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Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better?

Arvind · Oct 14, 2023 02:00 PM

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 01

Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once said, “Moderation is a fatal thing, nothing succeeds like excess”, and perhaps today, you can never have too much wealth, too many houses or too much edible gold in your food.

As long as you have the money, our modern society will show you how to spend it!

The 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+, to give it its full name, takes a regular EQS, if you can call it that, and gives it more power, sportier looks, and sharper handling – if you so desire that excess.

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Also read: 2023 Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ launched in Malaysia, from RM 798k, 658 PS/950 Nm

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 01

Essentially, the concept is not new. Mercedes-Benz has a long lineage of powerful, uber-luxury limousines stretching back to the Mercedes-Benz 600 ‘Grosser’ of the early-60s. And in the years that followed, with icons such as the (W140) S600, and many other V8- and V12-powered beasts that have led to the EQS 53 - a flagship full-sized sedan for the electrified age.

However, traditionally at least, Merc’s big-power limos used that power to elevate the experience by providing effortless pace and stability, whilst enveloped in luxury. In the same vein, does EQS 53 provide the same heightened luxury experience, or does excess of power, sometimes become unnecessary? Let’s drive.

Overview

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The Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+, was launched alongside the smaller Mercedes-AMG EQE 53 4Matic+ in June 2023.

Fully imported (CBU) from Germany, the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53 4Matic+ is priced at RM 798,888 inclusive of the AMG Dynamic Package. The EQS 53 carries a circa RM 150k premium over the regular locally-assembled (CKD) Mercedes-Benz EQS 500 4Matic which starts from RM 648,888.

Also read: For RM 150k more than the EQS 500, what do you get on the Mercedes-AMG EQS 53?

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 03

Headlining the Affalterbach (AMG) upgrades are a pair of more powerful permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) on the front and rear axle respectively that produce a whopping 761 PS and 1,020 Nm (with the AMG Dynamic Package) some 312 PS and 192 Nm more than the EQS 500.

The base EQS 53 variant, without the Dynamic Package outputs 658 PS and 950 Nm but take note this variant is not sold in Malaysia.

Overview: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 53 4Matic+ EV
Price RM 798,888
Segment Full-size luxury
Powertrain Dual-motor AWD
Battery capacity 108.4 kWh
Charging 11 kW AC, 200 kW DC (CCS2)
Range Up to 571 km
`Power 761 PS
Torque 1,020 Nm
0-100 Km/h 3.40 seconds (as tested)
Origin CBU, Germany

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 04

Alongside, the EQS 53 receives the fully variable AMG Performance 4Matic+ all-wheel drive (AWD) system, AMG Ride Control+ air suspension system, high-performance composite braking system, and the AMG Sound Experience which emits a “powerful, sonorous sound” on this otherwise, whisper quiet EV.

Juicing up the potent EQS is a 400-volt lithium-ion battery with a usable content of 108.4 kWh (up 0.4 kWh over the EQS 500). Mercedes claims the EQS 53 will take 31 minutes charge to charge from 10- to 80 percent via a 200 kW DC fast charger. Under the WLTP cycle, the EQS 53 has a range of up to 571 km from a full charge.

Also read: Review: Mercedes-Benz EQS 500 4Matic: Close but no cigar

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 05

Aesthetically, the EQS 53 ups the ante with the AMG exterior package consisting of reprofiled front splitter elements with air curtains, a new rear apron with longitudinal fins, and a larger rear spoiler. Elsewhere, the EQS 53 also gets 21-inch AMG cross-spoke light alloy wheels and red-painted brake callipers.

The AMG additions continue inside with AMG sports seats made out of Artico leather, a Nappa leather flat-bottomed AMG steering wheel, sports pedals, as well as AMG floor mats and door sill trims.

Rivals

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 06

At the EQS 53’s circa-RM 800k pricetag, there is an option from every German stable:

  • BMW i7 xDrive60 M Sport: 544 PS/795 Nm, RM 729,800
  • Porsche Taycan GTS: 598 PS/850 Nm, RM 765,000
  • Audi RS E-Tron GT: 598 PS/830 Nm, RM 793,790

Thus, if you are looking large executive EV sedan, there is no shortage of options, but note the EQS 53 is easily the most powerful of this lot and with a claimed range of 571 km, it’s second best behind the BMW i7 which claims a maximum 615 km on a full charge.

Also read: Report: Future Mercedes-Benz EVs will not be called EQ anymore

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 07

The RS E-Tron GT and Taycan GTS offer a max driving range of 495 km and 504 km respectively.

Exterior - Stellar looking and it comes in black

The expression ‘looks like a million bucks’ couldn’t be more apt for the EQS 53.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 08

Big Mercs just look beautiful in black and with the tasteful styling additions, most noticeably, the deep front air inlets at the edges of the bumper vertical slats on the front grille. Next up are the technical-looking 21-inch wheels which give the EQS 53 a dominant look.

