Mercedes-Benz has been testing and teasing its Tesla Model S-fighting EQS all-electric luxury sedan for a long time now, and in a final step ahead of the full unveil has pulled the sheet off the wild new interior. Yes, the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS will have a dashboard-spanning “Hyperscreen” display, but that’s just one of many special options and features of this new EV flagship.
Two Dashboards to Chose From
The so-called Hyperscreen (of which we have a deep dive you should read if you haven’t), a 56-inch wide concave glass panel with three integrated OLED screens making up the entire dashboard, is the showstopper, but it’s not the only option. It’s actually an optional upgrade and you get a lot for your money—which is good because even though we don’t know the price yet, it can’t be cheap. The digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel portion measures 12.3 inches, as does a touchscreen in front of the front passenger. Between them is a massive 17.7-inch infotainment touchscreen. The passenger’s screen mimics the center screen and will play an animation when no passenger is aboard. It will also automatically dim if a camera mounted in the ceiling catches the driver looking at it instead of the road.
With no transmission to house, the Hyperscreen connects to the center armrest by an arched console with storage space below, an metal inlaid wood cover on top, and more touch sensitive controls for the stereo and driving modes surrounding a physical starter button.
Those who don’t fancy an all-glass cockpit, or paying for one, will get a standard dashboard very similar to the new 2021 S-Class. A freestanding 12.3-inch instrument cluster screen sits behind the steering wheel while a tablet-like 12.8-inch infotainment screen leans up from the center of the dash on a stand that runs down into the center console. The starter button moves back to the dashboard and the space in front of the passenger is occupied by either a massive piece of inlaid wood trim or one of two plastic trim pieces, one a 3D relief of a geometric pattern and one a pattern of laser-cut and backlit three-pointed stars. The beautifully crafted metal turbine air vents incorporated into either end of the Hyperscreen are relocated to the upper corners of the dashboard.
Regardless of dashboard, the screens run the next generation of MBUX software, and it’s loaded with features. The “Hey Mercedes” digital assistant is far smarter now and uses artificial intelligence technology to study your routines and suggest everything from turning on the seat and steering wheel heaters to phoning a friend you often speak with to pulling upcoming events from your calendar or to-do list. It will also bring up specific vehicle function controls when it thinks you need them, such as remembering where you’ve previously used the vehicle lift function to clear a speed bump or steep driveway and popping up the digital button when the obstacle is nearby.
The touchscreens also incorporate haptic feedback technology to vibrate the surface when you touch a digital button, and pressure sensors to allow you to press harder to go deeper into a menu.
Don’t Call It a Screen, but It Basically Is
Two optional head-up displays are offered, a small one and a large one. The larger one uses the same technology as the S-Class to project a 77-inch field of vision on the windshield ahead of the driver. Both use augmented reality technology to assist the driver with navigation and alerts.
Beyond the Screens
Also independent of your dashboard choice is a black band wrapping from door to door just above the screens which hides the center air vents and is accented by a rose gold pinstripe. Both on the dash and doors, it also serves as a dividing line for the two-tone color schemes, with darker colors on the dash top and door card tops and lighter colors below.
Ambient lighting abounds, hiding in seemingly every recess and able to change color manually or automatically to match your mood, the music, or signal a function. Wood is used sparingly in the cabin if you order the Hyperscreen, only showing up on the center console lid and on the door arm rests.
In addition to dashboards and color schemes, you also have option of two different seats in the front row. The comfort seat is standard, while a sport seat with integrated headrest is part of the AMG Line interior package. The seats and interior panels can be finished in natural leather or a vegan leather option with microfiber inserts.
The seat controls remain mounted on the upper door cards, but are now touch sensitive as in the S-Class. Powered rear seats are an option, as is rear seat heating and cooling.
What’s That Noise?
Every automaker has a different idea about what EVs should sound like. Some take to amplifying the natural noises of the electric motors and gearboxes, while others, including Mercedes, invent new noises from whole cloth. The EQS will come with two different sound profiles obnoxiously named Silver Waves and Vivid Flux, with the option of immediately downloading a third called Roaring Pulse via an over-the-air update.
