Mercedes Unveils S500 Plug-In Hybrid

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German carmaker has managed to combine a 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds with 78 mpg economy.

Four years after unveiling the Vision S500 Plug-In Hybrid concept, Mercedes has finally revealed a production variant based on the new 2014 S-Class. Power comes from a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 rated at 328 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque paired with a lithium-ion battery-powered electric motor that adds 107 hp and 250 lb-ft. The result is a 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds and a top speed governed to 155 mph. Multiple driving modes come in the form of Hybrid; E-Mode (pure electric); E-Save (reserving the fully charged battery for later use); and Charge (battery charges while driving).

Mercedes claims an 18-mile range in pure electric mode and an economy of 78 mpg is possible in Hybrid mode, all thanks to the carmaker's anticipatory Intelligent Hybrid energy management system. This optimizes energy efficiency by accounting for driving conditions and driver input, while adjusting for the most likely route taken over the next five miles using the car's navigation data. So when approaching a downhill stretch of road, part of the battery's charge will be used to help out the engine, switching to regenerative mode on the decline to top up the battery. The S500 Plug-In Hybrid joins the S400 Hybrid and diesel-electric S300 BlueTEC Hybrid as the third hybrid S-Class in the range.

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