Mercedes-Benz has launched the new S400 hybrid model: the first series-production Mercedes-Benz passenger car with hybrid drive and the world’s first car with a lithium-ion battery.
“The S400 HYBRID is a major milestone on our road towards emission-free mobility”, says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars.
“Our first series-production hybrid passenger car exemplifies the long-term, sustainability-oriented development strategy of Mercedes-Benz, which has a clearly defined aim: economical and environmentally compatible premium automobiles, with no compromises in terms of safety, comfort and a superior driving experience.”
The S400Â hybrid is also a trailblazer where energy storage is concerned: the new luxury sedan is the first series production car in the world to be equipped with the very latest lithium-ion battery technology.
The new hybrid model combines a low fuel consumption and a high level of environmental compatibility with superior performance: the internal combustion engine and the hybrid module develop a combined output of 295 hp, and a combined maximum torque of 284 lb-ft.
“The modular hybrid concept sets the new standard for efficient, clean and superior motoring pleasure in all vehicle segments, and is therefore a driving force for the premium automobile of the future”, says Dr. Thomas Weber, the member of the Daimler AG Executive Board responsible for corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The new S400 HYBRID is the first car to be designed on the basis of the highly intelligent modular concept developed by Mercedes-Benz to give its customers the best hybrid solution for their requirements.
The S400 hybrid, which is a true technological trendsetter with this concept, features all the necessary components: a compact yet powerful electric motor, the accompanying operating electronics and a modern lithium-ion storage battery with a high capacity.
The combined fuel economy for the S400 HYBRID is estimated at 29 miles per gallon, a 30-percent increase over the S550.
This figure is accompanied by a truly superior performance potential: the modified 3.5-liter gasoline engine develops 275 hp, while the electric motor generates 20 hp and a starting torque of 118 lb-ft.
The new Mercedes-Benz S400Â hybrid is based on a V6 version of the S-Class and features an extensively modified drive train.
This encompasses a further development of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, an additional magneto-electric motor, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission specially configured for the hybrid module, the necessary operating and control electronics, the transformer and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery.
During braking the electric motor acts as a generator and is able to recover kinetic energy by a process known as recuperation.
During this process the electric motor works together seamlessly with the engine brake of the internal combustion engine and the conventional wheel brakes.
The recuperated energy is stored by a compact but efficient lithium-ion battery in the engine compartment and retrieved when required.
Major advantages over conventional nickel/metal hydride batteries include a higher energy density and greater electrical efficiency combined with more compact dimensions and a low battery weight.
Thanks to space-saving installation in the engine compartment, the trunk capacity and generous interior dimensions remain unchanged.
The hybrid module also has a convenient start-stop function.
With its 6.5-inch color display screen, the standard COMAND system with GPS navigation has been refined with a forty-gigabyte hard drive as well as an integrated six-disc CD-DVD player and a Music Register for around 1,000 MP3 tracks. HD Digital Radio and Zagat Restaurant ratings are also available.
A new media interface makes it easier than ever to connect an iPod, USB stick, memory card and other devices.
Music tracks can be indicated on theÂ comand display located on the center console as well as a smaller display in the center of the instrument cluster and they can be selected with the buttons on the multi-function steering wheel.
Any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone will work hands-free, even with the phone in a pocket or purse, the audio is automatically muted when a call is made or received and callers are heard over the audio system speakers. In addition, phone book info can be displayed by theÂ comand system.
The modified design reflects the effortless superiority and power of the S-Class sedan. It is characterized by the more pronounced arrow-shape of the radiator grille, plus a new front bumper with a discreet light-catching contour and a chrome strip below the cooling air intakes.
Exhaust tailpipes of all S-Class variants are visibly integrated into the rear bumper. The headlamps incorporate bi-xenon technology and LED indicators on the lower edge of the headlamp as standard.
Eye-catching highlights on the S400 HYBRID are provided by the two round foglamps and daytime driving lights on each side of the front bumper.
Their location at the outer edges of the bumper underlines the muscular character of the S400 hybrid.
Mercedes-Benz also makes more use of light as a styling element in the interior via the standard ambient lighting, now with a choice between three lighting moods: solar (amber), neutral (white) and polar (ice-blue).
The multifunction steering wheel of the S-Class has also been modified by the Mercedes-Benz designers: the rim and airbag module are lined with soft premium leather as standard.
The new, flatter airbag module also lends a sporty touch to the multifunction steering wheel.
Mercedes-Benz engineers have also implemented specific aerodynamic measures to reduce wind noise, which also contributes to greater traveling comfort.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 hybrid will be in U.S. showrooms beginning in August 2009.