More range, more horsepower, ultimate luxury - what isn’t to love about the S 560 e?

When the W222, sixth-gen Mercedes S-Class came to the market in 2013, it sat in a niche that was completely void of any real competition. But, after just a few years that changed, with long-time rival BMW introducing the new 7 Series and GM’s luxury division, Cadillac, introducing the full-size CT6 to the market. The S-Class was already competitive enough to hold its own in the full-size luxury segment and was even praised for its superior ride quality, seemingly effortless acceleration, and all of that fancy tech that brought it one step closer to being a true-to-life spaceship on wheels. With the new E-Class coming before this mid-cycle update, Merc had a lot of new tech on its hands, and you certainly can’t have a lesser model sporting better features, so this was the icing on the cake and triggered Mercedes to revamp the S-Class in time for 2018. Now that we’re approaching the holiday season and the new year, Mercedes saw fit to introduce the newest member of the S-Class family: The S 560 e – a plug-in hybrid that promises to be a huge improvement over the outgoing model.

So, now that we’re looking at the facelifted S-Class hybrid, it’s important to note that it also comes with a new name. Previously known as the S550 Plug-in Hybrid, the 2018 model will now go by the nomenclature of S560 e Plug-in Hybrid. Highlights of the facelifted model include an increase in system output of more than 50 horsepower, increased all-electric range thanks to a revised battery, relocated electric components, and increased luggage room in the rear. An ECO assist feature will help you drive more efficiently, while pre-entry climate control will have the temperature just right before you even sit down inside the vehicle. I guess that’s pretty commendable and right in line with what you should expect for a car of this stature. With that said, let’s take a closer look at what kind of improvements the revised hybrid brings to the market. Something tells me, you might want to consider trading in that old plug-in for a new one, but we’ll see.

It’s Funny How Little Things Can Add Up

The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid Wallpaper quality Exterior High Resolution
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The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid Wallpaper quality Exterior High Resolution
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Total system output is really more like 487 horsepower, which accounts for a 51-pony increase over the old S550 Plug-in.

First, let’s talk about that ECO Assist system. Basically, the system monitors the road and situation ahead and runs constant simulations to determine if you should allow the car to coast freely or decelerate for energy recuperation. The accelerator pedal provides haptic feedback on a variable level, which should allow you to know when you’re running at maximum all-electric power, as such a little extra nudge will cause the gasoline engine to fire up and you’ll get more juice to get up to speed. A double pulse in the accelerator, for instance, will alert you that you should take your foot off the pedal and coast. If you do so, the engine will shut off and be completely decoupled from the transmission. This is accompanied by a visual prompt in the instrument cluster or the head-up display if equipped. And, in case you’re thinking there’s no way this type of thing can be more economical or make a difference, there’s a display that shows how many miles you’ve cruised in all-electric mode, which ultimately means decreased fuel usage and increased electric range. Not a bad way to convince you that the system is worth listening to, huh? Of course, I’m here thinking about how much that haptic feedback pedal will cost if it fails, but hey, I’m also a mechanic, so it’s natural ;)

The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid Interior High Resolution
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As the eighth plug-in hybrid in Mercedes lineup, next to vehicles like the C 350 e, GLE 500 e, and the E 350 e, the S560 also brings some extra power output and range to the table as well. This model makes use of a V-6 gasoline engine that’s good for 367 horsepower. Of course, you’re probably thinking that’s way less than the total output of the old S-Class Hybrid, and you’d be right, but that’s where the new electric motor comes in. Rated at 90 kW, or roughly 120 horsepower, total system output is really more like 487 horsepower, which accounts for a 51-pony increase over the old S550 Plug-in. Engine torque is still a mystery at this point, but the electric motor alone generates 440 nm or 324.52 pound-feet. So, we’re looking at as much as 550 pound-feet of torque from the system combined – that’ll certainly that do it for you, right?

The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid Drivetrain High Resolution
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With the battery offering an increased capacity, the all-electric range has increased to somewhere around 50 km or 31 miles.

