Mercedes‘ rear-steering system reigns supreme. Very recently we considered 5-degrees of rear steer to be impressive, but both the new S-Class and the all-electric EQS are capable of a massive 10 degrees of movement at the rear. For EQS buyers in Germany, though, there’s a catch. One must subscribe to unlock the full angle, otherwise, the car limits itself to only 4.5 despite being physically capable of much more.
This was sort of hinted at in the original press release, which noted that the full capability of the system would be made available at a later date via an over-the-air update. “In addition to the classic purchase of individual functions, subscriptions, temporary activations and free test phases are also planned,” Mercedes says. In Germany, there will indeed be a subscription to stop software from limiting the rear-steer system, and the cost has been revealed as €489 (£418) a year.
Alternatively, you can shell out for a three-year subscription costing €1,169, amounting to a discount of around 20 per cent. According to Auto Motor und Sport, there will also be a conventional option to permanently unlock full rear-steer capability, although it’s currently unclear how much this will set you back. On an S-Class, which doesn’t have a subscription programme like the EQS, you’re charged €1,550 for 10-degree rear steering.
Should you be tempted to go the Netflix-style route on your EQS, you’ll need to have opted for the 360-degree parking package when speccing the car. So long as you have, it’s merely a case of choosing the rear-steer upgrade in the Mercedes Me app, switching the car off for two minutes, then switching it back on. Voila, the all-wheel steering can now function to its full potential.
The subscription model won’t be available everywhere. For instance, The Drive reports that the US-bound versions of the EQS 450+ and 580 will have 10-degree all-wheel steering as standard.
Mercedes UK tells us that higher spec cars headed here will have 10-degree capability as standard, while the entry-level versions will stick with the restricted 4.5 setup. It doesn’t look like there’ll be a subscription option to upgrade the latter, although we’ll know for sure when UK pricing and specs are confirmed in September.
Whether you like it or not (we suspect most of you are going to be in the ‘not’ camp), the concept of subscribing to optional car features is gathering momentum. Not long after binning its controversial plans to charge a yearly fee to access Apply Car Play, BMW revealed a raft of subscription options made possible by its Operating System 7. Bizarrely, this includes one to unlock the full functionality of a car’s adaptive dampers. Free and £1 trial periods are also available.