Overall, the styling bits courtesy of the AMG styling package are subtle yet purposeful, so it largely retains the natural elegance of the EQS’ flowing bodylines whilst still managing to look more aggressive than the EQS 500.

Also Read: Review: 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ in Malaysia - The best luxury EV yet

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 09

Round the back, the slightly larger spoiler and model emblems are the only tell tales of the power that hides underneath.

Given the EQS has already been around a while, its “cab-forward fastback design”, it is safe to say it has aged beautifully and the EQS 53 should be no different.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 10

Personally, the EQS 53 and Audi RS E-Tron GT are at the very top totem pole in terms of styling for me, offering genuine exclusivity and showstopping presence wherever they go, albeit whilst arriving quietly.

Interior  - More expensive, but not better than the EQS 500

When we tested the EQS 450 last year, we utterly loved its beautiful design overall execution, and sublime technology offerings. We even said that it possibly is the most beautiful interior we’ve reviewed all year. So, for starters, it set a very high benchmark to beat.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 11

Starting with the positives, the interior remains gorgeous – the overall ergonomics are spot on, and courtesy of the AMG sports seats, you are immediately sat low within the cabin, behind the beautiful and purposeful AMG steering wheel.

Though littered with control buttons, everything is within easy reach, and with paddle shifters just behind (for brake recuperation settings) and the drive mode selector at the lower left side, all driving controls are right where you need them.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 12

Being a bonafide AMG model, the EQS 53 receives carbon trim around the cabin, as well as red stitching on the seats, dashboard and door panels. Beyond giving the interior a sporty appearance, I appreciate it’s tastefully done, and doesn't look too tacky.

Elsewhere, the MBUX Hyperscreen, stretching from A-pillar to A-pillar, remains a sublime party piece. Now with AMG-specific displays in the EQS 53, the three OLED displays merge to create a superb interactive experience for passengers courtesy of easy-to-navigate UI with great graphics.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 13

Now on the downsides, well they aren’t so much downsides, just that I believe the EQS 500 just does it better; and this ties in with the overarching theme of whether the EQS 53 is the right car for you.

Now courtesy of the AMG interior package, you get body-hugging and sculptured seats up front, which look stellar, but they aren’t as comfortable as those of the EQS 500, plus, you also lose out on those supple neck pillows which absolutely take seating comfort to the next level.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 14

Round the back, it is much the same with hard seat padding, and upright backrests which put a strain on your lower back on longer journeys. Now there’s likely not much difference in the seat angle with the EQS 500, but the more comfort-oriented non-AMG seats are supple and soft, so you are enveloped in greater comfort over longer periods.

Then there’s the fact that you lose out on the rear entertainment screens and tablet controller in the centre armrest. So, you gain sporty seats and carbon bits from the AMG pack but lose out on quite a bit of the top-shelf equipment that the EQS 500 offers. 

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 15

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 16

Compared to the EQS 53 (above), the EQS 500 offers rear seat entertainment screens and plusher seats, which are important in a luxury EV sedan

Thus unfortunately, whilst the EQS 53 is more expensive, the EQS 500 feels more special, and luxurious on the inside.

Given it's a Mercedes-Benz, in terms of cabin insulation, the EQS 53 delivers library levels of refinement which are almost identical to the EQS 500.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 53 - Cabin noise level
60 km/h 53 dB
90 km/h 57 dB
110 km/h 61 dB

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 17

Although the EQS 53 has a higher drag coefficient, at 0.23 cd versus the EQS 500’s 0.20 cd – it still dices through the air, thus there is nigh-on zero wind noise even at highway speeds. 

We did note, however, some tyre noise trickling in above speeds of 110 km/h but for the most part, it's unintrusive.

Driving Experience - Bonafide Bahnstormer, but in the corners...

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 18

With 761 PS and enough torque to move a small island, you'd think it easy to determine the EQS 53 to be a stellar driving machine, or at least better than the EQS 500, simply on account of its power. 

However, for it to be a true AMG, it's about how the sum of parts come together to create a cohesive and exhilarating driving experience, which is why the EQS 53 is a bit of a mixed bag. 

Also read: Tengku Zafrul: 15% of TIV for electrified vehicles by 2030, more EV-related incentives to come

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 19

Now, make no mistake, the EQS 53 is blisteringly quick. During our internal tests, the EQS delivered a best time of 3.4 seconds for the century sprint, tying it with the Mercedes-AMG E63S and Audi RS E-Tron GT as the three fastest times ever recorded by WapCar.

Push that right pedal down and the EQS 53 will surge out of the blocks with brutal effectiveness, and keep accelerating well into three-figure speeds. How fast will it go? Well, let's just say the claimed max speed (of 220 km/h), isn't really the max speed.

Plus, given the interior cocoons you from the outside world, most times you will mistake 140 km/h for 110 km/h whilst on the highway. 

