Fast Take: 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQS 4MATIC+

The 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive has been tuned to lend a more rear-drive feel, and it’s a difference you notice right away when the going gets twisty.

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Adam Allen Writer -

Last summer, we spent a brief sojourn behind the wheel of the Mercedes Benz EQS 580 and came away suitably impressed, but we remarked “We hope that the EQ engineering team can take a walk down the hall at Mercedes HQ and ask the AMG guys and gals for some tips on how to make the EQS 580 more engaging to drive, at least for the inevitable AMG versions that will follow.” Little did we know that just such a situation was unfolding in Affalterbach- fast forward to Summer 2023 and lo and behold, a new EQS AMG sat glistening in the carpark, looking delightfully menacing wearing black metallic paint and massive 22” wheels. It may still have the bean-like profile as the 580, but man does this version ever look the business, and we don’t say that about EVs, well, ever.

We genuinely felt the EQS 580 was great overall after some seat time, but we left feeling a little underwhelmed by its driving dynamics. That’s not a problem for those who want to use their EQ the way they would a gasoline powered S-Class, wafting along in serene comfort and luxury from point A to point B. Such owners would happily cruise the highways and city streets ensconced in the same comfort they have come to expect from Benz’s flagship.

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In the same way an S63 represents the hottest S-Class, so too does the EQS AMG. With that explained, the most obvious difference when upgrading from the 580 is power. We would never refer to the 580 as flat footed, but unsurprisingly the AMG version makes it feel pokier when driven back-to-back. Whereas the 580 mustered 516 horsepower, the AMG doles out 649 ponies and when you activate launch control, it allows an extra 102 feisty filly’s out of the paddock which unlocks a trip to 100 km/h in a scalding 3 seconds flat. That’s enough accelerative force to cause your passengers mild discomfort, but it’s worth noting that it’s off the pace of the speediest EVs on sale, namely the Porsche Taycan Turbo S. You also get less range than the 580, a sacrifice you must make for all the extra oomph, but it still provides 446 kilometers of driving and can charge up slightly faster than its non-AMG counterpart as well.

Another area that sets the AMG apart from the 580 is general driving dynamics. It steers with more precision and scrubs off speed faster and with more confidence. The 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive has been tuned to lend a more rear-drive feel, and it’s a difference you notice right away when the going gets twisty. Helping achieve that agility is expertly tuned air suspension and four-wheel steering, the latter of which feels vastly more natural then the 580’s setup. It all adds up to a driving experience that feels more precise and engaging, as an AMG should.

If there’s one area where the lines between the EQS 580 and AMG are blurred, it’s where the interior is concerned. Sure, there are AMG badges and carbon fiber flourishes sprinkled throughout, but the basic cocoon of leather and fine stitching remains a constant between the two, so they look and feel similar. The Hyperscreen still gets most of the attention, and it should, considering it spans the entire dash- our tester even had a dedicated screen for the passenger riding shotgun. Shout-outs must be given towards the excellent Burmester sound system and the seats, which will expertly cool, heat or massage your derrière depending on how you see fit. It is also an exceptionally quiet place to while away the kilometers- if you want to summon synthetic, spacey sounds there’s a few to choose from, although why you’d mess with the decadent silence is lost on us.

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There’s one thing we didn’t much care for that we noticed when driving the EQS 580, and that was the ‘phantom’ brake pedal that moved on its own depending on the level of regenerative braking you’ve selected. Since we like one pedal driving and the maximum level of regeneration possible needed to accommodate that, the wonky brake pedal felt more pronounced. Unfortunately, this quirk doesn’t disappear with the upgrade to AMG trim. And call us gluttons for power, but we thought the AMG version would feel just a little bit rawer, and perhaps even quicker.

Normally, this is the part where we impart our expert consumer advice and tell you which of the two models is better to get. The pragmatists that exist within us push for the EQS 580 since it is almost as nice as the AMG despite being a little slower- but it does have more range than the AMG. We would stick to that advice had we not driven the AMG version, which offers a much more rewarding driving experience. Both are great cars, but we think the AMG takes the win- drive ‘em both and let us know if you agree.

2023 Mercedes-AMG EQS 4MATIC+ - Specifications

  • Price as tested: $198,030
  • Body Type: 4-door, 5 passenger sedan
  • Powertrain Layout: Front and Rear Electric Motors/All-Wheel Drive
  • Power Source: FRONT- permanent-magnet synchronous AC
  • Power Source: REAR- permanent-magnet synchronous AC
  • Battery Capacity/Type: 107.8-kWh lithium-ion
  • Total Horsepower: 751 @ 0 rpm
  • Total Torque (lb-ft.): 752 @ 0 rpm
  • Transmission: 1-speed direct drive
  • Curb weight: 2,681 kg (5,911 lbs)
  • Observed Energy Economy: 16.2kWh/100km
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