Mercedes-Benz's first hybrid passenger is on track for a mid-2008 introduction and in keeping with the brand's luxury status, with wear an S-Class badge.
Using a combination of a V6 petrol engine and a hybrid module, Mercedes-Benz hopes to lay claim to having the world's most economical luxury sedan in its car park. With a combined fuel consumption of 7.9 l/100 km, and CO2 emissions of 190 g/km, the S 400 BlueHybrid nevertheless promises blistering performance.
Based on the S350 and using an extensively modified drivetrain, output of 205 kW from the modified 3.5-litre V6 is augmented by the 15 kW from the magneto-electric motor for combined power of 220 kW.
The electric motor's 160 Nm is immediately available at acceleration producing a "boost effect" and contributing to a combined torque figure of 385 Nm.
The 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with variable valve control has been throughly revamped. A new cylinder head, different pistons and a modified camshaft with different camshaft control increase the output by 5 kW, while reducing fuel consumption at the same time.
According to Mercedes, S400 BlueHybrid is also the first production car to be fitted with a more efficient lithium-ion battery developed especially for use in cars.
The new high-voltage lithium-ion battery reportedly has several advantages over conventional nickel/metal hydride batteries, including high energy density and better electrical efficiency.
Due to its compact dimensions, it is able to replace the conventional starter battery, leaving the S400's boot capacity unchanged.
In addition to storing energy for the electric motor, the lithium-ion battery also supplies power to equipment such as the headlamps and other features.
Further energy saving tools employed include a stop-start function and regenerative braking.
The S400 Blue Hybrid is being considered for South Africa, Daimler SA told Wheels24.
"We have finalised a feasability study on bringing the vehicle to SA. This is quite an indepth process with pricing being one of the elements. We do not have a decision as yet."