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Mercedes-Benz launches new S-Class with hybrid, diesel, gasoline models; 59 mpg PHEV model to come

New S 400 HYBRID. Click to enlarge.

Mercedes-Benz’s new generation flagship S-Class, introduced at an elaborate event at Airbus in Finkenwerder, marks a number of technology firsts in numerous areas from comfort, to driver control, to efficiency. As one example of the last, the new S-Class is the first car in the world to completely dispense with conventional electric bulbs, making exclusive use of energy-saving LED technology both inside and outside.

On a larger efficiency scale, the new S-Class in its first year will offer two hybrid versions, a gasoline model and a diesel variant: the S 400 HYBRID, S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, S 500, and S 350 BlueTEC. The models offer up to 20% lower fuel consumption than the outgoing model series. These soon will be followed by the S 500 Plug-In HYBRID—the first S-Class with a fuel consumption lower than 4l/100 km (59 mpg US). All the engines already meet the requirements of the Euro-6 emissions standard.

S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID. Mercedes-Benz has almost halved fuel consumption in the 150 kW output category within ten years: the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID has a combined fuel consumption of 4.4 l/100 km (53.5 mpg US) (CO2: 115 g/km).

In the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, Mercedes-Benz has combined the 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel engine developing 150 kW (204 hp) with a hybrid module. Its 15 kW electric motor, positioned between the internal combustion engine and the 7-speed automatic transmission, assists the diesel engine when the car is accelerating (boost effect) and, in alternator mode, is used for the recuperation of braking energy, although it is also suitable for driving under electric power alone.

S 350 BlueTEC. The V6 diesel engine in the S 350 BlueTEC has a displacement of 2987 cc, an output of 190 kW (258 hp) and torque of 620 N·m (457 lb-ft). Its combined fuel consumption of 5.5 or 5.6 litres per 100 kilometers (short/long wheelbase versions) (42.8 or 42 mpg US) makes it the world’s most economical V6 diesel and puts it on a par with the previous four-cylinder S 250 CDI model.

The S 350 BlueTEC has CO2 emissions of 146 or 148 grams per kilometer (short/long wheelbase versions), and it is equipped with the second-generation AdBlue emission-control system.

S 400 HYBRID. With the hybrid model, which combines a V6 gasoline engine with a compact hybrid module and Li-ion battery pack, the Mercedes‑Benz engineers have delivered NEDC (combined) fuel consumption of 6.3 liters per 100 kilometres (37.3 mpg US)—a reduction of 20% compared to the preceding model. The CO2 emissions figure of 147 grams per kilometre is likewise a new record in this vehicle segment.

The gasoline engine develops 225 kW (306 hp) and the electric motor adds another 20 kW. The peak torque is 370 N·m (272 lb-ft). The compact hybrid module is a disc-shaped electric motor that also acts as a starter and generator.

The S 400 HYBRID accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds and reaches an electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

S 500. The V8 biturbo unit in the S 500 has a displacement of 4663 cc and an output of 335 kW (455 hp)—making it more powerful than its 320 kW (435 hp) predecessor. Its peak torque is 700 N·m (516 lb-ft), while NEDC fuel consumption is 8.6 liters per 100 km (27.4 mpg US)—0.7 liters per 100 km lower than its predecessor. CO2 emissions are 199 g/km.

The S 500 sprints from zero to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. Its top speed is 250 km/h (electronically limited).

All new S-Class models feature the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission with DIRECT SELECT lever as standard. The features of this latest version include a new torque converter with reduced slip; an ECO shift mode with a wider ratio spread; and an auxiliary oil pump to maintain the operating pressure during automatic stops. Low-friction components and low-viscosity oil help to reduce the operating pressure.

ECO start/stop function and ECO display. The consumption and emission figures are also due to the ECO start/stop function specified as standard for all S-Class models.

One of the features that assists the driver is the ECO display in the instrument cluster. If required, three bar charts give the driver feedback about the economy of their driving style. The ECO display responds positively if the driver accelerates moderately, drives smoothly in an anticipatory manner and avoids unnecessary braking. The three bar readings stand at 100% if driving is particularly economical according to these criteria. When starting off all the values are at 50%, and a particularly unfavorable driving style causes them to decline. The aim is to arouse a competitive desire in the driver to achieve 100% if possible.

Further efficiency-enhancing measures include aerodynamics; intelligent lightweight construction; second-generation low-rolling-resistance tires; an electronically controlled refrigerant compressor; and the new “ECO Thermo Cover” engine compartment encapsulation in the S 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, which reduces cold-starting losses and consists of insulating partitions in the engine compartment and the radiator shutter, which closes when the engine is stopped.

Suspension with “eyes”. The new S-Class is the first car to be able to detect bumps on the road ahead. If ROAD SURFACE SCAN detects such unevenness by means of the stereo camera, MAGIC BODY CONTROL instantaneously sets up the suspension to deal with the new situation. This innovative suspension system is available as an option for the eight-cylinder models. Standard equipment for the new S-Class includes the continuously operating Adaptive Damping System ADS PLUS and an enhanced version of the full air suspension system AIRMATIC.

3rd-generation aluminum hybrid bodyshell. The bodyshell for the new S-Class is a third-generation aluminium hybrid bodyshell. The lightweight index—the torsional stiffness in relation to weight and vehicle size—has been improved by 50% compared to the predecessor model.

Since the 220 model series was developed in the 1990s, with an optimally coordinated materials mix the hybrid lightweight construction has been further developed into an aluminium hybrid bodyshell. During this period the share of aluminium has increased to more than 50%. Mercedes-Benz has thus maintained practically the same body weight for 20 years—and even slightly reduced it—despite far more stringent comfort and safety requirements and additional functions.

