Traditionally Mercedes-Benz has defined model designations based on the displacement of the engine. Since all their vehicles used either gas or diesel engines the performance of the vehicle generally corresponded to the size of the engine. A higher number meant more performance. They would tack on modifiers like Kompressor to supercharged engines and this system generally worked fine even when the model numbers sometimes varied a bit from the actual engine size.

As Mercedes starts to introduce a variety of new powertrains over the coming years they've decided to adopt new model designations that more or less reflect the relative performance of the powertrain compared to a conventional one. For example the new S400 Hybrid has a 3.5L V-6 but the boost from the hybrid electric motor provides performance on a par with a 4.0L engine. This follows a similar example from Lexus with their hybrids and BMW with their turbocharged engines. The hybrids coming out starting in 2009 will be the first to get the new designations.

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]

Stuttgart - With new model designations, beginning in 2009 Mercedes-Benz successively plans to emphasise the technical innovations in its automobiles and the benefits they provide for customers. The number used in the model name then no longer will refer to the displacement of the internal combustion engine, but will indicate its actual performance potential. Addenda such as "BLUETEC" or "HYBRID" indicate the employed drive system technology.

As shown at the 2007 Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA), Mercedes-Benz is equipping future cars with combined drivetrains, like the S 400 HYBRID, for example. In this car, the performance range of the well-known V6 petrol engine in combination with a hybrid module not only ensures effortlessly superior and especially environment-friendly driving, but simultaneously enables a higher performance potential. In this case the number "400" used in place of the previously accustomed displacement figure "350" signals the tremendous performance potential of 220 kW/299 hp and maximum torque of 375 Newton metres.

The addition "BLUETEC" stands for the world's cleanest diesel technology. Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with it have the potential to meet even the most stringent future emission standards like EU6 and the American BIN-5 standard. "HYBRID" points to the electric motor which effectively supports the internal combustion engine and so helps to cut fuel consumption and emissions. As modular drive concept, "BLUETEC HYBRID" makes possible the world's most economical and cleanest cars with internal combustion engine. The letter at the beginning of the model designation, which indicates the model series, remains unchanged.

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