Behold the future of electrified luxury. Or is that luxurious electrification? The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS concept, which is coming out to the world at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show, is a potential preview of what a range-topping Benz EV sedan of the not-too-distant future could be. It’s a concept that the automaker says makes “a clear statement for the continuation of driver-controlled vehicles” but which can nevertheless take over during commutes when its drivers would perhaps prefer to day-trade puppies, carve crystal panflutes, hate-watch America’s Next Top Trillionaire, or whatever they’re into.
Mercedes is in the process of building up its electrified EQ sub-brand—it currently only encompasses the EQC crossover, unless you count the EQ-branded Smarts—and a production version of the EQS would make for a proper flagship given that it’s packed with sumptuous materials and state-of-the-art technology. The concept’s yacht-inspired interior features a dashboard meant to resemble a boat deck, not only in its aesthetics but also in the way it blends with the body itself. As such, the clean, pinstriped dash of the Vision EQS is seemingly marked only by an octet of vertical air vents, but it can also serve as a giant palette for digital information across its entire surface. In addition, a central control screen is joined by a smaller, similar screen in the door panels for individual controls.
The materials chosen to line the interior of the Vision EQS Concept are said to be largely sustainable. Seats are upholstered in white microfiber made from recycled plastic bottles and trimmed with rose-gold stitching, artificial leather is applied to the door sills, and the headliner is crafted from a material that incorporates plastics plucked from the oceans for recycling. In addition, the speaker covers are finished in rose gold and sustainable maple from managed German forests is used for the wood trim.
As for the car’s chassis and mechanicals, it sits on Mercedes’ EVA2 electric-vehicle platform, which will underpin EVs roughly the size of the E-Class and larger. Steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber are all used in the structure. Massive, 24-inch multi-spoke wheels sit at the corners, and they’re fed power by an electric motor at each axle. Those motors sip electrons from a 100-kW-hr battery pack and produce a total system output of 469 horsepower and 560 lb-ft of torque, helping propel its curvaceous self to 60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds. Driving range is cited as up to 435 miles on Europe’s WLTP standard, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 375 miles on the EPA’s cycle. That’s a very impressive range number, but it remains to be seen if a production model would record something similar. Replenishing the batteries to an 80 percent state of charge takes less than 20 minutes when connected to a 350-kW charger, or a lot longer with a lower-output station.
As mentioned, Mercedes boasts that the Vision EQS Concept has autonomous capabilities, in this case Level 3, although Mercedes says the car’s sensors are modular and could therefore be replaced and upgraded to eventually enable full autonomy.
Lights play a key role in fostering the concept’s futuristic vibe, too, including a 360-degree “light belt” that encircles the body. Indeed, the Vision EQS is all about ambient light to the extreme: All four headrests and seatbacks are traced by electric-blue lights, and the large Mercedes logo up front glows within a digital panel marked by what appears to be a thousand points of three-dimensional, three-pointed light (in actuality there are 188 LEDs). The headlamps are holographic units that each feature 500 LEDs and a quartet of lenses that spin at more than 2,000 rpm to create a three-dimensional light effect that Mercedes says can be used to communicate data or signals to other vehicles, while the brake lights are formed by 229 individual three-pointed openings.
The Mercedes-Benz Vision EQS Concept is yet more rolling evidence that mainstream luxury automakers are finally getting serious about battling Tesla for dominance of the high end-EV space. Currently available models such as the Audi e-tron, Porsche Taycan, and Mercedes’ own EQC are just the tip of the spear, and cars like the EQS are only going to fortify the offensive. If the production EQS turns out to be anything like this concept—especially from the range perspective—then the future of electrified luxury is looking bright indeed.