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GREENHAUS (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 56
In Hybrid form, the sixth generation Mercedes S-Class was a generation ahead of its luxury segment rivals at launch back in 2013. With petrol/electric, diesel/electric and Plug-in options, it offered a convincing argument to executives who might otherwise be set on conventional diesel power. Do these variants makes sense as used car options? Let's find out.
Modelsword count: 19
4dr Saloon (2.2 diesel S300 BlueTEC hybrid / 3.5 petrol hybrid [S400] / 3.0 V6 petrol Plug-in hybrid [S500e])
Historyword count: 213
If you're considering a full-sized used luxury saloon, then you're probably not thinking of a hybrid version - but perhaps you should be. The running cost stats are compelling, even more so than those of the conventional diesels that most executives currently choose. And if you are to consider hybrid power, then it makes sense to turn to the brand offering the widest choice of options. That brand is Mercedes-Benz. In the original version of its sixth generation S-Class model, the Stuttgart maker offered everything the automotive industry currently knew about hybrid technology back in 2013. So there were petrol/electric, diesel/electric and even Plug-in hybrid powerplants from which to choose. The petrol/electric S400 matches the running costs of the conventional diesel model. The diesel/electric delivers the balance sheet figures of a Fiesta-shaped supermini. And, as for the Plug-in Hybrid, well, the figures speak for themselves: 94.2mpg on the combined cycle and a CO2 return of only 69g/km. No other brand can match this. But then, no other brand makes a car like this s-Class. Let's check out its hybrid proposition in a little more detail for used car buyers. These variants were only ever offered with the saloon S-Class bodystyle and sold until the range was extensively revised in the middle of 2017.
What You Getword count: 974
People all around the world can recognise an S-Class right away, its elegant design ever an expression of luxury and the automotive grandeur of its era. With this car, Mercedes has always sought to combine progressive design with the classic elegance that extends all the way back to its roots in the 1930s. It's a heritage more evident than ever in this sixth generation model with its classic architecture and flowing silhouette, a look that may be a touch more discreet than before but is also a little more sophisticated with its long bonnet, flowing, domed roofline and gently slanting rear end. At the front, the grille is bigger than that of the previous model, the air intakes more prominent, while the styling around the advanced LED headlights and the way that the airflow is managed is just a whole lot more detailed. It's all indicative of the optimally co-ordinated care that's gone into all the things you can't see, like a sleek, wind-cheating and much stiffer bodyshell, half of which is fashioned from lightweight aluminium. Moving back, you'll appreciate the taller and more dignified glasshouse, emphasising a profile that's a little more saloon and a little less coupe-like because the brand had with this generation design, a separate S-Class Coupe variant. With the long wheelbase bodystyle that hybrid customers have to choose, you don't get the slightly odd elongated look that characterises lwb versions of this car's competitors. That's because, unlike those rivals, it was originally designed around the longer bodyshape, rather than styled in shorter form, then stretched. The difference shows. So you're free to simply admire the classic elegance centred in profile around the centre character line - what Mercedes rather awkwardly calls a 'Dropping Line' - that descends discreetly from the front to a rear section where a pronounced shoulder above the back wheel gives the rear end of the car a power-packed look. Talking of wheels, 18-inch rims are standard but to us look rather under-sized for the sheer enormity of this car. We'd want a car whose original owner specified 19-inch alloys instead. The rear screen cuts into the C-pillars and the tail lights are completely encased by the car body. Like the headlamps, these are all-LED affairs, back in 2013 this car being the first in the world to do without a single light bulb inside and out. 35 LEDs light up these tail lamps, 56 of them are used in the headlamps and around 300 are scattered around the cabin. 21st century lighting indeed. Drop inside and owners of the previous generation version will notice the more spacious feel, with significant amounts of extra head, elbow and shoulder room in a less cluttered cabin that's a long way removed from the button-fest that many Mercedes owners are accustomed to. Smooth curves and horizontal elements give a feeling of width, solidity and elegance without compromising on ergonomics, although we have to wonder whether BMW has better rationalised the mix of buttons and on-screen menus. Ah yes, the screens. They certainly dominate this cabin, two 12.3-inch high-resolution TFT displays that one more dismissive colleague described as looking like a couple of iPads shunted together. We actually think they look rather sleek, with wondrous graphics that make those on rival infotainment systems look very old-fashioned. The screen directly ahead of the driver performs all the functions you'd expect from a conventional instrument cluster. Most of the other information you'll need is to be found on the centre-dash screen that delivers the bewildering functionality promised by Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system. To be fair, this isn't bad in its user-friendliness but there's a heck of a lot of depth to it that some buyers just won't take the time to learn. You can't argue with the interior quality. Metallised switch surfaces with pearl-effect paint finishes in three colour shades, ornate speaker grilles, grooved organ-stop controls for the distinctive metal 'eyeball' air vents and superb attention to detail characterise a cabin trimmed in lustrous buttery leather with seats that even feature heated armrests. We're not sure about the two-spoke nappa leather-trimmed steering wheel with its old fashioned Mercedes-Benz badge script, but the analogue dashboard clock is lovely and at night, you'll enjoy ambient lighting with a choice of seven different colour settings. Rear seat passengers are even better provided for, as is appropriate in a car that many owners will want chauffeur-driven. They've 14mm more knee room and 9mm more shoulder room than they would have had in the old MK5 model and of course, in the kind of long wheelbase guise that all hybrid S-Class models feature, there's plenty of room to stretch out and relax. Many models you'll come across will feature the 'Executive Rear' package that gives you an electrically operated, ventilated seat with powered side and rear window blinds for extra privacy and a backrest adjustable by up to 43.5-degrees. Some cars will also have been specified with the 'Rear Seat Comfort' package that gives you a seat massage function and seatback-mounted entertainment screens. They've to be operated by a fiddly remote control though, which seems rather out of date in these days of touch screen technology. Perhaps it's because of all this rear seat trickery - no fewer than five rear seat option packages were originally made available to lwb customers - that the kind of folding rear backrest you'd normally get in a luxury saloon to extend the bootspace can't be offered here. So you're reliant on a 510-litre trunk that's a touch bigger than a BMW 7 Series and a touch smaller than an Audi A8 or a Jaguar XJ. It'll be quite big enough to transport the golf clubs and associated paraphernalia that most executives will cart about - and, laudably, isn't compromised in size by the batteries that Hybrid variants must carry about.
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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen
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