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Mercedes-Benz hasn't publicly announced an official on-sale date yet for its first hybrid models beyond the first half of 2009. However, BusinessWeek is reporting that the S400 BlueHybrid will go on sale in Europe in June 2009. The big gas-electric luxury sedan is due to arrive on U.S. roads one year from now. The S400 will use a lithium-ion battery pack and will likely be the first from a major automaker to do so. With a current U.S. base price of $86,700 for an S550, it's not quite clear where

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.