It was Tokyo's turn to meet and greet Mercedes' new S-Class Hybrid today and suffice to say Stuttgart's new eco warrior caused quite a stir in the ranks.

Mercedes pulled out all the stops, launching in Midtown, one of Tokyo's classiest addresses. In the hall, a whole range of freshened S-Class and AMG models were parked up. For the Japanese media, though, there was really only one headliner, and that was the S-Class Hybrid.

Mercedes S400 BlueHybrid first drive and pictures

First, it's a clever new hi-tech Mercedes, and that always goes down well in Japan, where Mercedes' engineering and brand power pack serious cred.

Second, it blazes a new trail. Mercedes is the first importer to bring a hybrid to Japan, where of course Toyota and Lexus rule the roost. So, a challenge, then....

Hans Tempel, Mercedes Japan boss, didn't mention the LS 600h by name but still you couldn't help doing the mental gymnastics.

The Lexus, with 5.0-litre V8+ 4WD full hybrid system versus the Mercedes with 3.5-litre V6 and simpler 'mild' hybrid system and rear-drive. Hmmm. So which would you choose?

Just looking at the numbers, the Mercedes is just ahead on economy and C02 (35.9 mpg and 186 g/km), as it probably should be. But it can't run in silent battery mode like the Lexus, so lacks zero emissions capability.

The Mercedes may well be a more involving drive but in the end, it all comes down to price and that happens to be the thick end of £94k. Yes folks, almost exactly what Lexus charges for the LS 600h here....Co-incidence? Surely not.

In the end, though, I suspect a lot of it will come down to image. Mercedes has it by the bucketloads and moneyed Japanese like things that are premium, shiny, hi-tech and new.

Therefore in Tokyo (where there no S-Class diesels), the new S-Class Hybrid is sure to be a hit.