In addition to this, structural foams are used at specific points in node areas in the new model series. The entire outer skin of the S-Class, including the roof and the front section of the body, consists of aluminium. The high percentage of aluminium is possible due to the use of a complete range of semi-finished products (casting, extrusion, sheet metal). The safety passenger cell is made using an extremely high percentage of high-strength steel.

With a torsional stiffness of 40.5 kN/degree (predecessor: 27.5 kN/degree), the S-Class achieves a new record in its segment.

Extended PRE-SAFE protection. The new PRE-SAFE functions can help to prevent collisions with pedestrians and vehicles in front in city traffic, defuse dangerous situations caused by traffic behind and enhance the protection offered by the seat belts.

  • PRE-SAFE Brake can also detect pedestrians and initiate autonomous braking to avoid a collision at speeds up to 50 km/h (31 mpg US).

  • PRE-SAFE PLUS can recognize an imminent rear-end collision and warn the following traffic by activating the rear hazard warning lights at a high frequency. If the danger of a collision persists, the system can also firmly apply the stationary vehicle’s brakes and thus minimise the risk of whiplash injuries by reducing the forward jolt caused by the impact. This additionally can reduce the risk of secondary accidents. Immediately before impact, the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection measures, especially the reversible belt tensioners, are deployed.

  • With PRE-SAFE Impulse, the driver and front passenger are pulled away from the direction of impact by their seat belts at an early phase of the crash before the resulting occupant deceleration sets in. This can substantially reduce the risk and severity of injuries in a frontal collision.

Intelligent Drive. Mercedes-Benz is deploying numerous new assistance systems and greatly enhanced safety functions in the new S-Class. The new functions all rely on the same sensor system, comprising a new stereo camera together with multistage radar sensors. A key factor is the networking of all systems—i.e., sensor fusion.

The support functions range from relieving the burden on the driver and therefore increasing comfort, to issuing visual, acoustic and/or tactile warning signals, to boosting the driver’s reactions. Some systems are able to take corrective action in an emergency, such as autonomous application of the brakes to prevent an accident or lessen its severity. New assistance systems and those with notably enhanced functionality include:

  • DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot takes the burden off the driver when it comes to lane guidance and is also able to follow vehicles in traffic jams automatically.

  • For the first time, due to the stereo camera, the Brake Assist system BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist is able to detect crossing traffic and pedestrians too, and to boost the braking power applied by the driver accordingly.

  • If the lane markings are broken lines, Active Lane Keeping Assist can detect when the adjacent lane is occupied, especially by oncoming traffic, and reduce the risk of the vehicle leaving its lane unintentionally by applying the brakes on one side.

  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the beams’ cone of light.

  • Night View Assist Plus was further improved and supplemented by a thermal imaging camera. Night View Assist Plus can alert the driver to the potential danger posed by pedestrians or animals in unlit areas in front of the vehicle by automatically switching from the speedometer to a sharp night view image and highlighting the sources of danger. A spotlight function is furthermore able to flash any pedestrians detected ahead. This attracts the driver’s attention to the source of the danger at the same time as warning the person on the side of the road.

  • ATTENTION ASSIST can warn of inattentiveness and drowsiness in an extended speed range and notify the driver of their current state of fatigue and the driving time since the last break, offers an adjustable sensitivity setting and, if a warning is emitted, indicates nearby service areas in the COMAND navigation system.



I wonder how long it can run the AC with the engine off. S-Classes are most often spotted in the wild idling around CEO hangouts, with the bored driver either sleeping, or poking his smart phone.

There's no need to keep a 200+hp prime mover running if all you are doing is chilling a relatively small room.


"..diesel engine developing 150 kW (204 hp) with a hybrid module. Its 15 kW electric motor.."

Like ~10% of ICE Honda IMA, wouldn't a several times more powerful electric motor be more useful?

Thomas Pedersen


Maybe. But I am increasingly liking this configuration - under the premise that if more cars would share the global battery output, more fuel would be saved.

A small motor with, say 100 Nm torque, can be enough to keep the ICE in high gear and low revs at high efficiency. And if the energy is gained through recuperation during braking and coasting, it's totally free.

I think Mercedes should be applauded for actually pairing a relatively small ICE (the S-Class is a BIG car) with an electric motor. As upposed to BMW 335i Hybrid and the like.

The 2.2 litre diesel does not have enough omph for such a big car, but aided by the e-motor it does. This is exactly the configuration hybrid lovers on this site have been asking for.

This configuration allows downsizing and downspeeding without adding too much 'hybrid weight'. I like that.

I wonder if the 500 plug-in hybrid will sport the same ICE as the 400 Hybrid but with more power from the e-motor..?


I dunno, the way the diesels have been going up in specific power and torque I wouldn't bet that 2.2 liters is insufficient even for a substantial tow vehicle.  I carried/pulled over 6000 pounds with 1.9 older-tech liters and while it wasn't sparkling performance it pulled more than hard enough.


The new MB Sprinter truck comes with a 2.1 diesel. 2.2 should be enough for taxi/limo service. Private owners will want more, but a lot of S-Classes are used for fleet service (and kept idling all day, as I mentioned earlier).

Thomas Pedersen


Agree, but Mercerdes S-Class is a different beast with a different customer base.

A comparison would be the Audi A6 Hybrid with a 210hp 2.0 gasoline ICE, but the MB S-Class is a more luxurious vehicle with a different expectation for 'plenty of power in all situations'.

We do not see many diesel hybrids either so that is another 'gamble'.


This probably nissan's hybrid system

7 speed electric motor between the ICE and trans. with two clutches

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