Mercedes-Benz has officially started production on its 2015 S 500 Plug-In Hybrid and will be immediately available, at least in Europe for now.
This is the company’s first-ever use of plug-in technology, although certainly not its first hybrid so this isn’t a complete unknown. The system uses a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that by itself produces 333 horsepower and 350 pounds-feet of torque, which is supplemented by an 85 kw electric motor and “high-voltage” 8.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery that can be charged by a socket in the rear fender.
The total output of 442 horsepower and 480 pounds-feet of torque is nearly identical to that of the standard S 550 model that uses a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V8 (449 horses/516 pounds-feet). And the plug-in hybrid performs similarly too, doing the 0-60 mph run in about five seconds, but its combined fuel-consumption rating on the European testing cycle is a pretty astonishing 84 mpg (2.8 l/100 km).
Mercedes-Benz says the car can travel a maximum of 20 miles on battery-power alone, up to a maximum speed of 85 mph, and can be recharged in anywhere between two and four hours, depending on charger type.
Other new features include the ability to preset the cabin temperature ahead of time to maximize the battery charge, although that’s already common in rival products. The S 500 Plug-In Hybrid also gets things like LED head-lights and tail-lights and unique wheels to differentiate from lesser trim levels, along with leather seating, four-zone climate control and an enormous list of active and passive safety features you’d expect in a six-figure German limo.
Speaking of prices, the Plug-In Hybrid starts at around $146,000 U.S. (108,944 euros) in Germany, including a 20 percent VAT. No word on North American pricing or availability yet, but we’ll let you know if that changes.