Mercedes-Benz enters new era with the bold EQS electric sedan

A sideways on photo of the white Mercedes EQS
(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz AG)

Mercedes-Benz is making a big commitment to electrification. It currently has three pure EVs on the market, the compact EQA, the EQC SUV and the new Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan, shown here in the cavernous surroundings of Zurich’s new Halle 550 exhibition space, designed by Spillmann Echsle Architects. There’s also the forthcoming EQB seven-seater SUV and an electric version of Mercedes’ V-class van, the EQV.  While EQs A, B and C follow established car design principles, the EQS is way bolder, making the most of all-new electric underpinnings.

The next Mercedes-Benz EVs will deploy this platform to increasingly spectacular effect. Gorden Wagener has headed up Mercedes’ design team since 2008, becoming the company’s chief design officer in 2016, and the EQS is the culmination of a long-term design project, as well as the start of something new.

Mercedes-Benz EQS electric sedan

A photo of a white Mercedes-Benz EQS electric sedan inside a warehouse.

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz AG)

‘The design team helped define the new architecture, starting with our 2015 design vision, the F 015 Luxury in Motion concept car,’ says Wagener. ‘This provided an answer to pretty much everything – autonomy, digital connectivity, electric drive. We’ve tried to make that vision become reality with the EQS and the cars that will follow.’ 

Graphics of the Mercedes Benz EQS Luxury in Motion research vehicle

F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz AG)

A graphic of the inside of a Luxury in Motion research vehicle

The F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle from 2015 previewed many of the elements of Mercedes-Benz's new electric models

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz AG)

In some respects, the ultra-aerodynamic EQS goes head-to-head with the long-established flagship Mercedes S-Class range, the Sonderklasse (‘special class’) that has led the brand’s line-up since 1972. As the designer notes, ‘S-Class is the core of our brand, our most important product’. Over the decades, the S-Class has ushered in a host of automotive technologies that are now industry standard.

The baton is about to be passed. ‘We are in a transition phase right now,’ says Wagener. ‘We still have combustion cars and we’ve just launched a new S-Class with both combustion and hybrid models. The EQS stands next to the existing model – it’s not yet time to completely replace it.’

A photo of the EQS interior featuring a black leather seat and interactive dashboard.

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz AG)

In terms of design, the EQS offers impressive new levels of interior space. ‘The biggest challenges with electric cars are the height of the battery, which makes the body taller,’ Wagener explains. ‘The EQS has a long wheelbase and a decent wheel size, so there’s a good wheel-to-body relationship, which is so crucial on luxury cars.’ It incorporates that fine fluid line you saw on the F 015, with stretched windows and a roof line that creates an entirely new silhouette.

Inside, there is another paradigm shift, the MBUX Hyperscreen. Stretching door to door, this colossal display screen was a huge technical challenge. ‘The Hyperscreen came out of an early interior sketch. At that point, it was impossible to realise,’ says Wagener. ‘What I love so much about this company is that we made it a reality using our engineering skills. The Hyperscreen will change the industry – it’s so disruptive.’ 

A photo of the Mercedes Benz EQS interior overlooking the driver seat and dashboard. The interior is black with a leather seat. The dashboard feature a dashboard-wide display.

The EQS marks the debut of Mercedes-Benz's 'Hyperscreen', a dashboard-wide display 

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz AG)

Wagener believes that technology impacts on aesthetics, not just urban emissions and driving habits. ‘Technology fundamentally changes the look of the product,’ he says. ‘For me, it’s almost like the shift from steam trains to bullet trains.’  At the 2021 IAA Mobility Show in Munich, Mercedes unveiled the EQE sedan, in addition to new electric concepts from Mercedes-Maybach, Mercedes-AMG and Smart.

In 2022, it will reveal the Vision EQXX concept, which promises a range of around 1,000km. The company seems determined to ensure that aesthetics and innovation go hand in hand.

A front-facing photo of the white EQS car in an exhibition centre.

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz AG)


Mercedes-Benz EQS, from £99,995

The Mercedes-Benz EQS was shot in the grounds of the Halle 550 exhibition centre in Zurich

Photography courtesy of Mercedes-Benz AG

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.