A Premium Hybrid without the Hybrid Premium – Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid

By dancurranjr On March 15th, 2010

Although many hybrid cars are bought to make an environmental statement, a lot of people consider the choice of a hybrid on more dispassionate grounds. They’re looking to get better gas mileage, but the question alway is: Does the fuel savings offset the hybrid model’s extra cost?

That’s because in most cases, where a vehicle is offered with a choice of hybrid or conventional powertrains, the hybrid version is usually more expensive, sometimes a lot more.

That’s certainly the case with the ultra-luxury hybrids out there: the BMW Activehybrid 7 will run you $19,250 more than a 750i, and a Lexus LS hybrid carries a $34,350 premium over an LS460L AWD. With the Mercedes-Benz S-class, however, the hybrid is actually the least expensive variant: an S400 Hybrid undercuts the S550 by $3650.

So even before your first refuel, you’re ahead of the game. And speaking of refueling, the S400 Hybrid gets a not-insignificant 5 mpg better gas mileage than the S550, in both city and highway ratings. Still, its 19/26 mpg figures don’t exactly make it an economy car.

And there is a price to pay in performance. The S400’s 0-to-60 mph time of 7.2 seconds isn’t exactly slow, but neither is it the 5.4-second rocket blast of the S550. Nor does the S400 Hybrid’s big V-6 equal the muscle of competitor hybrid’s V-8’s (their V-8s help explain their higher prices). Still, the S400 is very quick pulling away from a stop, and its powertrain exhibits the same liquid smoothness as the S550. It’s only once you’re moving along that foot-to-the-floor acceleration requests are met with a noticeably less urgent response than in the V-8-powered car. When the S400 is doing its hybrid thing, shutting down the engine as you brake to a stop, restarting when you remove your foot from the brake, the processes are so transparent that the only way to tell is by watching the tachometer.

At $88,825 (before options), the S400 Hybrid is hardly an economy car, nor is its 19 mpg city fuel economy especially green. But the fact that it’s both significantly greener and also a bit cheaper than other S-class models and competitors’ hybrids, make a very strong case for the S400 Hybrid as a smart buy amongst megabuck sedans. And I’d guess that even rich folks are happy when they can both go green and save some green at the same time.

SOURCE: Automobile

Entry Level Mercedes C Class Coupe Hybrid a Possibility

By dancurranjr On January 16th, 2010

Mercedes entered the entry level luxury vehicle category years ago with it C230 Kompressor coupe.  The vehicle was a capable model with strong performance, solid handling and a refined driving experience.  Mercedes buyers showed little interest and sales were unexpectedly low.  Then BMW entered the same segment with its recent 1 Series.  A capable performer on all fronts with a price that undercut the 3 Series by thousands and according to sales numbers, the model is a hit.

Why is the BMW a success and the Mercedes a failure?  It could easily be a result of the economic times right now and Mercedes seems to think so too as they are now considering a second go around at the entry level luxury segment.  The company is expected to offer a 2 door C-Class to compete with BMW’s 1 Series, but this time around Mercedes will offer a hybrid option as a a fuel efficient alternative to competitors.

The hybrid is rumored to be powered by a V6 engine from the Mercedes lineup.  It will be naturally aspirated and is expected to be the most efficient vehicle in its class.   Along with the hybrid option, Mercedes is considering a twin turbo V6, a 5.5 liter twin turbo V8 AMG model, and a DOHC V6 as the base engine.  Interestingly, no diesel option has been reported.

The C-Class coupe is expected to go on sale in 2011.  There is no word if the hybrid option will be available immediately at launch and pricing has yet to be announced.  Stay with us for more details as they emerge.

SOURCE: All Cars Electric