One Drive in the Mercedes-Benz EQS Has Me Buying Into This ‘Car as an Experience’ Thing

One Drive in the Mercedes-Benz EQS Has Me Buying Into This ‘Car as an Experience’ Thing

Mercedes-Benz has just brought two new electric SUVs to the Australian market: The EQE and the EQS. While both cars are definitely on the more luxury end of the electric vehicle scale, they both point to the future of mobility and the driving experience.

I recently got to experience both cars during a trip to Melbourne to do a deep-dive into Apple Spatial Audio (I’ll explain in a second), so I thought I’d share my experience of the Mercedes-Benz EQS with you, even just so you can join me in window shopping.

Mercedes-Benz EQS
Hi. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Mercedes-Benz EQS Electric SUV

The Mercedes-Benz EQS is $194,000 (plus)-worth of car. It’s nothing short of gorgeous. It has space for seven, and not in a way that some SUVs appear van-like, with the large car not really looking like it takes up five whole metres.

The EQS has a 12.3-inch driver display, OLED central display, a heads-up display for the driver, MBUX AR for navigation, active distance assist, active lane-keeping, break, blind spot, and steering assist, electric seats in the second row – literally all of the bells and whistles you’d expect. In fact, Mercedes-Benz is marketing the EQE and EQS as boasting “an incredible array of driver assistance systems that offer incredible safety features”.

A more than decent range

With the Mercedes-Benz EQS, you’ll get just shy of 600 kms of range (592 kms), with a capacity of up to 22 kilowatts. Via DC charging, the car can go from 10 per cent to 80 per cent charge in about half an hour. Mercedes-Benz EVs of course also let the driver remotely monitor the range via an app.

We drove the EQS from Melbourne CBD down to the Mornington Peninsula, then for a little fun lap around the countryside, and then the car took us to the airport (with a driver, not by itself). It was then heading back to the Merc homebase and the EQS could’ve done that a few more times before needing more juice.

Mercedes-Benz EQS
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Not just a car, but an experience

At Gizmodo Australia, we’ve been trying to fight against the fact all carmakers are now making it less about the driving and more about the “experience”. It’s only really after sitting inside the Mercedes-Benz EQS that I can understand why that’s so important.

Inside the Mercedes-Benz EQS is a 710-watt, 15-speaker Bermester sound system that, especially considering the car is quiet as a mouse and boasts acoustic glass, sounds like I’m sitting in my loungeroom listening to music through my TV’s sound system. The EQS and EQE are the first things outside of Apple devices to be fitted with Apple Spatial Audio capabilities. That means while you’re driving, songs will consume you from all directions. Subwoofers are in the chassis, there’s bass in the front, a centre-field speaker in the middle of the dash, two in each door, and the rest around the rear. I should’ve been paying attention to the rest of the car, but how impressive this sounded consumed me.

The lighting in the interior can change to suit your mood, or the mode in which the car is in, on that, pressing a button on the dash to shift things into sport mode was a shock for my pal driving at the time – I didn’t experience this, but he did ask me to switch it back and to stop fiddling with the dash. It’s a fun car for the front passenger – not just because you can feel the bass through your feet. I also thoroughly enjoyed changing the interior sound experience (‘Roaring Pulse’ was fun).

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The real-wheel drive gave it more than enough guts to tackle the Peninsula’s windy roads and the suspension made the transition to dirt nearly unnoticeable. And while I am a big advocate for making real leather a thing of the past, I did appreciate how comfortable the seats were.

Despite the car fitting seven, there’s plenty of room in the front passenger, and middle rows. It gets a little tight in the back, but I’m 156 cms and I was not super comfortable, but I was fine. Children would be loving life.

Mercedes-Benz EQS
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The Mercedes-Benz EQS isn’t for me

Look, there’s no point harping on about the fact the Mercedes-Benz EQS isn’t exactly an affordable first EV. It doesn’t play in the same space as say the MG4 XPOWER or the Tesla Model 3. But it doesn’t try to, either.

Mercedes-Benz has always made cars for people that know they’re about to spend over $100,000 on a car and there’s no point us treating it like it’s not the case.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The Mercedes-Benz EQS was probably the most comfortable, quiet, and reliable car I’ve ever been in and the sound system elevated this experience even more. At the end of the day, if you’re looking at getting an EQS, you’re buying the badge that is Mercedes-Benz and with that comes an exceptional experience and a luxury drive.

Asha Barbaschow travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Apple. This article has been updated to reflect the car was returning to Merc HQ, not Gizmodo’s, and that the characterisation of ‘half a dozen more times’ has reflected a more accurate ‘few more times’.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia.

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