Mercedes-Benz is preparing to turn the luxury car class on its head by building a hybrid petrol-electric version of its next S-class. It is shaping up to be a sensational car, offering the economy of a family saloon with all the performance typical of Merc’s luxury cars.
Codenamed W221 and due to arrive at next year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the sleek new luxury successor to the current S-class (pictured above) will come with the option of petrol-electric hybrid drive, according to supplier sources close to the German car maker.
The radical move is seen as a direct response to plans by luxury car rival Lexus, which has already revealed the RX400h – a hybrid version of the RX330 off-roader fitted with a petrol-electric drive system similar to that used in the Toyota Prius.
Mercedes’ latest hybrid system uses a V6 petrol engine and two electric motors charged by a nickel metal-hydride battery powering the rear wheels. According to a high-ranking insider, the package will endow next year’s S-class, with the performance of today’s S500 (0-62mph in 6.3sec), but with the 32.8mpg combined fuel consumption of the C200 Kompressor.