The S-Class achieves admirable fuel economy on the official test but finds itself in the ‘Also Consider’ section as it is a full class larger than our usual Executive cars, with a price tag to match. This is actually the second generation of 400 Hybrid with the original model staking claim to being the first production hybrid to use lithium-ion batteries.
For many the S-Class remains the default choice if you’re looking for a full size executive saloon, particularly if you’ll be spending more time in the back than in the driver’s seat. The 400 Hybrid adds to your options by providing a petrol S-Class with CO2 emissions to match diesel models.
The hybrid system is deceptively simple with a single electric motor producing just 27 bhp sandwiched in between the engine and the silky smooth 7G-Tronic Plus gearbox. However the real news is that the slim motor can produce 184 lb.ft. of torque instantaneously, so don’t be fooled, it packs enough punch to help the petrol engine out when needed.
The petrol engine in question is a 3.5-litre V6 which on its own can kick out 273 lb.ft. of torque between 3,500 and 5,250 rpm. Cleverly, although it is connected to the motor and gearbox, it can be de-clutched so that the electric motor can drive the car without having to spin the engine.
Mercedes has managed to move the game on again with fuel consumption reduced by 20% compared to the original. It can’t quite match the fuel consumption of its diesel siblings, but CO2 emissions, price and performance are all closely matched whilst the Hybrid attracts less company car tax. It is an intriguing mix which fails to land any knock-out blows but does provide a genuine conundrum of whether to pick a diesel or petrol hybrid S-Class.