How the $103,000 Mercedes-Benz EQS stacks up against Tesla’s Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid and Mercedes-Benz EQS
The Tesla Model S (above) and Mercedes-Benz EQS. Tesla; Mercedes-Benz
  • The Mercedes-Benz EQS, the automaker’s answer to the Tesla Model S, hits dealerships soon.
  • It starts at around $US103,000 ($AU142,241), but fancier trims cost upward of $US126,000 ($AU174,003).
  • Here’s how it compares to the Model S in terms of range, pricing, performance, and more.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

For years, the Tesla Model S was the only option for dentists and other deep-pocketed folks in the market for a fancy electric sedan. Not anymore.

Today that premium electric car segment is getting increasingly crowded. The Porsche Taycan has been a hit. Its cousin, the Audi E-Tron GT, went on sale earlier this year. And the Air, the first vehicle from startup Lucid, should be coming soon.

Now Mercedes-Benz, luxury-sedan royalty, is joining the party with a battery-powered version of its flagship S Class. It’s called the EQS, and it hits dealerships later in 2021.

Here’s how it stacks up on paper to its biggest rival, the Model S:

Range and charging

Mercedes says the EQS is rated for up to 487 miles of range according to the more liberal European standard for testing EVs. The US Environmental Protection Agency will likely place it somewhere closer to 400 miles.

Mercedes EQS
EQS. Mercedes-Benz

The Model S Long Range can travel 405 miles (652km) on a full battery, according to the EPA. The more expensive, high-performance Model S Plaid gets an official rating of 396 miles (637km).

Both the EQS and Model S can add battery range very quickly, faster than many EVs on sale today. The Model S can charge at a rate of 250 kw, meaning it can add 200 miles (322km) of range in around 15 minutes. The EQS tops out at 200 kw and claims to absorb 186 miles (299km) worth of energy in the same time span.

Performance

The Model S is wickedly quick in its base form, promising a 0-60-mph time of 3.1 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph (249km/h). The Model S Plaid steps things up several notches. It delivers a rated 1,020 horsepower from three motors and claims to hit 60 mph (97km/h) in under two seconds, placing it firmly in supercar territory.

Tesla Model S Plaid sedan
Model S Plaid. Tesla

The EQS 450+ promises to crank out 328 horsepower and 419 pound (190kg)-feet of torque. The 580 4Matic boasts 516 horsepower and a whopping 631 pound (286kg)-feet of torque. Acceleration is accordingly snappy at 4.1 seconds to 60 mph (97km/h).

Interior

Tesla was the first to use a giant touchscreen instead of manual buttons. Other automakers have taken that idea and run with it.

Mercedes EQS
EQS interior. Mercedes-Benz

The latest Model S sports a large landscape-oriented touchscreen in the middle, along with two smaller displays: one in front of the driver and one for the rear passengers. The EQS 580 gets a positively massive “Hyperscreen” that stretches the width of the dash. It’s actually one large screen flanked by two smaller ones.

The EQS 450+ comes with a comparatively modest 12.8-inch (33cm) display but can be optioned with the aforementioned 56-incher.

Overall, the sedans’ interiors are nothing alike. Inside, the EQS isn’t sparse or minimal like Teslas are. Instead, it’s filled with the wood accents, quilted leather, and glittering buttons you’d expect in a flagship Merc.

Price

The EQS, Mercedes announced Tuesday, will start at $US103,360 ($AU142,738), making it cheaper than the base gas-powered S Class. That’s for the EQS 450+ Premium model. I’ll spare you all the confounding model names in the middle of the pack, and note that the top-of-the-line EQS 580 4Matic Pinnacle starts at just over $US126,000 ($AU174,003).

The base price of the Model S changes regularly, but right now it’s $US90,000 ($AU124,288). The Plaid edition, the quickest production car you can buy, starts at $US130,000 ($AU179,527).

One advantage of buying the EQS: It’s still eligible for the $US7,500 ($AU10,357) federal tax credit for new-EV purchases, unlike Tesla.