New car season on the doorstep. Then you should say which cars you are looking forward to with the most burning desires. For me that is one; the Mercedes EQS, although we seem to have to wait for it until 2021. The VW ID.3 and the electric BMWs in shared second place do not come close to that visionary electric monster sedan with the ghostly light show in the nose in terms of appeal.
Almost all other cars in the pipeline, which we are all going to test en masse again, are more of the same. Niche model here, crossover variant there, a few facelifts and more and more hybrids with a plug. Come on in, plugins with 225, 300 and 400 hp, all reasonably to very good driving. Time and time again I will say: buy safely, nothing wrong with it. And I immediately forget them. Same screens, same safety assistants, same premium audio with a name and same panoramic roofs. While the word innovation pops up in every slogan, we are evolutionary.
Very rarely a car comes on the market that really stands out due to a unique mix of features; design, powertrain, technology, concept. Maybe that has always been the case. The real icons of the twentieth century, revered by everyone, can be counted on the fingers of two hands. The harvest has not even been bad in recent years. In 2018 there was the Tesla Model 3, last year the fabulous Porsche Taycan. Coincidentally twice electric, but that should not have. For me, the Lexus LC was one of those highlights in 2017; unique design, great driving qualities, a real chunk of added value in its class. I was in love with that car. So delicious, so good.
But then the EQS. He can become the game changer that will be talked about for years to come, if he keeps his impressive promises. The first EV with a WLTP range of 700 kilometers could become the first real competitor of the big Teslas. If he really does, then we can note with some concern that it took ten years. The years ahead that VW foreman Herbert Diess Musk attributes are just under a decade. All the while, nothing from Europe, Sweden or Japan came close to what, according to frustrated stragglers, rickety but technically sovereign Model S. SUVs from Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes lagged far behind Tesla in terms of innovation and endurance, and no one had a large electric limousine in the range with a range of more than 500 kilometers – which even the Taycan has not yet become.
With Tesla’s hot breath in the neck, it has never been so necessary for European premium manufacturers to carry out the exceptional act that failed to materialize. While they continue to build great cars, their policy of evolutionary prudence puts their hegemony in the global market at stake. They now have to create something that Musk won’t get over even with the next Model S, and which will be just as much a turning point for the current decade as the S for the previous one.
And if the brand wants to keep its place in world history, that big statement will have to come from Mercedes. Das Beste oder nichts, noblesse oblige. It seems that the brand has understood that message. The EQS is completely crazy and revolutionarily different. Extremely long, low and mirror-smooth, actually a huge elongated line that spans the cabin like a triumphal arch. In the four doors, the dark windows and the black top of the two-tone door panels merge without visible boundaries. This is the first science fiction Benz since the C111, the childhood dream of which a child wants a poster. How long ago?
For God’s sake Mercedes, don’t make a more or less ordinary car of the prototype. I want the insane illuminated airplane seats of the concept car. I want the continuous light band behind, a star cloud with hundreds of red Mercedes stars. And of course I want to see him as a Mercedes man exceed all expectations. I want him to whistle 600 kilometers on one charge, with me behind the wheel 650. That he charges faster and drives quieter than any EV. That a spectacular interior space does justice to the possibilities of an electric platform architecture. That the air resistance coefficient barely exceeds 0.20, which seems to me not too much to ask, because in aerodynamics the Mercedes engineers have been experts for years. In short, I want a miracle. And Mercedes too. It has no choice. The EQS will have to crush everyone from next year. He is in the innovation world cup final between California and Stuttgart. This is how dramatically exciting it is in the toughest times the car industry has experienced in decades.