Mercedes-Benz views plug-in hybrids as a way for cars to go emissions-free in local environments, while still providing for long-distance travel. As the S-Class represents the pinnacle of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, it makes sense that they'd bring this technology to the latest generation of Sonderklasse.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz S560e takes everything great about the S-Class -- ride, opulence, you name it -- and adds a plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Its 13.5-kWh lithium-nickel-magnanese-cobalt battery mates to a 121-horsepower, 325-pound-foot electric motor to provide up to 25 miles of electric-only cruising. Bear in mind, this range estimate is based on European standards -- US-specific numbers will be different, and they'll come later.
Along with the electric portion of the drivetrain, there's a 3.0-liter V6 under the hood, putting out 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque on its own. With a nine-speed automatic transmission engineered specifically to work with this PHEV drivetrain, the S560e will hit 60 mph in a more-than-good 4.9 seconds and keep going until it hits 155 mph.
While the battery has more capacity than in the past, the dimensions of the new battery are actually smaller, allowing the trunk to regain some of the capacity lost to the battery.
In order to keep the car acting as efficiently as possible, Mercedes has a system called Eco Assist. It's capable of observing traffic and changing its driving recommendations to incorporate speed limits, following distance, intersections and roundabouts. It knows whether it's best to coast without any resistance, or if it's wiser to use brake regeneration to give the battery a bit more juice.
Eco Assist will also give the driver suggestions to maximize efficiency. It can tell the driver when to release the accelerator and why it's making that suggestion, whether it's approaching a roundabout or a downhill stretch of road.
As with other plug-in hybrids, the S560e can also condition the interior before anyone enters the car. It'll heat or cool the seats and set the climate control to a certain temperature.
The 2019 Mercedes-Benz S560e will go on sale in the US in mid-2019, and pricing is yet to be determined.