This week arch rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz shook up the global electric car scene by staging global premieres of their new EVs.
On Tuesday, Mercedes unveiled the EQS SUV, an electric seven-seater that shares the same platform as the recently introduced EQS and EQE. Then on Wednesday BMW pulled the wraps off the new i7, its flagship luxury saloon that is also fully-electric.
The two models will be on sales later this year in Europe, and could make their way to Thailand early next year.
Mercedes-EQ EQS SUV
As mentioned, the EQS SUV shares the same platform as the EQS saloon, with identical wheelbase of 3,210mm, although the EQS SUV is 20mm higher and enjoys added benefits in terms of interior dimensions.
Mercedes says that the second-row seats are electrically-powered and the trunk fits four golf bags. In addition, third-row individual seats with comfort features are also available.
With the rear seat backrests folded, the space can be increased from 645 to 2,100 liters (2,020 liters for 7-seat version).
According to Mercedes, all EQS SUVs have an electric drivetrain (eATS) on the rear axle, and the versions with 4MATIC also have an additional motor on the front axle. In the 4MATIC models, the Torque Shift function ensures intelligent, continuously variable distribution of drive torque between the rear and front electric motors and thus the use of the most efficient eATS in each case. The electric motors on the front and rear axles are permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM). The advantages of this design include high power density, high efficiency and high power constancy.
The EQS SUV will be available with three variants — EQS 450+ (265kW/568Nm), EQS 450 4MATIC (265kW/568Nm) and EQS 580 4MATIC (400kW/858Nm).
According to Mercedes, charging times from AC outlets for the 107.8kWh battery vary from 10 hours (11kW) to 5 hours (22kW), while a 200kW DC quick charging takes 31 minutes (250km range for 15 minutes of DC quick charging).
The new-generation lithium-ion battery offers a WLTP range of up to 660kms for the single-motor 450+ and 613kms for the dual-motor 450 4MATIC and 580 4MATIC.
The chassis of the new EQS SUV has a four-link axle at the front and an independent multi-link suspension at the rear. The AIRMATIC air suspension with continuously adjustable damping ADS+ is standard equipment. In addition to the DYNAMIC SELECT modes ECO, COMFORT, SPORT and INDIVIDUAL, the 4MATIC versions feature OFFROAD, a further mode for off-road driving. Furthermore, rear-axle steering with a steering angle of up to 4.5 degrees is standard – optionally a version with up to 10 degrees steering angle is available and available via an over-the-air (OTA) update.
Compared to the EQS saloon, the number of OTA updates have been increased in the EQS SUV. They include Trailer Manoeuvring Assist or MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) Augmented Reality Navigation, dashcam, and various comfort and well-being programs.
The highlight of the interior is the curved MBUX Hyperscreen that spans almost from A-pillar to A-pillar. Three screens sit under a common cover glass and merge visually – the 12.3-inch OLED display for the front passenger gives them their own display and control area.
Other interior highlights include Burmester audio system with Dolby Atmos surround, 11.6-inch rear seat entertainment screens with touch controls (tablet optional).
The interior trim features NEOTEX structure which combines the look of nubuck leather and neoprene, wood with Mercedes-Benz pattern aluminium inlays. The anthracite 3D trim features fine metal pigments and laser cut, backlit with Mercedes-Benz Pattern — the star pattern is lasered into the plastic trim and is adaptively backlit.
The i7 is the flagship model in the G70 7 Series lineup, which will also include petrol, diesel and PHEV choices for various markets around the world.
The first G70 variant is the fully-electric i7 xDrive60, which is powered by dual electric motors producing up to 544hp. The 101.7kWh battery capacity provided allows the i7 to cover up to 625kms per full charge.
According to BMW, the M version of the G70 will boast more power, with the top i7 M70 xDrive offering as much as 600hp and 1,000Nm. Acceleration from 0-100km/h will be under four seconds.
There’s air suspension as well as active roll stabilization that helps keep the ride comfortable at all times, while brakes have been upgraded compared to the previous 7 Series in terms of precision and pedal feel.
The i7 takes on a monolithic surface design, with a distinctive front end highlighted by an illuminated kidney grille frame and BMW crystal headlights Iconic Glow that feature Swarovski crystals backlit by LED units.
From the side, the i7 appears to have a forward-surging front section, with shoulder line running from the daytime running lights to the slim rear LED lights. The large doors come with automatic opening and closing function.
The interior is fully-digital, with BMW Curved Display that consists of a 12.3-inch information display behind the steering wheel and a control display with a 14.9-inch screen. The BMW Interaction Var is a new feature, representing a new breed of control/operation and design element.
The biggest surprise seems to be the 31.3-inch BMW Theatre Screen with 8K resolution that comes with built-in Amazon Fire TV and Bowers & Wilkins sound system and 5-5inch touch controls on the rear doors.
The rear seats in the i7 comes with a large number of features such as ventilation, massage and super-reclining Executive Lounge option.
Customers can choose between Veganza material or Merino leather/cashmere wool for the upholstery.
The i7 also features the largest selection of automated driving and parking systems ever offered in a BMW. On models with Parking Assistant Professional, the Reversing Assistant can carry out steering movements for distances of up to 200 meters.
Meanwhile on pre-stored manoeuvering routes, Manoeuver Assistant Plus carries out all the tasks, controlling the accelerator, brakes and steering, as well as changing gears to move forward or reverse. There’s even a remote control function coming in 2023 that allows the driver to control automated parking and manouevering tasks from outside the vehicle using the smartphone.