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Published on Sat, Apr 10, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Mercedes-Benz launches an innovative S400 Hybrid model for the 2010 model year By Harvey Schwartz Featuring V8-like power and the world’s first car-specific lithium-ion battery, the innovative Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid offers impressive muscle along with its terrific fuel economy.
The light-weight, high-capacity battery works with a 20 horsepower electric motor and a 275 horsepower V6 gasoline engine to provide 30 percent better fuel economy than a comparable S550 model. The magneto-electric motor sports 118lb. ft of starting torque, while the gas engine puts forth 258 pound-feet. Its fresh styling includes a more streamlined front grille, larger outside mirrors, and a new front bumper with a chrome strip below the air intakes—all common features in this year’s S-Class sedans.
Inside, the S400 Hybrid comes with the same luxury conveniences we’ve come to expect from Mercedes-Benz models, including a premium leather steering wheel, ambient lighting, and a very nice rear seat entertainment system. All buttons and switches are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime travel. Mercedes-Benz engineers optimized the 3.5 liter V6 engine for good fuel economy by taking advantage of the Atkinson principal. By delaying the closing of each intake valve, the intake stroke effectively becomes longer than the compression stroke, increasing thermal efficiency, which reduces fuel consumption and exhaust emissions, a press release said.
The hybrid system includes a convenient start-stop function that turns off the gasoline engine below nine mph when braking to a stop, the press release continued. When the S400 Hybrid is at a traffic light, the gasoline engine is off, but the AC compressor and steering pump are operated electrically, so air conditioning and power steering are fully operational, the release said. When the brakes are released, the gasoline engine is started automatically, and works with the electric motor for seamless performance, the release concluded.
While the S400 will never leave any black skid marks on the road, adequate launch was never a problem with the 275 horsepower engine. It moved out smoothly and with authority when the light turned green and quickly gained speed as I continued to press on the throttle. The S400 is a breath of fresh air that makes the full-size flagship Mercedes-Benz more economical with higher fuel mileage and more efficient with fewer emissions. EPA specs say 19 mpg/city and 26 mpg/highway but I received even better results driving moderately in city streets and just above the speed limit on the highway. It has all of the S-Class features and options so nothing is lost when owning the finest car in the world. The S400 Hybrid starts at $87,950.
© Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz For more information about Mercedes-Benz products, go to mbusa.com To see more photographs by Harvey Schwartz, go to autofotos.com
SPECIFICATIONS Model: 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid Price: $87,950.00 base, $$93,775.00 as tested including destination and delivery EPA mileage: 19 mpg/city, 26 mpg/highway Engine type: 3.5 liter DOHC V6/3-phase AC external rotor magneto Lithium Ion battery Horsepower: 295 combined Torque: 258 pound-feet at 3,000-5,000 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine/rear wheel drive Transmission: 7-speed automatic with steering column paddle shifters Front suspension: AirMatic adjustable ride height/automatic lowering/four-links anti-lift control, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar Rear suspension: AirMatic adjustable ride height/automatic lowering/multi-link, antisquat and anti-dive, gas-charged shocks and stabilizer bar Wheels/tires: 18X8.5 alloy wheels, 255/45R18 Continental Contact tires Brakes: Front: 13.2-inch drilled and ventilated discs/four-piston calipers 11.8-inch vented discs/single-sliding calipers ABS, Distronic Radar Sensing Brake, BA, EBD Dimensions Length: 206.5 inches Width (mirrors folded): 73.7 inches Height: 58 inches Curb weight: 4,474 pounds Performance 0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds Top speed: 130 mph