From £70,4707
S-class hybrid just doesn't cut the same mustard as its more powerful siblings

What is it?

With the S 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, a four-cylinder diesel engine is being offered to Mercedes-Benz 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 S 250 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 S 350 BlueTEC territory, with its vastly more refined and hardly inefficient powertrain.

Mercedes Benz S 300 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

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

Join the debate

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fadyady 7 July 2013

Impressive figures

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.

Randy Cam 5 July 2013

It does

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.

Ray6O 5 July 2013

Let's see what.......

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).