According to Paul Tan, the “flap” on the back end of this 2016 Mercedes-Benz E Class tester (caught during cold-weather testing) is proof positive that Mercedes is bringing a plug-in hybrid version of its bread-and-butter mid-size sedan to market … maybe before the end of 2015!
That small flap is visually similar to the one snapped on a prototype C Class plug-in hybrid earlier this year, and follows industry speculation that Mercedes’ upcoming plug-ins won’t be radical departures, styling-wise, from their internal-combustion counterparts.
So, a plug-in hybrid version of the 2016 Mercedes E Class is definitely coming. Which means that the big question, now, is whether or not the car will be called an E350 … or an E500.
If it’s an E350, we can probably look forward to the same 2.0 liter 4-cyl/electric motor combination we saw in Mercedes’ C Class hybrids. If it’s an E500- well, that’s another story.
To Mercedes fans, the E500 (or, in old-school Benz-speak, the 500E) is a storied name. It implies effortless Autobahn cruising at 155 MPH for hours and hours. It implies a car that can keep up with- if not beat!- Porsches in a straight line, and it suggests that the feat would require no sacrifice in comfort, quiet, or serenity. Such was the promise, and the legend, of the W124 E500.
If we get an all-new 2016 Mercedes E500, it could feature the 3.0 liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine fitted to the $122,000 Mercedes SL400. In that car, without electric assist, the engine is good enough to take you and yours from 0 to 60 MPG in nearly 5 seconds, flat. With electric assist and all-wheel-drive?
This, ladies and germs, could be one of the all-time great Mercedes-Benz sedans. And it won’t even punish you at the pump!
2016 Mercedes Plug-in Hybrid E Class
Source | Images: Paul Tan.