Mercedes-Benz is finally ready to launch its S400 Hybrid sedan. We first saw the mild hybrid vehicle over a year ago when the German automaker announced it for production. About two months ago at the Chicago Auto Show, Mercedes-Benz told us the hybrid would be going on sale in the United States at some point in the summer. Now, that date gets whittled down even further with MB suggesting the car could be set for an on-sale date in August of this year alongside the rest of the restyled S-Class lineup.
The S400 Hybrid is the German automaker's first series-production vehicle that uses a hybridized powertrain. Unlike the 2-Mode ML450 Hybrid that is also on schedule for production later this year, the S400 uses a mild hybrid drivetrain with a 20 HP disk-shaped electric motor sandwiched between the 305 HP 3.5L V6 and 7-speed automatic transmission. A lithium ion battery pack will provide power for the electric motor along with the rest of the car's electrical needs. Press release after the break.
THE 2010 MERCEDES-BENZ S-CLASS
* S400 HYBRID: the first series-production Mercedes-Benz passenger car with hybrid drive and the world's first car with a lithium-ion battery
* Additional safety thanks to the latest driver assistance systems
* Modern, innovative design
After three years of the current S-Class, Mercedes-Benz is launching the restyled 2010 S-Class in August. With the very latest technology for even greater safety, as well as trailblazing innovations in comfort and drive technology, the Mercedes-Benz flagship is reasserting its leading position as the brand's innovation platform and benchmark for luxury sedans.
In the 2010 S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has improved the renowned safety level even further with a unique combination of innovative camera and radar-based driver assistance systems. These include Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and the PRE-SAFE® brake system linked to the proximity regulating radar, which intervenes autonomously before an impending rear-end collision and acts like an invisible crumple zone. Other innovations in the 2010 S-Class include the ATTENTION ASSIST driver drowsiness monitor and Active Body Control with automatic crosswind stabilization.
The new S400 HYBRID is also celebrating its debut. As the first series-production Mercedes-Benz passenger car with hybrid drive, this S-Class model is the world's most economical luxury car with a gasoline engine. Its estimated combined fuel consumption of 29 miles per gallon sets a new worldwide benchmark in this vehicle segment.
"The S400 HYBRID is a major milestone on our road towards emission-free mobility", says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "Our first series-production hybrid passenger car exemplifies the long-term, sustainability-oriented development strategy of Mercedes-Benz, which has a clearly defined aim: economical and environmentally compatible premium automobiles, with no compromises in terms of safety, comfort and a superior driving experience." The S400 HYBRID is also a trailblazer where energy storage is concerned: the new luxury sedan is the first series production car in the world to be equipped with the very latest lithium-ion battery technology. "In this way the S-Class and the Mercedes-Benz brand are doing important pioneering work for the electrification of the automobile."
The new hybrid model combines a low fuel consumption and a high level of environmental compatibility with superior performance: the internal combustion engine and the hybrid module develop a combined output of 295 hp, and a combined maximum torque of 284 lb-ft. (The electric motor contributes 20 hp and 118 lb-ft to the powertrain).
With 270,000 units sold world-wide since its launch, the W 221-series S-Class is the world's most successful luxury sedan, and seamlessly continues the success story of the flagship model in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. Since 1951, when the model 220 began the direct lineage of the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz has delivered around 3.3 million passenger cars from this model series to customers.
The U.S. line-up includes the S400 HYBRID, the 382-hp V8-powered S550 and all-wheel-drive S550 4MATIC as well as the high-performance 518-hp S63 AMG. V12 offerings include the 510-hp S600 and the top-of-the-line 604-hp S65 AMG. The 2010 S-Class will be in U.S. showrooms beginning in August.
