Nuts & Bolts

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The bottom line: The 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid is more of a fashion statement than it is an environmental, conservation or performance statement. Equally good fuel economy, with emissions low enough to meet the tough air quality standards of the California Air Resources Board, can be had through the company's advanced diesel offerings, such as the E320 BlueTec sedan.

Complaints: Enough said.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent in all three.

Head-turning quotient: It's an S-Class Mercedes-Benz, the Donald Trump of automobiles. It's hard to ignore.

Body style/layout: The 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid is a full-size, front engine with electric motor assistance, four-door luxury sedan with a traditional notchback trunk.

Propulsion system: A 3.5-liter V-6 engine is mated with a 15-kilowatt permanent magnet motor system, powered by a lithium-ion battery, to yield the equivalent of 295 horsepower at 6,000 rotations per minute and 284 foot-pounds of torque at 2,800 rotations per minute. The propulsion system is linked to a seven-speed automatic transmission. A starter/generator is used in support of automatic engine stop/start to improve fuel economy in stop-and-go city driving.

Capacities: There are seats for five. Maximum luggage capacity is 16.4 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 23.8 gallons of required premium gasoline.

Mileage: You get 19 miles per gallon city, 26 miles per gallon highway for a combined city-highway average of 22.5 miles per gallon.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes with antilock control; electronic brake force distribution; electronic stability and traction control; a patented pre-safe system designed to maximize occupant safety in the event of a crash; side and head air bags.

Price: The 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid starts at $87,950 with a dealer's invoice of $81,794. Price as tested is $96,195, including $7,370 in options and a $875 destination charge. Dealer's price as tested is $89,524. Prices are sourced from Mercedes-Benz and Edmunds.Com.

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