German auto motor und sport magazine has compared the Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic and the BMW i7 xDrive60 and answers who builds the world’s best luxury electric limousine.
Photo: Auto motor und sport
The Mercedes EQS and BMW i7 compete in the same segment but have different philosophies. The BMW i7 is produced on the same platform as the conventional and Plug-In versions of the 7 Series on the same production line at BMW’s Dingolfing plant. BMW’s philosophy from now on is to launch the electric version first, followed by the other versions. In the case of the 7 Series, a diesel and a Plug-In will follow for Europe, while a petrol version will be available only in the US. In contrast, the Mercedes EQS completely differs from the S-Class and is built on the dedicated EVA II electric platform.
BMW i7 xDrive60: supreme comfort, better quality, but lower agility, high consumption
The new BMW 7 Series is a massive car being 13 cm/5.11 in longer than the former extended wheelbase version, 5 cm/1.97 in taller, and roughly the same width. The increase in height is due to an 11 cm/4.33 in Li-Ion battery with a capacity of 101.7 kWh being mounted on the floor. The increase in length is explained more by BMW’s desire to position the 7 Series even higher than by the need for extra space. In the front, passengers sit in great, extra-wide seats electrically adjustable in multiple directions, ventilated, and heated seats, while excellent quality materials and unbeatable ergonomics characterize the interior despite the multitude of functions.
The Interaction Bar, illuminated from the rear in different shades, spans the entire interior width. It can be used to adjust air distribution, open the glovebox or close the automatic doors.
The BMW i7 xDrive60 is powered by two current-excited synchronous motors rather than permanent magnets, so BMW does not use rare earth in its motors. A 190 kW motor works at the front and a 230 kW motor at the rear, producing 400 kW and 745 Nm (549 lb-ft).
Compared to the i4 M50, the acceleration doesn’t seem so violent due to the extra weight. Still, if you look at the acceleration figures, you realize that the incredible force of the two motors has been only slightly mitigated. As for refinement, the two electric motors make us forget about the famous V12 and produce only a slight hum.
The recovery system, whose automatic strategy considers not only the vehicle in front and the topography of the road but also the traffic lights, works efficiently and, together with the 0.24 Cx, contributes to efficiency.
The test model had the best possible drivetrain: standard adaptive air suspension plus active anti-roll bars (3,700 euro/$4,039 ). These reduce cornering roll but sometimes not enough. On straight lines, the system decouples the stabilizer bars, improving comfort. The air suspension offers a high degree of comfort, and only on deeper potholes with sharp edges does it make a slight noise without disturbing passengers.
While comfort achieves perfection, traditional BMW sportiness is lacking even with the onboard M Sport package (6,900 euro/$7,531), which is more a design package than a technical one. The integral steering with its 3.5-degree steering angle doesn’t do much for agility, but it contributes to better handling in tight spaces. With a 49/51% front/rear weight distribution, the BMW i7 understeers on corners, but the electronics discreetly mitigate the phenomenon.
With a weight distribution of 49:51% front to rear, sometimes i7 pushes into understeer in corners, but the control systems intervene discreetly to diminish it.
The BMW i7 is, therefore, a magnificent car for long journeys, but the high energy consumption in the test of 35 kWh/100 km requires charging breaks every 320 km (199 miles). On the other hand, the i7 charged quickly at high-power DC stations. In 18 minutes, BMW charged 51 kW or 50% of the battery. The average charging power was 147 kW, and it took 70 minutes for a full charge.
Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic: More agile and spacious, better range
Built on a dedicated platform, the Mercedes EQS stands out with an exceptional Cx of 0.20 and a cab-forward body design. In addition, the Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic features two permanent magnet synchronous motors of 135 kW at the front and 255 kW at the rear producing 385 kW (400 kW shortly) and 858 Nm (633 lb-ft), with torque distribution checked 10,000 times per minute by the electronic control system.