Unique combination of driver assistance systems
An absolutely unique combination of ultra-modern assistance and protection systems is available for the 2010 S-Class. Many of these systems are also available for the new E-Class, which debuts this summer. The new assistance systems turn the models in the E and S-Class into "intelligent" partners for their driver. The car is able to "see", "feel", respond reflexively and act autonomously to prevent accidents or mitigate their effects. Mercedes-Benz also uses cameras in these systems - these are able to look well ahead, monitor the car's surroundings and interpret typically critical situations. One example is the optional Adaptive Highbeam Assist. This system recognizes oncoming or leading vehicles and then controls the headlamps to ensure the best possible beam range without dazzling other drivers on the road.
The Sindelfingen-based engineers have also developed Night View Assist further – Night View Assist PLUS is equipped with a special pedestrian detection function: as soon as the system detects pedestrians ahead of the car, they are highlighted on the display to make it easier for the driver to see them.
Lane Keeping Assist is another system that "looks ahead" for even safer driving. The system's computer is able to recognize lane markings by evaluating the contrasting images of the road surface and the markings. If the vehicle leaves the lane unintentionally, the driver is warned by short vibrations of the steering wheel. Unlike conventional systems of this kind, the Mercedes-Benz system is able to evaluate the driver's activities as well and can reliably ascertain whether the car is leaving its lane intentionally or not. Therefore, there is no warning if the driver accelerates before overtaking or merging onto a highway, brakes heavily, or enters a curve.
Drowsiness detection on the basis of more than 70 parameters
With the driver drowsiness monitor, ATTENTION ASSIST, the 2010 S-Class has very sensitive monitors for the attention level of its driver and can warn them in time when they becomes drowsy. This innovative technology continuously monitors more than 70 different parameters. Once the high-resolution steering angle sensor recognizes the steering behavior that typically indicates the onset of drowsiness, a warning signal is sounded and "ATTENTION ASSIST. Time for a break!" appears in the instrument cluster.
Mercedes-Benz has also improved the long and medium-range radar used by Brake Assist PLUS and DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control. Both systems assist the driver during emergency braking. If the driver is distracted and fails to recognize the immediate danger of a rear-end collision, the PRE-SAFE®Brake is able to intervene and brake the vehicle independently. For the 2010 S-Class the developers in Sindelfingen have improved this system even further: if the driver fails to react even after an acoustic and visual warning, the PRE-SAFE®Brake is able to activate the maximum braking pressure around 0.6 seconds before what is now recognized as an unavoidable accident -- an emergency braking action that can significantly mitigate the severity of the impact. The system therefore acts as something like an "electronic crumple zone".
Detailed fine-tuning has also given the 2010 S-Class better driving dynamics and agility. This is in large measure due to the new electro-hydraulic Direct-Steer system, where the ratio varies with the steering angle.
New: Active Body Control (ABC) compensates for crosswinds
Mercedes-Benz developers have also added a crosswind stabilization function to Active Body Control (ABC) suspension. For this purpose ABC uses the yaw rates and lateral acceleration sensors of the Electronic Stability Program ESP® to vary the wheel load distribution via the ABC spring struts, depending on the direction and intensity of the crosswind. This enables the effects of crosswinds to be compensated, or reduced to a minimum in the case of strong gusts.
S400 HYBRID: the world's most economical gasoline-engined luxury sedan
The 2010 S-Class also plays a pioneering role where its drive system is concerned: "The modular hybrid concept sets the new standard for efficient, clean and superior motoring pleasure in all vehicle segments, and is therefore a driving force for the premium automobile of the future", says Dr. Thomas Weber, the member of the Daimler AG Executive Board responsible for corporate research and development at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The new S400 HYBRID is the first car to be designed on the basis of the highly intelligent modular concept developed by Mercedes-Benz to give its customers the best hybrid solution for their requirements. The S400 HYBRID, which is a true technological trendsetter with this concept, features all the necessary components:
• a compact yet powerful electric motor
• the accompanying operating electronics
• a modern lithium-ion storage battery with a high capacity.
