Mercedes S400 - Mercedes goes hybrid in a "big" way

Written By nyit on Monday, April 11, 2011 | 3:50 AM

I remember several years ago at a Mercedes press launch that a question was asked about their future plans concerning Hybrid technology. The engineer who fielded the question replied that it was “illogical” to have 2 different types of propulsion systems in a car. Gas is good and diesel is good but gas and electric makes no sense at all. Times changes and so have automotive drive train design philosophies.

The Mercedes S400 is the company’s first attempt at offering a hybrid version of their top-of-the-line large sedan, the S Class. What the company has done is add a mild hybrid drive to the vehicle. Though the car’s nomenclature might lead you to believe that the “400” has a 4 liter V8 engine, it doesn’t. The S400 actually has a 3.5 liter V6 with Atkinson Cycle engine controls added. This is the only S with a V6 but the combination seems to handle the car quite well, propelling it to 60 miles an hour in about 7.2 seconds. More importantly for this model the fuel economy is quite respectable. The S400 can deliver an EPA city/highway fuel economy rating of 19/25 which is a significant improvement over the next best S550 rated at 15/23.

Interestingly, Mercedes has pegged the S400 as the lowest priced entry S Class with a starting price of only $87,950. That’s modest compared with the top dog S65 priced at $201,150. Additionally the other models contain alloy body parts like hoods and trunk lids but the S400 is an all-steel construction model.
Lexus by comparison position its hybrid in the luxury LS line as the highest priced, most luxurious vehicle. The LS gets the “full” hybrid treatment but it doesn’t sell very well.

Most people riding in the S400 would not realize that he car was a hybrid. It is smooth and quite and provides the expected Mercedes occupant experience. The driver will notice a different feel to the vehicle but that’s expected.
In all it’s a credible offering and potential buyers wanting a Mercedes and a hybrid will like this vehicle.

By Kelly Foss - MyCarData

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