What's Ahead for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS (2024)

  • Here's what we know so far: The Mercedes-Benz EQS gets a facelift and switches to a faster-charging 800-volt architecture late next year.
  • An all-new, more conventionally styled, and roomier EQS replacement is due in early 2028.
  • The S-class luxury sedan and its Maybach spinoff are to undergo two updates before eventually retiring in 2033.

The keepers of the three-pointed star once proclaimed the goal of Electric Only. Now, though, in the wake of a slowdown of EV adoption in major Western markets, the new mission is Electric First. And Mercedes is not alone. Although the European Parliament just confirmed its decision to end sales of new combustion-engine passenger cars in 2035, China, now the world's largest market for luxury automobiles, has extended the internal-combustion-engine grace period to 2060 (but this applies only to alternative combustibles such as hydrogen, biofuels, and synthetic renewables). As a result, Mercedes will likely continue building internal-combustion engines for decades to come.

In a parallel move, the Germans are also going to pull out all the stops to consolidate their leading position in the luxury segment. The plan includes boosting the Manufaktur division, which is expected lift personalization to a new level, the further evolution of the Maybach brand, and a major push to AMG, which is readying a bunch of fully electric Porsche fighters.

EQS Updates and Changes

The Mercedes-Benz standard bearer in the luxury-sedan field is of course the S-class, now in its seventh generation and still going strong. The electric version, the EQS, has struggled to keep up. This battery-powered, low-drag pioneer is a nice first try—and was the first home of the Hyperscreen and other digital wizardries—but it misses the 10-out-of-10 mark in several important areas, including looks, packaging, and driver appeal. There are fixes underway, but they can only cure symptoms, not right the essential wrong.

In a few months, a minor update will introduce more comfortable Executive rear seats, a more prestigious triple-bar black panel grille, and a more potent 118.0-kWh battery. Late next year, the electric sedan will get an update from the 400-volt to an 800-volt system, which should yield faster charging and greater range. Other means to this end include a swap from Valeo e-motors to Merc's own eATS 2.0 units, a more relaxed rev-cutting two-speed transmission, and the more efficient cell chemistry of the smaller MMA components set that underpins the new CLA.

Originally, Mercedes had intended to replace the EQS and the S-class in 2028 with a joint all-new, fully electric model. But the market seems to have other ideas. The EQS still needs to retire in four years and will be replaced by a completely new design that revives the traditional three-box sedan proportions. Like the BMW i7, it will reportedly boast a five-star rear passenger compartment with all the trimmings and then some. Like a Bentley, its interior blends digital must-haves with authentic materials and real craftsmanship for top-notch perceived quality. Like a Rolls, it can be bespoke from bottom to top.

Mercedes also intends to personalize the light and sound experience, make adaptive multi-chamber seating available, and reintroduce buttons, knobs, and switches for the most essential functions. Chief interior designer Hartmut Sinkwitz comments: "Intuitive ergonomics will return, but I'm not saying analog is the new digital. Instead, we are going to offer the customers the best of both worlds."

"The follow-up [EQS] model needs to underpromise and overdeliver, or even newcomers like Lucid and Yangwang will eat us for breakfast."—Anonymous source

Dubbed V580, the next EQS is based on MB.EA-L, the largest format of the brand's new electric architecture, which will make its debut in the 2026 GLC. All MB.EA products will feature a new grille inspired by the more upright proportions that were an untouchable Mercedes trademark for decades. The three-pointed star is also looming larger than ever, be it on the hood, in the grille, or as a stylized multi-mode front and rear light element. A source who must remain anonymous commented to Car and Driver: "Let's be honest, the EQS has always been perceived by our customers more like a stretched E-class than a proper S-class. The followup model needs to under promise and over deliver, or even newcomers like Lucid and Yangwang will eat us for breakfast. And it will."

S-Class Facelifts on the Horizon

But unlike the 7-series, which can be either ICE-powered or EV, the V580 EQS and today's S-class must exist side by side for years to come. The S-class will be facelifted in 2026 and then again in 2029, three years before the end of production. The first update is not merely a nip-and-tuck job but a more significant surgery that touches the front and rear ends as well as the co*ckpit. We expect new bumpers, mirrors, wheels, lights, and an illuminated new-look star pattern grille that can stage a variety of themes from festive to dynamic—some only when the vehicle is stationary, others also on the move.

