Mercedes-Benz first exhibited the concept of a powerful plug-in hybrid S-Class at Frankfurt 2009 in the form of the Vision S500 Plug-In Hybrid Concept. Based on the pre-facelift W221 which was the current generation S-Class of the time, the Vision S500 mated the company’s 3.5 litre normally aspirated V6 to a 60 horsepower electric motor.
Four years later, a production version of the S500 plug-in hybrid is now one step closer to the showrooms as Mercedes-Benz have revealed that the production S500 Plug-in Hybrid based on the new W222 S-Class will make a global debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. A prototype vehicle was exhibited at the S-Class global media drive that we attended last week.
Compared to the Vision S500 from 2009, there has been quite a few changes to the S500 Plug-In Hybrid. For one, it’s now based on the new W222. It continues to be powered by a V6 engine but loses 500cc of displacement in exchange for two turbochargers.
The combustion engine is a 3.0 litre twin turbocharged V6 from the S400, producing 328 horsepower and 480 Nm of torque. No power figures for the electric motor have been mentioned yet, but it’s powered by a 8.7 kWh lithium ion battery in the trunk, which does intrude into the boot space a little as you can see from the photos. The electric motor is mounted in-line with the 7G-Tronic gearbox.
EV mode range is roughly 30 km on a full charge and up to 120 km/h, and you can recharge the electric motor’s batteries through a power socket located at the right edge of the rear bumper, which is the same side as the fuel lid. The rear positioning is no big loss – it means that you’ll have to reverse the car into an EV charging bay should you choose to charge publicly, or reverse into your garage. Being a plug-in hybrid instead of a pure EV, charging to the brim takes only about two hours.
The S500 Plug-In Hybrid will be the most powerful W222 S-Class Hybrid out of the three different hybrid models that we know of now. The W222 also has a petrol electric hybrid called the S400 Hybrid and a diesel electric hybrid called the S300 BlueTEC Hybrid.