Mercedes-Benz S 560e

TESTED 4.10.18, GERMANY ON SALE Early 2019 PRICE £97,000 (est)

Partial electrification comes to Stuttgart’s latest limo

S-Class’s opulent interior makes waiting in traffic jams a pleasure

The new Mercedes-Benz S560e is setting itself up as the S-Class of choice for the more environmentally conscious business tycoon. For now, it’s the closest there is to a fully electric version of Stuttgart’s flagship saloon.

It mates a 362bhp V6 with a 121bhp electric motor, making for a total system power output of 470bhp. Torque stands at 516lb ft, the sprint from 0-62mph can be despatched in a claimed 5.0sec and the top speed is limited to 155mph. It’s a fairly potent machine, then, but as quick as this S-Class can be, its capability for zero-emissions motoring is perhaps of greater importance.

That electric motor is powered by 13.5kWh battery, which allows the S560e to travel up to 30 miles on electricity alone up to a top speed of 80mph. A new water-cooled 7.4kW recharging system allows the battery be replenished from 10% to full in as little as an hour and a half via a dedicated wall-mounted terminal.

Unsurprisingly, the electrified S-Class is incredibly relaxing and refined to drive, almost to the point where being stuck in heavy traffic in an unfamiliar city is an entirely stress-free experience. Acceleration away from the traffic lights courtesy of the electric motor is gentle and the S560e’s low-speed ride is excellent, save from the gentlest of intrusions from road surface imperfections.

When the V6 fires into life, it does so almost undetectably. The engine is smooth, too, and the growl it emits under throttle, while distant-sounding thanks to the isolation from the outside world the S560e’s cabin provides, still has a decidedly muscular character to it. The manner in which it accelerates, meanwhile, is impressively linear.

And, of course, this being an S-Class, you are presented with a cabin that’s every bit as plush, opulent and well-appointed as you would expect it to be.

This is a hugely likeable car. It’s quiet, urbane and extremely comfortable. If most of your time will be spent driving or being driven over reasonably short, inner-city distances where the unobtrusive hybrid system can do its thing, then this is absolutely the S-Class to go for.

SIMON DAVIS

 

MERCEDES-BENZ S560E
Electrification suits the S-Class. The ability to motor along in silence makes it feel even more luxurious

 

Price £97,000 (est)
Engine V6, 2996cc, petrol, plus electric motor
Power 470bhp (system output)
Torque 516lb ft (system output)
Gearbox 9-spd auto
Kerb weight 2160kg
0-62mph 5.0sec
Top speed 155mph
Economy 108.6mpg (combined, NEDC)
CO2, tax band 59g/km (NEDC), 22%
Rivals BMW 740e M Sport, Audi A8 4.2 TDI quattro