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  4. I drove gas and electric Mercedes sedans. Here's how the two $140,000 cars stack up.

I drove gas and electric Mercedes sedans. Here's how the two $140,000 cars stack up.

Tim Levin   

I drove gas and electric Mercedes sedans. Here's how the two $140,000 cars stack up.
The gas-powered Mercedes-Benz S-Class (top) and electric Mercedes-Benz EQS.Tim Levin/Insider
  • I tested two fancy Mercedes sedans. One was gas-powered and one was an electric vehicle.
  • Both were luxurious inside and buttery-smooth in motion.

An explosion in cool, new cars means that choosing between electric and gas-powered has never been tougher.

For example, Mercedes-Benz now sells the EQS, an electric equivalent to its top-dog S-Class sedan. I drove an EQS and an S-Class to see what's different and similar between the two cars — besides the obvious.

The 2022 EQS I drove was the EQS 580 4MATIC, which in Mercedes-speak means it's the more powerful model with all-wheel drive. The 2023 S-Class I tested was the S580e 4MATIC, meaning it was the all-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid model, which has an electric motor and a gas engine.

Both test cars Mercedes lent me had plenty of add-ons and cost around $140,000.

At a glance, it's easy to tell the two cars apart.

At a glance, it
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

The EQS looks simple, pure, and futuristic. It's marked by smooth, flowing contours and very few edges.

The EQS looks simple, pure, and futuristic. It
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

The slippery design reduces drag and helps maximize range to between 340 and 350 miles, depending on the model.

The slippery design reduces drag and helps maximize range to between 340 and 350 miles, depending on the model.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

The design language is shared across Benz's new EQ sub-brand of electric vehicles, which also includes the EQS SUV, EQE sedan, EQE SUV, and EQB SUV.

The S-Class, on the other hand, has sharper features and a more conventionally stately appearance.

The S-Class, on the other hand, has sharper features and a more conventionally stately appearance.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

I think it's the better looking car. But I'll leave that up to you.

I think it
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e luxury sedan.      Tim Levin/Insider

We also recently compared the Mercedes S-Class and Rolls-Royce Ghost to see the difference between standard luxury and a $400,000 vehicle.

Both had nice touches like door handles that pop out to greet you.

Both had nice touches like door handles that pop out to greet you.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

Let's move on to the interiors. Both are sturdy, wonderfully comfortable, and made from stylish, high-end materials.

Let
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

Remember, Mercedes offers lots of interior options. This is just what I experienced.

Both cars had plush leather seats, massage functions, big glass roofs, and tons of interior space.

Both cars had plush leather seats, massage functions, big glass roofs, and tons of interior space.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

But there still were some differences I noticed in both aesthetics and functionality.

But there still were some differences I noticed in both aesthetics and functionality.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

The EQS's cabin was full of swoopy curves — including turbine-style air vents — to match its exterior design.

The EQS
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

The S580e has more straight lines and blocky features. Once again, the bold, weighty design mirrors the sort of vibes the S-Class gives off from the outside.

The S580e has more straight lines and blocky features. Once again, the bold, weighty design mirrors the sort of vibes the S-Class gives off from the outside.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

The EQS provides a tiny shelf under the center console since there's no need for a solid transmission tunnel.

The EQS provides a tiny shelf under the center console since there
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

One of the big benefits of electric cars is that carmakers have extra interior space to play around with. Similarly, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 has a flat floor (no humps) and an open space between the front seats.

Plus, it was the first Benz to offer the optional Hyperscreen, a ginormous three-display setup.

Plus, it was the first Benz to offer the optional Hyperscreen, a ginormous three-display setup.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

Mercedes’ user interface is nice. And the Hyperscreen lends the EQS a high-tech vibe. But it's total overkill.

Mercedes’ user interface is nice. And the Hyperscreen lends the EQS a high-tech vibe. But it
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

Both back seats are large and soothing.

Both back seats are large and soothing.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

Check out all the most luxurious electric cars I've driven.

But the S-Class offers a bit more room.

But the S-Class offers a bit more room.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

The EQS trounces its gas-powered cousin when it comes to luggage space.

The EQS trounces its gas-powered cousin when it comes to luggage space.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

The EQS has a hatchback, while the S-Class has a regular trunk — and not a terribly large one at that.

The EQS has a hatchback, while the S-Class has a regular trunk — and not a terribly large one at that.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

And the S580e has way less luggage space than non-hybrid models, presumably because of the extra batteries.

How do both cars drive?

How do both cars drive?
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

Both insulate you from the outside world like a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Both insulate you from the outside world like a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

And, thanks to their air suspensions, both do a superb job of smoothing out rough roads.

And, thanks to their air suspensions, both do a superb job of smoothing out rough roads.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

Neither was quite as tranquil as the Rolls-Royce Spectre EV, which I tested this summer.

Either can be equipped with rear-wheel steering that helps them maneuver around parking lots like cars half their size.

Either can be equipped with rear-wheel steering that helps them maneuver around parking lots like cars half their size.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

The EQS was just a bit quieter, smoother, and quicker off the line thanks to its electric powertrain.

The EQS was just a bit quieter, smoother, and quicker off the line thanks to its electric powertrain.
The 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 580.      Tim Levin/Insider

Electric cars are inherently quicker than gas-powered ones, because their motors can provide full power at any speed.

Both sedans offer a laundry list of safety and driver-assistance features as standard, including Mercedes-Benz's impressive advanced cruise control system.

Both sedans offer a laundry list of safety and driver-assistance features as standard, including Mercedes-Benz
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

Plug-in hybrids like the S580e are kind of like a halfway point between regular hybrids and fully electric cars. They have large-ish batteries that can be charged and typically offer decent electric-only range of 25-50 miles.

With their automated-driving features switched on, both cars were able to confidently hug highway curves and navigate stop-and-go traffic.

With their automated-driving features switched on, both cars were able to confidently hug highway curves and navigate stop-and-go traffic.
The 2023 Mercedes-Benz S580e.      Tim Levin/Insider

And for the 2024 model year, both cars will be available with Drive Pilot, the first system in the US that encourages drivers to read a book or watch YouTube while the car does all the work during highway traffic jams.

And for the 2024 model year, both cars will be available with Drive Pilot, the first system in the US that encourages drivers to read a book or watch YouTube while the car does all the work during highway traffic jams.
Mercedes Drive Pilot in the EQS.      Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes Drive Pilot is the first Level 3 autonomous driving system approved in the US. It'll initially be available on certain highways in California and Nevada.


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