Mercedes Benz is set up to launch its first hybrid vehicle, the new S400 Hybrid later this year, but the new saloon will be the first of many hybrids as Mercedes is planning to sell petrol-electric versions of its three major model lines. Joining the S-Class hybrid will be ultra-efficient versions of the ML-Class SUV and possibly an E-Class Hybrid.
Mercedes expects hybrid vehicles, rather than diesel options, to play a major role in its strategy to match rising fuel economy standards and carbon dioxide emissions regulations, but it hasn’t given up completely on diesel technology. Other recent initiatives include the development of a new-generation of ultra-efficient forced-induction engines.
As for the upcoming S400 Hybrid, it combines a 205kW 3.5L V6 engine and a 15kW electric motor, resulting in a fuel consumption rating of 7.9L/100km with emissions of 190g/km CO2. Equipped with the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic transmission adjusted for the hybrid model, the car is capable of the 0-100km sprint in 7.2 seconds.
An E-Class with the same drivetrain should offer better performance with lower fuel consumption due to its smaller kerb weight. However a cheaper and more fuel efficient E-Class Hybrid would likely draw away sales from the S-Class version, which is a much more profitable model for Mercedes, and this is the reason it’s launch would be delayed for at least a couple of years.