The new Mercedes S-class promises no less than to be the best car in the world. We can’t say how true this claim is, but we can see something never seen before: the car will be available with two hybrid drivetrains. In Europe at least, they will be available right from launch, with an even greener plug-in hybrid version coming next year. The first two hybrids are the S300 Bluetec Hybrid and the S400 Hybrid. The former uses a four-cylinder diesel, good for 204 hp and 368 lb-ft of torque, wile the second has a gas V6 which makes 306 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. The sad news is that neither are true hybrids, the way a Prius is.
They can’t accelerate without the gas engine running. The electric motor, only delivering 20 kW is way too small for a car like the S-class. The system will still be very effective in reducing fuel consumption, and the new S-class has many other tricks to be fuel-efficient. This is the first car in the world without a single light bulb. It uses LEDs instead, and it has nearly 500 of them! The car then, is a marvel of aerodynamics, with a .24 Cd value. The S300 Bluetec Hybrid is even better at .23! Finally, this Mercedes uses all the best lightweight solutions. Make no mistake, this is still a heavy car, but this model is a bit lighter than the S-class from 20 years ago, despite having much improved torsional stiffness, much more equipment, and many more safety features.
The result is that the Mercedes S300 Bluetec Diesel Hybrid, a large luxury sedan, has the same CO2 emissions than a little Honda CRZ. Impressive! If you can afford it, but we bet the hybrid will take a significant share of all S-class sales.