Mercedes will have its road-ready petrol-electric S-class hybrid limousine on show at the Frankfurt motor show this September, Autocar has learned. The Stuttgart-based car maker is keen to minimise Lexus's headstart in the luxury hybrid-electric niche of the new LS600h, and to strengthen its flagship line-up with a model that will have immediate appeal to environmentally-aware buyers. However, it won't be the only climate-friendly S-class on show in Frankfurt, it appears.
Uncovered: Mercedes' S-class "Direct Hybrid"
Two evergreen S-class limos will be in the headlines at Germany's domestic motor show in the autumn. One of them will be the road-going version of the petrol-electric hybrid S-class shown at Frankfurt in 2005 but, unlike Lexus LS600h, it won't become Mercedes' range-topper.The hybrid Merc will use the firm's 3.5-litre, 268bhp V6 petrol engine, working in tandem with an electric motor positioned ahead of the car's front-mounted automatic gearbox, and driving directly into it. That should be enough to increase power output to nearly 300bhp all told, to send it to 62mph in 7.5sec, but also return an average 35mpg.With those kind of vital statistics, the electric S-class is likely to slot in between the S350 and S500 petrol models on price; expect a tag in the region of £70,000 at launch in 2008.
Plus: cleaner, greener S-class diesel
The bigger surprise comes with the rumour that a new, cleaner, more frugal S-class diesel will star alongside the hybrid-electric version, with a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder engine and Mercedes' award-winning Bluetec exhaust gas clean-up system.Autocar's German sister magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports that it'll be powered by a twin-turbocharged version of Mercedes' 2.2-litre four-cylinder oil-burner, with power increased from 168 to 200bhp, torque from 260 to around 300lb ft. The bigger news for potential S-class buyers is that this new diesel S-class could also return a genuine 40mpg, and produce tax-friendly carbon dioxide emissions of under 200g/km. It'll also feature all of Mercedes' Bluetec exhaust treatment technology, which means it'll emit 80 per cent less harmful nitrogen oxide than a conventional diesel engine of the same size, as well as much less carbon monoxide and fewer particulates.
Benz's growing climate credentials
These two new S-class models are sure to have Mercedes executives crowing about the company's increasing sustainability when the Frankfurt show comes around – but they'll do so with good reason.The S-class is already a climate champion, according to German product watchdog TUV. Both it, and little brother the C-class, are the only cars in the world that the body has recognised with its rubber stamp of environmental friendliness. The C-class is made from an impressive 95 per cent recyclable materials.