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Economy versions of the Mercedes S-Class: fuel-saving luxury

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Economy versions of the Mercedes S-Class
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E in detail almost arouses nostalgic feelings : As was common with Mercedes up to the 1970s, the fuel filler flap is at the very back - on the S 500 Plug in Hybrid it is below the right rear light. If you open it, however, you have arrived at the modern age in one fell swoop. Instead of a filler neck, the charging socket of the hybrid battery is hidden at the rear, fuel is now supplied through a tank opening on the side, as is now customary.

The clever interplay of the two types of energy reduces the NEDC consumption to an impressive 2.8 liters per unit 100 kilometers, which means that the plug-in, which is only available in the long version, not only undercuts the conventional diesel S 350 Bluetec, but also remains well below the weaker hybrid brothers S 400 Hybrid and S 300 Bluetec Hybrid.

The driving profile decides

However, the consumption standard means well with the plug-in group. If you manage 25 kilometers purely electrically, you can cut the consumption of the combustion engine in half, for 50 kilometers by three, etc. Mind you, a consumption that was also determined under ideal conditions on the roller dynamometer. What plug-in hybrids consume in practice depends even more than usual on the driving profile.

Those who get to work purely electrically, charge during the day and power home in the evening, burns the whole week no fuel. The longer the distance, the less the battery blessing will have. Mercedes specifies a battery range of 33 kilometers, which, however, could not be reproduced in the test.

With a relaxed driving style far this side of the electric top speed of 140 km /h, but with activated heating it was over after 21 kilometers. When it was then charged via a household socket, 8.3 kWh flowed into the battery in a good four and a half hours. The large power storage in the trunk, however, reduces its volume to 395 liters.

Mercedes S-500 in 5.1 seconds to 100

Fear of range is still a foreign word for S-500 drivers, after all, there is a V6 petrol engine on board, which with biturbo charging and 333 hp wants to be much more than a range extender. In hybrid mode, it balances the 2.3-tonne run together with the 85 kW electric motor to 100 km /h in 5.1 seconds - and thus reaches the level of theeight-cylinder S 500, with which it also shares the basic price of 109,778 euros.

340 electric Newton meters, which are ready right from the start, plug any turbo holes that may be present. In addition, they bridge the brief moment in sailing mode with almost no jerks until the switched off gasoline engine takes over when it needs power. The engineers have also pulled out all the consumption registers: If the navigation system reports on an incline that it is going downhill again, the battery is disproportionately discharged - after all, recuperation can take place on a downhill gradient. When driving cautiously, the S 500 was content with 7.4 l /100 km, which is far from the norm, but in view of its size and power reserves, it is just as impressive as the practical consumption of 9.8 l /100 km.

S-400 without a chance against S-500

What the consumption is worth becomes apparent after switching to the S 400 Hybrid, which also combines an electric motor and a gasoline engine. Its V6 draws from 3.5 liters instead of three liters, but has to do without turbocharging. In addition, he is only supported by a 20 kW electrical assistant, who is fed by a slim 0.8 kWh battery. After all, it is so small that it doesn't nibble on the trunk volume.

If you stroke the accelerator, you can cover short distances of up to three kilometers in crawl mode electrically. In contrast to the plug-in, however, the hybrid module is not intended as an independent drive source, but offers the option of recovering braking energy and using it for propulsion. The S 400 recuperates up to a delay of 0.3 g and is therefore just as powerful as the much more powerful hybrid unit in the S 500.

With eco and practical values ​​of 7.5 and 9.7, respectively l /100 km, the S 400 with a short wheelbase and five hundredweight less on the hips is almost on par. Since the suction gasoline engine lacks pulling power, the seven-speed automatic shifts down frequently, which creates more unrest. He sees no country against the sovereignly rushing 500cc, but he also gets the equivalent of a compact class car cheaper.

Save fuel effectively with the S-300

If you are serious about saving fuel, you can't ignore the S 300 Bluetec Hybrid. With it, the engineers combined the small hybrid module from the S 400 with the four-cylinder all-purpose weapon OM 651. The result is a small-car-like minimum consumption of 5.2 liters on the eco circuit - and the knowledge that four cylinders are sufficient even in the luxury class when they tackle the problem with 500 Nm of torque and the combustion noises are so meticulously muted as in the S-Class.

If the driver takes off the accelerator up to a speed of 160 km /h, it becomes even quieter. Then the combustion engine switches off and uses its momentum. The weakHowever, like the S 400, the electric motor, with which one does not become a traffic obstacle in play streets, does not create any real electrical feelings.

Nitrogen oxide emissions reduced by approx. 90 percent

The S 350 Bluetec once again proves how difficult it is to beat a classic diesel in terms of consumption. Although it neither sails nor recuperates, it undercuts the two gasoline hybrids by around a liter. Only the electrified four-cylinder in the S 300, which is equally expensive, is able to outdo the 620 Nm powerful and somewhat more sophisticated running V6.

Since there are no energy flow diagrams to study on the on-board monitor, the driver can rely entirely on the Concentrate on the great comfort of air suspension, seats or air conditioning including surface heating of the armrests. Well-being is not even burdened by a bad environmental conscience. Urea injection and SCR catalytic converter reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by around 90 percent. Today diesel drivers can thankfully forego the nostalgic feelings of a black soot cloud.


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