Mercedes-Benz is previewing its first large plug-in hybrid vehicle ahead of its public debut during the upcoming Paris Motor Show, and surprisingly, doesn’t look that much different from the rest of the still-fresh S-Class range.
But under the sculpted skin is another matter.
Power comes from the twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 — recently introduced in the 2015 C-Class — that produces 329 horsepower and 354 pounds-feet of torque, mated to an 85-kw electric motor that’s integrated into the torque-converter housing of the seven-speed automatic transmission. Total combined output of 436 horsepower and 479 pounds-feet of torque isn’t far off the figures of the V8-powered gas-powered S550, and the hybrid nearly matches it in acceleration too, with 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) times of just 5.2 seconds.
The lithium-ion battery is now larger than in the old non-plug-in S-Class, with 8.7 kwh, and is said to be able to provide up to 20 miles of pure-electric range at up to 87 mph, although obviously the range decreases severely the faster you travel. The battery can be charged via a socket in the rear fender, and the company estimates around four hours to charge fully on a 220-volt receptacle, or in only two hours on a 400-volt charger.
Mercedes-Benz call the S550 Plug-In Hybrid the first three-liter luxury sedan in the world, but it’s not referring to the engine’s displacement. Rather the claimed 3.0 l/100 km (78.4 mpg US.) combined average consumption on the more lax European cycle. One interesting feature the company uses to attain those figures is a gas pedal that gives haptic feedback to the driver about how to better maximize the hybrid system.
Full details on US fuel-economy figures, specifications, features and pricing haven’t been revealed yet, but customers should expect a higher MSRP than the last S400 hybrid, which started at around $92,000.