabin any good?
The EQS’ cabin is nice. No two ways about it. Though it’s nice not in the most conventional sense. For starters, the dashboard isn’t layered with contrasting materials like it usually is in Mercedes’ high-end models. Instead, you get a massive 56-inch of curved glass that houses not one, nor two but three individual screens. Finishes around the glass, naturally, are beyond premium with dense chunks of soft-touch materials and lots of leather.
The screens look and feel incredible and the main central display is sharp and quick to respond. Interestingly enough, the leftmost screen can be engaged only when the front passenger seat is occupied. In terms of functionality, it has the same interface that you get on the main screen but losses out on some key features like smartphone mirroring. It may look alien to some but this dash is quite user-friendly, with clearly marked switches and knobs that are placed exactly where you need them. What’s really neat is that there is a quick access button on the centre console for crucial bits like ADAS functions and raising the ride height. The touch controls on the steering wheel is still fiddly to use but the rest of the cabin, once identified, is cleverly simple to operate.
Given the EQS’ over five-metre length, it’s no surprise there are acres of room inside the big EV. The high-quality leather seats at the front are plush and come with plenty of bolstering. They also have a massage function that can be turned on to make you even more relaxed as you waft along in your noiseless EV.
A lot of buyers will spend a lot of time in the rear, being ferried around in what is basically an electrified S-Class and the EQS 580 is a lovely place to be. There was plenty of knee room behind my five-foot-eight-inch driving position, as well as decent headroom. The plush seating at the back offers exceptional comfort levels though it’s still no S-Class. There aren’t many wow-inducing features at the rear like in the S but the EQS has all the basics covered and then some more. You get twin sunroofs, multi-zone climate control, massaging seats a 15-speaker Burmester surround sound system, ambient lighting and a highly configurable digital instrument cluster behind the wheel.
Is it nice to drive?
The EQS 580 has a fully electric AWD drivetrain consisting of two motors – one each on the front and rear axles for a combined output of 385kW of power and 855Nm of torque. Beneath the cabin floor, there is a 107.8kWh battery pack that enables the EQS 580 to hit 100kmph from a standstill in a claimed 4.3 seconds. Headlining figures out of the way, let’s get to the actual driving bit.
After driving the explosive EQS 53 AMG, I had some presumptions regarding the non-AMG version’s turn of speed and how incredible this supposedly everyday EV would feel, but it’s honestly quite something else to experience on our roads. The EQS is a heavy car, weighing in at nearly 2,600kg and let’s not forget it’s over 5.2 meters long. But when it is up to speed and you push the throttle pedal even with the slightest of prod, you realise you are in for something special. In a straight line the 580 picks up speed impressively and even though it may not reel in the horizon with the savagery of the AMG version, it doesn’t really need to.
The EQS 580 simply breezes through everyday speeds and it feels effortless no matter what speed you are doing in the city. There are drive modes, of course, with varied rates of urgency for throttle response and power output and amongst Eco, Comfort and Sport, the EQS feels at home in Comfort mode wherein you have more than enough power at your disposal and the throttle response is surprisingly mellow. The air suspension also becomes a lot more absorbent in Comfort for that pliant, cushy ride on poorly paved roads despite the large wheels. Another advantage of the air suspension is the ability to raise the ride height on the go if you happen to come across big speed bumps. The EQS is a long car though at low speeds it’s incredibly reactive and easy to manoeuvre thanks to the rear-axle steering with 10-degree steering angle adjustment.
Finally, the ARAI claimed range for the EQS 580 is 857km which makes it the longest-range EV currently in India. Realistically you are looking at 620 to 650km in real-world conditions, meaning range anxiety wouldn’t be an issue. That said, charging the 107.8kWh battery pack would take many, many hours if it isn’t for 200kW DC fast charging.
Should you buy it?
There are quite a few convincing reasons to buy the EQS 580 over petrol or a diesel-powered luxury sedan. Firstly, if you are looking to join the EV revolution with something high-end and capable then your options here in India are severely limited. There’s the Porsche Taycan and the Audi e-tron GT, both of which are considerably more expensive than the EQS 580. Secondly, and more importantly, the EQS 580 is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a luxury barge that’s fit for daily duties but give it enough room and I am sure it will not hesitate to annihilate the best of ICE sports cars out there. It’s nearly an AMG for a crore less and for that reason alone it’s worth considering.
Photos by Kaustubh Gandhi