Mercedes probably has better green cred than most people give them actual credit for. Sure, they are over-complicated, full of production-intense technology and luxury, and they offer V8 engines with pretty much every car. But they also produce lots of clean-diesel engines, and 40% of their models are powered by such fuel-efficient engines.
Still, that might not be enough to meet increasing fuel efficiency standards the world over. So could the brand’s flagship vehicle, the S-Class, become a hybrid-only nameplate… even including the AMG performance models?
That seems to be the discussion going on within the house that Karl Benz built. In the leading scenario, the S-Class would only be offered with a hybrid setup, as most of S-class models get less than 20 mpg combined mileage. This is because every S-class — save the S400 — is equipped with 300+ horsepower V8 engines. The hybrid S400 gets a combined 21 mpg, 26 on the highway, a long way off from the 34.1 average mpg mandated by President Obama by 2016. Mercedes seems ready to go into overdrive to meet these standards, as the S-Class is its top end model and includes two AMG models.
AMG is Mercedes’ in-house performance brand. While we’ve seen a few hybrid-performance concept cars from the likes of Porsche and Ferrari, nothing that was production ready. So Mercedes might actually beat them to the punch out of necessity. A few dealerships have apparently been briefed on the idea, according to AutoWeek, and some dealers are afraid the cars, especially the performance models, won’t sell. But I’d be willing most people wouldn’t even notice, save that they haven’t used much gas.
Mercedes has gotten awfully good at blending technology and automobiles, and hybrid systems haven’t been exploited yet to provide a performance boost. So whoever figures out the best way to do so will have an advantage over other automakers… and if anyone can pull this off, it is Mercedes. Either way, Mercedes must do something radical if it hopes to bring its fleet average fuel economy up to 34.1 mpg by 2016.
Source: AutoWeek | Image: Mercedes-Benz