HotWheels:Mercedes offers luxury S-Class hybrid

Mercidies

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz is offering a hybrid version of its flagship S-Class luxury sedan that can drive emissions-free - and still provide the kind of pampering and power the pricey brand's wealthy customers expect.

Stuttgart-based Daimler AG took the wraps off the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S 500 Plug-In Hybrid this week at the Frankfurt Auto Show, following the introduction in May of the gasoline and diesel powered versions of the S-Class. The sedan is a key earnings driver in China and comes loaded with technology and extras that can include a hot-stone massage function in the seats and a perfume generator that allows the interior scent to be adjusted.

The S 500 plug-in is aimed at people who want a hybrid without compromising on the luxury, powerful acceleration and image that go with driving a Mercedes. Its six-cylinder gasoline engine has a robust 328 horsepower, and there's no range anxiety, or fear of running out of battery charge, as with an all-electric car.

A computer selects the best mix of internal-combustion and battery power. The system uses navigation data to scan the road ahead and maximize efficiency, for instance by using the battery on an uphill stretch, in order to recharge it on the following downhill using energy from the brakes.

The car can also use the gasoline engine to charge the battery en route, although that's more expensive than charging it up at home.

The S 500 can be switched to all-electric mode, in which it has a range of 30 kilometers, or about 18 miles. Someone with a commute shorter than that could simply charge it overnight and travel back and forth all week without burning gasoline at all. Or it can switch to E-Save mode, in which the battery is held in reserve to drive on electric power alone later.

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