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S-class hybrid just doesn't cut the same mustard as its more powerful siblings

Our Verdict

Mercedes-Benz S-class

The Mercedes-Benz S-class, the self-proclaimed ‘best car in the world’, is back. Or is it?

What is it?: 

With the S300 BlueTEC Hybrid, a four-cylinder diesel engine is being offered to S-class buyers in the UK for the first time. The 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in the new model was offered in the S250 in the previous-gen S-class, a car that never made it to these shores.

Now it’s back in the new line-up, armed with hybrid assistance, to produce some deeply impressive numbers, and a place on UK price lists.

The CO2 figure of 115g/km and combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg seem almost implausibly low for a car of the S-class’s size and weight and more akin to that of an efficient family hatchback; but the boffins at Mercedes reckon a real-world figure of even 70mpg might be possible — should you have the most feather-like of right foots. Crikey. 

What's it like?: 

Sadly, it’s better on paper than it is in reality. While those figures are deeply impressive and achievable, you have to remember this is a luxury car. And the powertrain just doesn’t have that ludicrously high level of polish and refinement you automatically associate with the S-class.

Not that it’s particularly noisy; yes, there is a grumble in the background that is absent in six-and eight-cylinder S-classes, but the cabin is well insulated and helps mask the sound. It can’t mask the vibrations into the cabin though that the powertrain produces; feeling any vibration into the cabin from the powertrain is an alien concept in an S-class.

Performance is strong enough, and it’s possible to creep along on electric power alone at low speeds and when backing off the throttle at mid-range speeds. And the fine ride quality and interior comfort, such famous S-class traits, are not lost in its transformation into fuel sipper. 

Should I buy one?: 

This powertrain is a case of downsizing being stretched a little too far. It’s far from being a bad car, it’s just not the powertrain we’d want our S-class served up with.

For the same expected price  —when the model arrives in the first quarter of 2014 at around £65,000 — you will be into S350 BlueTEC territory, with its vastly more refined and hardly inefficient powertrain.

Mercedes Benz S300 BlueTEC Hybrid

Price £65,000 set; 0-62mph 7.6sec; Top speed 149mph; Economy 64.2mpg; CO2 115g/km; Kerb weight tbc; Engine 2143cc, 4 cyls, turbodiesel, plus electric motor; Power 228bhp (combined); Torque 435lb ft (combined); Gearbox 7-speed automatic

Join the debate

Comments
5

5 July 2013

I think that the new S-class is such a good looking car from every angle. Especially the rear. However, in the second picture I think it looks horrible; the number place is way to small. It makes the car look so tall and to narrow. It looks a lot better with a standard English or German number plate.

5 July 2013

Whilst the 4 cylinder S class saloon is undoubtably less smooth than the 6 and 8 cylinder models it is also far cheaper to run. I expect this car will be a big seller of the range in Europe where fuel is so expensive. I believe most S class saloons are bought by businesses and cost matters especially the taxes.

maxecat

5 July 2013

The Merc fanbois make of this. Wonder who'll be first to slag off another brand in order to prove the point? Pointless.

More relevantly, how crap us this website? Bloody thing bounces up and down several times before you get a chance to do anything. Pointless adverts everywhere. You have to scroll down to see the headlines. Designed by an 8 year old (and not a gifted autistic one either).

5 July 2013

paint the picture that Mercedes are woefully behind in the hybrid stakes. In saying that, most manufacterers are rationalising their engine variants to accommodate this new regime. Their 2.1 diesel is a proven unit which excels in other models. It's just a shame that it doesn't encourage a more positive output from the alternative fuel cell.

7 July 2013

Impressive figures all around for a luxury car of the S-Class calibre. The interior is a treat and a massive improvement on the outgoing S-Class.

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