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 20

Pedal modulation is superb, both on the accelerator and brakes, with ample pedal travel, it gives the driver ease in extracting just how much acceleration or deceleration is needed regardless if you are blasting down and B-road or just ambling through traffic. Energy recuperation is likewise well-modulated as well.

Energy Consumption - Eats up the miles, efficiently

At 108.4 kWh, the EQS 53 offers one of the biggest batteries of any EV on sale currently and claims a max range of up to 571 km.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 21

On our typical energy consumption test, starting with 80 percent SOC, the EQS 53 covered 104 km with a general 50/50 split between highway and inner-city travel. It subsequently required 24.65 kWh to recharge to 80 percent SOC, delivering an average energy efficiency of 23.70 kWh/100 km, figures that are equalled that of the EQS 450 at 23.9 kWh/100 km.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 22

However, note that driving conditions were different during the latter’s test. The EQS 53 was driven during a holiday season with less traffic, thus delivering better results. Though with more enthusiastic driving, we noted figures closer to 29-30 kWh/100 km from the car’s telemetry.

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 23

Average efficiency read 19.2 kWh/100 km according to the car's telemetry with conservative driving

On a separate journey, the EQS 53 managed a one-way trip from Desaru to KL, on a single charge. Starting with a 100 percent charge, the EQS 53 completed the 394 km journey with 30 percent SOC left to spare. So whilst it is massively powerful, the EQS 53 is also an EV that is efficient. 

That overall efficiency (even given its weight), comes down to how impressively the EQS 53 manages sustained highway driving. 

Also read: Mercedes-Benz says battery EVs still superior, not interested in e-fuels

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 24

In practice, most EVs flaunt big power numbers, but during sustained high-speed driving; most start to eat through the battery capacity and feel fatigued after a while - the EQS 53 just feels right at home. 

Most of this is down to the beautifully geared AMG-specific electric motors on the front and rear axles. The rear motor in particular features a unique stator design, fortified windings and stronger currents for more power. Elsewhere, it has upgraded thermal management of the motor which features a 'water-lance' that directly cools the shaft of the rotor. 

Thus, the EQS 53 is every bit the Bahn-stormer any AMG limo should be, but where it falls off slightly, is in the overall driving experience. 

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 25

In short, whilst we do not subtract anything from the sublime ride quality, the EQS 53 still feels like a luxury car that's been 'roided-up' to become a sports sedan. 

At its core, the chassis still feels comfort-biased, with lots of compliance built into it, thus the body is slow to react to steering inputs, especially during quick direction changes, plus there's no hiding the car's circa 2.6-tonne kerb weight (yes, about the weight of a small lorry) going into a fast bend. 

Opting for the Sport or Sport+ modes sharpens things up considerably (and makes a cool synthesized sound too) but given the size of the vehicle, it's tough to build confidence with the car despite the impressive grip levels. 

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 26

Thus, the harder you push the EQS 53 into a series of corners, the more it feels unnatural and contrived things become, which subsequently makes you want to dial things down a notch. 

With that said, it is also unlikely that most EQS 53 owners will be blasting up Genting Highlands every Sunday morning, as opposed to being valet-parked at Pavillion Bukit Bintang for a spot of coffee. In which case, why not just get the EQS 500?

Conclusion - If you have the money, why not?

Given the stakes (and price) of the EQS 53, perhaps the ultimate question to answer is - is it truly an AMG?

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 27

For the most part yes, it is monstrous in a straight line, it looks sublime, and is a technological powerhouse. I'd even go as far as saying it's the best long-distance EV given its range and prowess at sustained high-speed cruising. 

However, if you are looking for more focused driving exhilaration, you'd be better off with the Porsche Taycan GTS or an Audi RS E-Tron GT for the same money.

Though both offer less power and less range than the EQS 53, both feature brilliant chassis and 800V powertrains which are exceptional to drive as well, especially if a quick B-road blast or track day is your thing. 

Review: Mercedes-AMG EQS 53: When excess is not enough, does more power make it better? 28

However, this does not discount that the EQS 500 is perfectly positioned as an uber-luxury EV that offers more range, a stunning interior, and with 449 PS and 828 Nm, a powertrain that can hardly be called slow. 

That said, we still adore the EQS 53 for its concept and spirit of innovation that points to the future of big, fast Mercs in the electrified age. Thus if you can blow money on the EQS 53 anyway and take advantage of its tax free price offering, then maybe excess is right up your alley.

Arvind

Senior Writer

Arvind can't remember a time when he didn't wheel around a HotWheels car. This love evolved into an interest in Tamiya and RC cars and finally the real deal 1:1 scale stuff. Passion finally lead to formal training in Mechanical Engineering. Instead of the bigger picture, he obsesses with the final drive ratio and spring rates of cars and spends the weekends wondering why a Perodua Myvi is so fast.

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