An attentive Autoblog reader spotted what appears to be a prototype Mercedes S400 Hybrid in a Houston Texas parking lot the other day. The test car's badges were all taped over, but the S400 and hybrid badging on the trunk lid seems to match the show concept. The S400 was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show last fall and will launch into production in mid-2009 at about the same time as the ML450 Hybrid. While the SUV will use the Two-Mode hybrid system developed with GM, Chrysler, and BMW, the S400 will use the mild hybrid system created with BMW. The mild hybrid uses a 15kW motor sandwiched between the transmission and 3.5L V6. The Mercedes mild hybrid system is likely to be the first mass production hybrid with a lithium ion battery. At the auto show introduction, Mercedes claimed that the full-size hybrid luxury sedan will achieve nearly 30 mpg.
[Source: Chris N]