Mercedes-Benz confirms plug-in hybrid for S-Class

words - Ken Gratton
Missing pieces of the puzzle exposed: super-frugal S500 to be revealed in Frankfurt

Mercedes-Benz officially announced today that it will bring a plug-in hybrid version of the S-Class to market.

The information was given to Australian journalists by David McCarthy, Senior Manager Corporate Communications at Mercedes-Benz Australia. According to McCarthy, the S500 plug-in variant (not to be confused with the conventional S500), will be unveiled at Germany's Frankfurt motor show later this year.

For the moment, the company is not saying when a global launch for the fuel-efficient model will take place, but that's likely to be within six months of the reveal. If it comes to Australia at all, it could be a year or more after that.

McCarthy also announced the composition of the S-Class range for Australia, due around the fourth quarter of this year. The S350 BlueTEC will open the batting in short-wheelbase and long-wheelbase variants – a first for the entry-level model. Previously the diesel S350 has been available in just short-wheelbase form. Also available in both wheelbase variants is the S500 V8, with the AMG-tweaked S 63 to be sold as part of the range, in short-wheelbase form only.

During the second quarter of next year, the S600 long-wheelbase variant will join the range. McCarthy says too that there's also "90 to 95 per cent certainty of final sign-off" for the S400 twin turbo V6 and the S300 BlueTEC for Q2 next year. The S300 BlueTEC will be a conventional hybrid (ie: not a plug-in), powered by a 2.1-litre diesel four-cylinder, much like the E 300 BlueTEC with the same set-up.

Explaining why Australia will have both S400 and S500 models, when Mercedes-Benz opted to leave the E-Class range with an E400 variant only, McCarthy said that S-Class buyers traditionally chose the V8-engined variants in larger volumes than was the case in the E-Class range.

"There's always been significant demand for it in Australia," he said.

There won't be an S 65 in four-door form, but McCarthy hinted that it will be introduced in a different body variant. That would most likely be the S-Class coupe that is expected to be seen in Detroit early next year.

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Published : Friday, 5 July 2013
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