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Mercedes’ electrifying limousine

New S-Class plug-in hybrid promises better performance than Porsche Panamera.

Mercedes-Benz has thrown down the gauntlet to Porsche, promising the plug-in hybrid version of its new S-Class sedan will be more powerful and travel further on battery power than the similarly powered Panamera.

Mercedes gave a sneak preview of the S500 Hybrid, as predicted by Drive earlier this year, at the launch of the new S Class in Toronto this week, announcing preliminary details before the car is officially revealed at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

The S500 Hybrid is powered by a 3.0-litre twin turbo engine backed by an electric motor with a battery that can be recharged from mains power, giving fuel consumption of around 3.0 L/100km and carbon dioxide emissions of less than 75g/km.

That’s because like any plug-in hybrid it can travel on purely electrical power and, according to Mercedes’ head of hybrid powertrains Dr Uwe Keller, it will out distance the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid’s official battery range of 36km.

“We’ve seen what the Porsche can do with the Panamera and we will not be below that because we are more efficient with our drivetrain and we have a little more long term experience with hybrid so far,” he said.

Although the S500 Hybrid is yet to have its fuel consumption and battery range officially certified, Dr Keller said that despite the Mercedes having a smaller 8.7kWH battery than the Porsche, factors such as the S-Class’ low aerodynamic drag figure should give it the edge for fully electric driving range.

“The Panamera has a slightly bigger battery with 9.4kWH but the drivetrain is not so efficient, the aerodynamics are not so efficient as the S-Class and obviously this is a limousine and the [Porsche] is more like a coupe,” he said

“This one is a full four seater with luxury and a long wheelbase which you do not have in the other, so getting that range is important.”

Mercedes used data gathered from use of its existing (non plug-in) S400 Hybrid, of which about 20,000 have been sold in the last three years.

“We were looking at how people were using these cars and what we found out was about 95 per cent of the customers are using the car over a range of less than 20 miles (32km),” Dr Keller said.

“So this gives you an idea of what we should use as a battery range for a plug-in.”

Using normal household electricity, the S500 Hybrid should take between two and 2.5 hours to charge.


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