Mercedes-Benz hopes to have a new claim to fame – that of the world’s most economical luxury model – as it prepares to show off two new hybrid models at January’s Detroit auto show. Opening a new chapter in the brand’s history, the four-cylinder E 300 BlueTec Hybrid and V6 E 400 Hybrid will make their global debuts at the Detroit auto show (January 14 to 22, 2012). Both models use the modular hybrid concept using lithium-ion batteries that can be used across a range of model series, with both petrol and diesel engines and in left- and right-hand drive vehicles. The system was first used by Merc in its S 400 Hybrid introduced in 2009.PETROL OR DIESELFor 2012, the automaker’s E 300 hybrid is available as both a sedan and Estate and promises to deliver 4.2 litres/100 km. It uses a four-cylinder diesel engine with 150kW and 500Nm, which is bolstered by an electric motor producing 20kW and 250Nm. The E 400 Hybrid produces 225kW and 370Nm from its petrol V6 engine, while also being supplemented by an electric engine delivering 20kW/250Nm. Both cars’ efficiency is improved by the use of a start/stop function, regenerative braking, pure electric modes and a “sailing” function.The new hybrid models will appear on international markets over the course of 2012. The E 300 BlueTec Hybrid is initially planned for launch on the European market, while the E 400 Hybrid will be made available on the American market first, followed by other countries such as Japan and China later.