The even classier interior features a redesigned dashboard with a revised multi-mode Hyperscreen and a large optional passenger display. You can still have that busy four-spoke steering wheel, but some of the notoriously vague touch sliders will be replaced with capacitive buttons and more precise thumbwheels.

The double facelift shows at least that there's life in the old dog yet. And who knows, unless EV adoption stages a swift comeback, we might even see an encore to the venerable ICE-powered sedan.

What's Ahead for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS (1)

Georg Kacher

Contributing Editor

Although I was born the only son of an ornithologist and a postal clerk, it was clear from the beginning that birdwatching and stamp collecting were not my thing. Had I known that God wanted me to grow to 6’8", I also would have ruled out anything to do with cars, which are to blame for a couple of slipped discs, a torn ligament, and that stupid stooped posture behind the wheel. While working as a keeper in the Aberdeen Zoo, smuggling cheap cigarettes from Yugoslavia to Germany, and an embarrassing interlude with an amateur drama group also failed to yield fulfillment, driving and writing about cars became a much better option. And it still is now, many years later, as I approach my 70th birthday. I love every aspect of my job except long-haul travel on lousy airlines, and I hope it shows.

What's Ahead for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS (2024)


Why the Mercedes-Benz S-class is the best? ›

The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class retains its title as the undisputed leader of intelligence, power, performance and luxury. The top-of-the-range model takes another big step towards autonomous driving and elevates Intelligent Drive to the next level.

What is the purpose of the EQS? ›

EQs allow you to focus on a select group of frequencies, giving you the ability to choose how this group is affected. You can grab a bunch of frequencies and turn them up (“boost,”) or select only a few frequencies, and turn them down (“cut.”)

What is the function of EQS in Mercedes? ›

The EQS can capture up to 290kW via recuperation and this allows for one pedal driving, although the driver can change the amount of recuperation from one pedal driving to a gliding function.

Is the Mercedes EQS the most aerodynamic car? ›

With a drag coefficient of just 0.20, the Mercedes-Benz EQS is the world's most aerodynamic car.

Which Mercedes class is best? ›

The E-Class is also a great choice for families, thanks to its many safety features. If you're looking for the most luxurious Mercedes-Benz model available, consider the S-Class. This sedan has all the bells and whistles, including heated seats, a sunroof, and an advanced sound system.

Is S-Class the best car? ›

Based on our experience, the S-Class is still the clear leader in the internal combustion engine luxury car segment, at least. Specification shown for Mercedes-Benz S 350 d AMG Line Premium.

Does EQS use gas? ›

The EQS is the first Mercedes-Benz designed from the ground up to be all-electric rather than adapted from a gasoline platform.

Is the EQS fully electric? ›

Mercedes EQS - Fully Electric Luxury Sedan.

Is the Mercedes EQS fast? ›

Estimated top speed of 130 mph. 0-60 mph 5.5 seconds (EQS 480+) and 4.1 seconds (EQS 580 4MATIC)

Why is S-Class called the best car in the world? ›

S-Class Performance

The engines are each designed to be all-wheel drive and have a nine-speed automatic transmission. Furthermore, the models have a 48-volt mild-hybrid system with six and eight-cylinder engines. The system can further offer an additional 21-horsepower boost when required.

What makes the S-Class special? ›

The W140 S-Class introduced many new features to the industry, including Electronic Stability Program, Brake Assist System, Xenon HID headlights, and side airbags, which were later adopted by other manufacturers.

What is the S-Class known for? ›

Formerly known as Sonderklasse, S-Class stands for “Special Class.” Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans are top-of-the-line, flagship models that often feature innovative technology that over time will make its way into smaller cars.

How reliable is the Mercedes S-Class? ›

Is the Mercedes S-Class a reliable car? According to WhatCar, the W221 is a robust machine with plenty of high-mileage examples that are still safe on the roads. AutoExpress gives it 4.5 stars out of 5 for reliability, but this can depend on the car's model, year, mileage and how well it has been maintained.


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