Mercedes-Benz Just Unleashed It's First Plug-In Hybrid, And It's An S-Class

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is the gold standard for luxury sedans. Even with competitors from BMW, Audi, and Lexus nipping at its heels, the S-Class remains the benchmark in this segment for performance and refinement.

But until recently, Mercedes lacked a plug-in hybrid S-Class model.

With the introduction of BMW’s ActiveHybrid 7 Series — and with the Lexus LS460H already on the market — the S-Class’s absence from the segment was quite conspicuous.

But with the new S550 Plug-In Hybrid, Mercedes will join the party, and market its first-ever vehicle of this type.

“The S550 Plug-In Hybrid is the first luxury sedan with the performance of a V8 and the fuel consumption of a compact model,” boasted Mercedes-Benz board member Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber in a statement. “The greatest challenge in this is to translate efficiency into superior performance. In this respect there is a highly interesting parallel with our successful Formula 1 racing car, which likewise has a turbocharged V6 engine and a high-tech hybrid drive.”

When people think 'plug-in hybrid', this image pops to mind.

If you're afraid Mercedes has turned the S-Class into a very upscale interpretation of the Prius...

...the S550 Plug-In Hybrid is old-school S-Class all the way.

It's still a big, luxurious, high-performance Teutonic sedan.

The only major change is what's under the hood -- a 329hp biturbo V6...

...and a 114hp electric motor!

That electric motor's juice is stored in a 8.7 kWh high-voltage lithium ion battery, located under the trunk.

Recharging is through a plug located on the right side of the rear bumper. It can take anywhere from 2-4 hours for the battery to fully charge, depending on the type of charger being used.

Like other hybrids, the S550 will be able to recharge through regenerative braking.

Mercedes' trusty 7-speed automatic transmission handles the gearshifts.

The result is an S-Class that can rocket from 0-60mph in just 5.2 seconds, with a top speed of 130mph.

Even better, the plug-in hybrid S-Class can go up to 20 miles and reach a top speed of 87 mph under electric power alone.

The interior for the new plug-in hybrid version is unchanged from the current generation S-Class, which debuted in 2013.

The car's bank of infotainment screens are controlled by these scroll and touch pads.

However, to maximise operating efficiency, the car's computers can adjust its characteristics based on the condition of the road, traffic patterns, and driving style of the person behind the wheel.

Unfortunately, official EPA fuel economy figures and pricing data are not yet available. But this looks like quite a car!

Here's a luxury sedan that isn't quite so efficient...

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