Two other notable features of the EQS are the pressurized cooling of the electric motor rotor inside with a water lance and the ribs in the underbody panels that protect the battery casing underneath from possible knocks. By the way, Mercedes promises a more extended battery warranty than other manufacturers of 10 years or 250,000 km/155,342 miles instead of 8 years or 160,000 km/99,419 miles.
By design, the Mercedes EQS looks smaller than the i7, but it’s not. The multi-contour (1,737 euro/$1,896) and multi-way adjustable front seats are comfortable but offer good support. The driving position is 4.5 cm lower than in the i7, and the seats are well integrated but not as large as in the i7, being separated by the tall center console.
In the rear, the Mercedes EQS offers an extra 4 cm at the knees, and despite the arched roof, it also provides a one-finger taller interior height. The boot is also more significant than the 7 Series, but the payload is much lower than the BMW at 453 kg/999 pounds compared to 571 kg/1,259 pounds in the BMW.
Like the BMW, the Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic’s navigation system considers charging stops when needed by counting the time required to stop according to the charging speed.
Mercedes also accelerates vehemently, smoothly, harmoniously, and quietly. You get the feeling that the Mercedes is faster, but the difference in acceleration is just 0.4 seconds in the Mercedes’ favor, while in-gear accelerations are identical.
The Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic comes standard with adaptive air suspension and optional all-wheel steering with a 10-degree steering angle (1,547 euro/$1,690, can also be ordered over-the-air; the standard is a 4.5-degree steering angle). The 10-degree steering angle makes the EQS more maneuverable in tight spaces, with a steering diameter comparable to a compact car. The steering is also very responsive and smoother, and the car doesn’t understeer when cornering. It only gives up its calm neutrality in Sport mode, with a bit of back-swing under more exhilarating acceleration. Otherwise, it offers superb grip and has exceptional dynamics confirmed in dynamic tests.
The Mercedes brakes more brutally and has slightly shorter braking distances, but the brake pedal isn’t linear, and it’s hard to control, especially in the first phase, in auto recovery mode. In contrast, BMW offers a more controllable and linear brake pedal.
The EQS is slightly more agile but less comfortable than the i7. On hard and short bumps, the EQS responds a little more harshly. On the other hand, it keeps body movements more firmly under control.
In contrast, the Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic has a more extended range of 359 km/223 miles instead of 320 km/199 miles (478 km/297 miles compared with 427 km/265 miles in eco mode), thanks to a slightly larger battery and lower fuel consumption of 33.4 kWh/100 km in the test. But even with a bigger battery, it charges faster. For example, in 18 minutes, it charged 50% of the battery (54 kWh compared to 51 in the BMW), and a full charge took 61 minutes compared to 70 in the BMW.
The Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic wins over the BMW i7 xDrive60 because it’s more economical, has a more extended range, charges faster, is more agile, and brakes better. In addition, although it doesn’t look, it has a roomier interior and boot. But the BMW is more comfortable and offers better interior materials and a more linear brake pedal. It was, however, not enough for victory. Mercees EQS 580 4Matic won with 659 points aginat 635 points for BMW.
|Model||BMW i7 xDrive60||Mercedes EQS 580 4Matic+|
|Engine||2, electric||2, electric|
|Max. output (HP)||544||523|
|Max. torque (Nm)||745||858|
|Gearbox||automatic, 1 gear||automatic, 1 gear|
|Boot volume (l)||500||610-1,770|
|Slalom 18 m km/h)||65.4||67.1|
|Double lane change (km/h)||133.8||139.4|
|Top speed (km/h)||240||210|
|from 100 km/h (m)||35.7||34.1|
|at 80 km/h (dBA)||59||60|
|at 100 km/h (dBA)||62||63|
|at 130 km/h (dBA)||64||65|
|at 160 km/h (dBA)||68||68|
|Energy consumption (kWh/100 km)|
|Price (euro with VAT) GERMANY||139,900||141,705.20|
|Price (USD) US||119,900||125,950|