All three sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, with Silver Waves calmer and softer, Vivid Flux techno and modern, and Roaring Pulse akin to a digital internal combustion engine. Rather than pre-recorded tracks, each is generated in real time depending on factors like your speed, accelerator and braking inputs, driving mode, and more. They can also be switched off entirely.
Even when not moving, the car will emit special noises to let you know it’s aware of your presence and your actions. A soft sound plays as you approach the car, different tones play when you turn the car on or off, and audible cues sound when you plug in or unplug.
Those driving sounds are played by the 710-watt 15-speaker Burmester audio system, which can pump out tunes from literally any streaming music service through MBUX, Mercedes says. It can also play relaxing sounds like the ocean, summer rain, or a forest.
Further relaxation can be had from the hot stone seat massagers, which can also be employed to help keep you awake. The overhead camera, along with light and temperature sensors, can work with the vehicle settings to guess your mood, level of distraction, and alertness and make suggestions to keep you happy, safe, and awake. There’s even a nap mode that’ll close the windows and sunroof cover, lean the seat back, play soothing sounds, display a starry night on the screens, adjusting the lighting, ionizing the interior air, then waking you up later with a combinations of lights, seat vibrations and ventilation, a scent, more soothing sounds, and raising the seat.
What’s That Smell?
Like other high-end Mercedes products, there’s a fragrance system built into the ventilation system and the EQS gets its own unique scent. There’s also a HEPA filter certified to remove over 99 percent of airborne particles, including 86 percent of viruses and 90 percent of bacteria.
What About the Outside?
Mercedes also dropped a few details about the still-camouflaged exterior of the car, which will be revealed on April 15. The styling is the latest evolution of the brand’s “Sensual Purity” design language, taking a step further to eliminate sharp character lines as much as possible.
The overall shape differs from other larger Mercedes sedans by taking a cab-forward approach that shortens the hood and trunk and moves the windshield forward. This maximizes passenger space, which should be huge in a car that’s roughly the size of the S-Class. The design is defined by the “One Bow” shape originally previewed on the F 015 Concept, with the top surface of the car one uninterrupted curve from front bumper to rear bumper.
This shape, along with crazy 19-inch wheels with a latticework of three-pointed stars between the five spokes, allowed the aerodynamics team to get a 0.20 coefficient of drag, which Mercedes is claiming beats both the Lucid Air and Tesla Model S for slipperiest in the world. If you don’t really care about that, wheel sizes go up to 22 inches.
Mercedes also revealed some of the details that liven up the exterior design, such as the 3D helix shapes in the taillights and the lightbar connecting the headlights. Without a combustion engine to cool, the grille has been replaced with a solid panel punctuated by a pattern of, you guessed it, three-pointed stars. Behind the panel are the various sensors needed for advanced driver aides like adaptive cruise control and lane centering.
What About the Rest of the Car?
Mercedes is keeping details about the car’s motors, batteries, suspension, pricing, and more a secret until the big reveal next month. We know it should have a maximum range over 400 miles on the lenient WLTP cycle, which translates to well over 300 miles on the stricter EPA cycle. We also know it will have a height-adjustable air suspension and we suspect it with have both front and rear motors for Tesla-fighting performance. Pricing is expected to come in well over $100,000.
Oh Yeah, What Are We Supposed to Call It?
This part is confusing and ridiculous. Mercedes-Benz decided to change how it names its various sub-brands several years ago from Mercedes-Benz AMG and Mercedes-Benz Maybach to Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes-Maybach (Mercedes-AMG S63 instead of Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, for example). This goes for the EQ sub-brand of EVs as well, which is officially Mercedes-EQ. However, Mercedes-EQ EQS sounds dumb and redundant, so Mercedes-Benz would prefer you just call it the EQS rather than try to make sense of this ridiculous naming convention.