The compact hybrid module combines the hybrid functions of an automatic start-stop system and energy recuperation. In several respects this means that the S400 HYBRID sets a new standard in its class, making it the world's most economical luxury sedan with a gasoline engine. Dr. Thomas Weber: "This demonstrates that Mercedes-Benz is able to combine sustainable mobility with the claim of automotive premium positioning - with vehicles that are efficient and environmentally compatible, without having to accept compromises in terms of safety, comfort and superior driving refinement. At the same time the S400 HYBRID dispels the myth that sustainable mobility is only possible with small cars."
The combined fuel economy for the S400 HYBRID is estimated at 29 miles per gallon, a 30-percent increase over the S550. This figure is accompanied by a truly superior performance potential: the modified 3.5-liter gasoline engine develops 275 hp, while the electric motor generates 20 hp and a starting torque of 118 lb-ft.
The new Mercedes-Benz S400 HYBRID is based on a V6 version of the S-Class and features an extensively modified drive train. This encompasses a further development of the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine, an additional magneto-electric motor, the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission specially configured for the hybrid module, the necessary operating and control electronics, the transformer and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery.
During braking the electric motor acts as a generator and is able to recover kinetic energy by a process known as recuperation. During this process the electric motor works together seamlessly with the engine brake of the internal combustion engine and the conventional wheel brakes. The recuperated energy is stored by a compact but efficient lithium-ion battery in the engine compartment and retrieved when required. Major advantages over conventional nickel/metal hydride batteries include a higher energy density and greater electrical efficiency combined with more compact dimensions and a low battery weight. Thanks to space-saving installation in the engine compartment, the trunk capacity and generous interior dimensions remain unchanged. The hybrid module also has a convenient start-stop function.
Comfort: the latest multimedia technology
With its 6.5-inch color display screen, the standard COMAND system with GPS navigation has been refined with a forty-gigabyte hard drive as well as an integrated six-disc CD-DVD player and a Music Register for around 1,000 MP3 tracks. HD Digital Radio and Zagat Restaurant ratings are also available.
A new media interface makes it easier than ever to connect an iPod, USB stick, memory card and other devices. Music tracks can be indicated on the COMAND display located on the center console as well as a smaller display in the center of the instrument cluster and they can be selected with the buttons on the multi-function steering wheel.
Any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone will work hands-free – even with the phone in a pocket or purse, the audio is automatically muted when a call is made or received and callers are heard over the audio system speakers. In addition, phone book info can be displayed by the COMAND system.
Design: a muscular, self-assured presence
The modified design reflects the effortless superiority and power of the S-Class sedan. It is characterized by the more pronounced arrow-shape of the radiator grille, plus a new front bumper with a discreet light-catching contour and a chrome strip below the cooling air intakes. Exhaust tailpipes of all S-Class variants are visibly integrated into the rear bumper. The headlamps incorporate bi-xenon technology and LED indicators on the lower edge of the headlamp as standard. Eye-catching highlights on the S400 HYBRID are provided by the two round foglamps and daytime driving lights on each side of the front bumper. Their location at the outer edges of the bumper underlines the muscular character of the S400 HYBRID.
An even more dynamic look is provided by the Premium 1 package, which is standard on the majority of the model line and includes striking LED arrays for daytime driving lights, indicators and marker lights. They lend an unmistakable day-and-night design to the front end. The rear end is characterized by tail lights in an innovative LED design. Here too, a total of 52 LEDs in the form of a double-C form an unmistakable light signature.
Mercedes-Benz also makes more use of light as a styling element in the interior via the standard ambient lighting, now with a choice between three lighting moods: solar (amber), neutral (white) and polar (ice-blue).
Interior: carefully selected materials and first-class finishing
The multifunction steering wheel of the S-Class has also been modified by the Mercedes-Benz designers: the rim and airbag module are lined with soft premium leather as standard. The new, flatter airbag module also lends a sporty touch to the multifunction steering wheel. Mercedes-Benz engineers have also implemented specific aerodynamic measures to reduce wind noise, which also contributes to greater traveling comfort.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class will be in U.S. showrooms beginning in