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Mercedes-Benz's premium S-Class is known for many things, but environmental friendliness isn't one of them. That might change with the introduction of less fuelish models like the S400 Hybrid. It's a relatively new way to enjoy luxury without the guilt of sucking down (as much) fuel and polluting the atmosphere (as much).
With the exception of a few additional standard features, the 2013 S400 Hybrid carries over from the 2012 unchanged. Under the hood, this eco-friendlier luxury car features a 3.5-liter V6 paired with an electric motor. The combination nets the S400 295 horsepower and 284 pound-feet of torque. Power is directed through a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters to the rear wheels, where it launches the S400 Hybrid to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds.
Speed and power are great, but fuel economy is the focal point of all hybrid models and the S400 Hybrid is no exception. Unfortunately, this full-size sedan pulls off a relatively disappointing 19 mpg city and 25 mpg highway. This is doubly disappointing when you consider its diesel-powered stablemate—the S350 BlueTEC—delivers 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.
Handsome 18-inch wheels complement the S400's elegant styling. The S-Class looks like it actually is the CEO of a large company—not just his car. But its good looks don't disguise the fact that it costs more than rivals from BMW and Audi, and can't beat their fuel economy figures.
The S400 Hybrid comes in only one luxury-packed trim level, which includes: an AIRMATIC adjustable suspension; four-piston front calipers with perforated rotors; bi-xenon headlights with curve lighting; LED daytime running lights; 18-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels with performance all-season tires; a wood- and leather-wrapped steering wheel; ambient interior lighting with multiple colors; eucalyptus interior trim; PARKTRONIC parking guide; a rearview camera; grain-leather upholstery on the seats, armrests, side bolsters and head rests; 12-way power seats with massage, heat and ventilation; a universal garage door opener; an electronic trunk closer; a hard-drive-based navigation system; and a Harman/Kardon LOGIC7 audio system with a 7.2 GB music register, a six-disc CD/DVD changer, 15 speakers, 600 watts and an MP3 interface.
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Better city mpg, lower price and quicker to 60 mph, but cramped trunk
Good city mpg, powerful V8 engine and all-wheel drive standard, but very expensive and poor highway mpg
Powerful drivetrain, 5.2 seconds to 60 mph and good mpg, but seats only four people and it's expensive
Much cheaper, no finicky hybrid drivetrain and quicker to 60 mph, but lower city mpg and lacks prestige