You're watching a WheelsTV Top 200 Video Test Drive on the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid.
INTRO: The 2012 Mercedes-Benz S400 is a case study in how to bring hybrid fuel saving technology to a highly sophisticated luxury sedan without compromising performance, comfort or style. Called a mild-hybrid because it never moves on battery power alone, this full-size 5-passenger cruiser exhibits a commanding presence while riding on 18-inch aluminum wheels and lighting the way with bi-xenon automatic headlights and LED fog lights.
Equipped with AIRMATIC semi-active suspension that lowers the vehicle at higher speeds to enhance stability, the S400 delivers a relaxing ride while demonstrating its quick reflexes. Meanwhile, automatic 4-wheel leveling helps compensate for additional cargo or passengers.
PERFORMANCE: Introduced in 2010, the S400 Hybrid is the first production sedan to use a lithium-ion battery in its powertrain configuration. That battery combined with a 20 horsepower electric motor and a 275 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 gas fueled engine, sends a net 295 horsepower to the rear wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters.1
The small lightweight 120-volt lithium-ion battery resides in the engine compartment where it doesn't take up any trunk or interior space.
FUEL ECONOMY: Here are the EPA estimates for fuel economy:
FEATURES: The S400 Hybrid boasts the same interior room, luxury and convenience features as other S-Class vehicles. They come equipped with a fully digital instrument panel in which the center of the speedometer displays a multi-function readout for the trip computer and hybrid drivetrain status.
The COMAND cockpit management and data system provides centralized control from the console for the standard 40-gigabyte hard drive-based GPS navigation system as well as audio, video and hands-free calling. Information is displayed on an 8-inch color LCD screen.
Massaging front seats are part of the available Premium 2 Package and offer a range of settings from gentle to vigorous. We like this feature, particularly for long drives, and recommend the extra bit of comfort. Also available is the Rear Seat Package featuring 8-way power rear seats with separate climate control zones. Fully complementing the rear seat environment is the optional rear seat DVD entertainment system.
SAFETY: Standard safety features include 4-wheel antilock brakes, electronic stability program and a full array of front and side impact airbags. A 6-month complimentary subscription to Mercedes-Benz "mbrace" includes a lost vehicle locator and emergency responder notification when used with a compatible smartphone.
PRICING: Base MSRP for the 2012 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid is $91,850.
WARRANTY: The S400 Hybrid is backed by a 4-year, 50,000-mile powertrain warranty.
CLOSING: Designed to improve fuel economy while delivering legendary Mercedes-Benz comfort and performance, the 2012 S400 Hybrid transcends contradictions between motoring opulence and environmental consciousness.