While the gathered motor press was invited down to Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow to get a first drive of the new EQE and EQS, the car brand’s bosses used the opportunity to reveal the German giant’s plans for the coming years.
There was a lot to take in, and I’m not just talking about the €12k add-on they call their ‘hyperscreen’, which is nothing short of remarkable.
Before I got to ogle that though there was the small issue of the company’s transformation into a leading light in terms of electrification and sustainability.
Their ‘Ambition 2039’ path to CO2-neutrality sets a very high standard for their competitors and has seen the company engaging with all 2000 of its global suppliers to commit to similar carbon-neutrality plans. To date they have 50 percent uptake!
They will also be all-electric by the end of the 2020s also, which comes after a slow start into the EV sphere. They currently have six EVs on the market with two more available by Q1 2023. And by 2024 there will be the much-anticipated EQXX that has over 1000km in the range.
Okay…so enough about the future. Let’s talk about the now. Two of the company’s most popular saloons now come with a full-electric variant in the form of EQE and EQS.
If the naming conventions on the ever-increasingly fleet of cars is confusing they would like you all to know that ‘EQ’ will now be operating as a mini-brand and indicates the electrification of each model.
Bringing me seamlessly to the EQE, which will no doubt be one of the company’s biggest sellers in the coming years. With the popularity of the E-Class remaining consistent for decades, the inevitability of an electric version has been received well, but will it coax loyal drivers away from combustion powertrains? In a word…yes.
My test car for the short drive around the Wicklow mountains was in 350 model and comes in at just under €85k which is a lot of cash, but in today’s EV market it’s not as dramatic as you might think. Plus, when the 300 model lands in Ireland it will obviously come with a smaller asking price.
It is fully loaded with high-end tech and safety features and the comfort levels are immense. It’s teardrop-shape is combined with door handles that sit flush inside the slippery bodywork, smooth body panels and special wheel designs, which help the drag coefficient of the vehicle.
The seating position seems higher than a standard E-Class, but feels lower than the EQS although when we get full test drives later in the season we will confirm this. The cabin is roomy and offers enough space for four adults comfortably and a fifth at a squeeze.
It comes with a 636km range which automatically catapults it over most of its competitors and the 350+ model that I drove boasts 292 bhp. Which is very impressive if you can afford the €86k asking price.
Plus, it is not as eye-watering as the EQS which is priced around the €130k mark.
The executive saloon also adopts this new tear drop design but is bigger in every element. That means the designers were able to fit in more battery which means that despite being heavier it comes with an expected range of 730km and has 330bhp at your disposal.
And can we just take a moment to appreciate the gigantically gorgeous hyperscreen (pictured) that is an add-on option?
It takes a lot to wow us cynical motor journalists but judging by the action on social media this week, I can conform that it is the big talking point about the new cars. Mercedes has sold 39 S Class cars already this year and 17 EQS (although I can’t confirm whether or not they had the hyperscreen installed) but it is clear there is a small market out there for this.
And having been lucky enough to get a short go earlier this week I can see why.