Here’s the interesting thing about the S 560 e, though. See while its battery back is actually the same size physically, Mercedes has converted over to a lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (Li-NMC) battery chemistry as opposed to the old lithium, iron, and phosphate battery cells. That means it was able to increase the quality and capacity of the cells without an increase in size. That increase accounts for an increased capacity of 13.5 kWh and 15 Ah – that’s pretty impressive, and even more importantly, it’s built by Destusche Accumotive, a subsidiary of Daimler. With the battery offering an increased capacity, the all-electric range has increased to somewhere around 50 km or 31 miles, an improvement of 11 miles over the S 550 Plug-in. Shifting duties are handled by the third-gen hybrid transmission that is based on the 9G-TRONIC PLUS, which includes the torque converter, motor, and clutch required for hybrid coupling and decoupling on demand.

The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid Interior High Resolution
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Mercedes S450 Mercedes S560 Mercedes S560 e
Engine 3.0-liter V6 biturbo 4.0-liter V8 3.0-liter V-6
Horsepower 362 HP 463 HP 487 HP (est)
Torque 369 LB-FT 516 LB-FT 550 LB-FT (est)

And, before I forget, that pre-entry climate system… that works thanks to the electric A/C compressor and electric heating elements. That’s right – no more belt-drive compressor or coolant-control heater system for you. As such, if you program a trip with a set departure time, the car will automatically engage the climate control before you even walk out the door in order to bring the cabin temperature to exactly the way you like it. It’s an extra, unnecessary technology, really, but it’s still pretty damn cool (or warm?) if you ask me.

The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid Interior High Resolution
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With all of that said, I would like to point out that the new S 560 e will get all of the goodies that are found inside other S-Class models for 2018. This includes a new steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons, new upholstery combinations, a 12.3-inch infotainment display to go with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster ahead of the steering wheel. The LED interior lights can be had in 64 different colors, and the Drive Pilot system can be had as well, allowing easy driving on the highway at speeds of up to 130 mph while braking, accelerating, and steering as needed all on its own as it follows the vehicle in front of you.

The Mercedes S-Class Family Grows with the Addition of the S 560 e Plug-in Hybrid Wallpaper quality Exterior High Resolution
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So, there you have it. The new S-Class Hybrid is here. Will it be worth trading in your old model for the new one? Well, that really depends on what you do with your S-Class. If you have a short trip to work each day, but can’t quite make it there on electric power alone, those extra 11 miles of all-electric range might help and could certainly add up to some pretty serious fuel savings over time. Pricing for the S 560 e has yet to be released, but with the non-hybrid S 560 going for $102,900, expect to pay more like $110,000 at least for the S 560 e. That would account for a near $15,000 increase over the 2016 S550 Plug-in which carried a starting MSRP of $95,650 at last check. And, that does it for me this time around, folks. Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

References

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2018 Mercedes S-Class

Selective Breeding Brings About an Ugly Supercar – The Mercedes-AMG Project One High Resolution Exterior
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Read all of the latest news from Mercedes

The latest addition to the S‑Class family is a new-generation plug-in hybrid. The S 560 e (combined fuel consumption: 2.1 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 49 g/km, weighted power consumption: 15.5 kWh/100 km) has an all-electric range of around 50 kilometres. In conjunction with the Mercedes-Benz Wallbox, the on-board 7.2‑kW charger allows fast charging of the battery.

Plug-in hybrids represent a key technology on the road to a locally emission-free future for the motor car. This is because they offer customers the best of both worlds; in the city they can drive on battery power alone, while on long journeys they benefit from the combustion engine’s range. Hybridisation also makes the internal combustion engine more efficient, and ensures more dynamic performance.

The hybrid drive system in the S 560 e combines the 270 kW (367 hp) of the V6 spark-ignition engine with an electric output of 90 kW.

The third-generation hybrid transmission evolved on the basis of the 9G‑TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission. The torque converter, clutch and electric motor are housed in the innovative hybrid drive unit. The compact design was achieved by integrating and connecting the separating clutch, torsional vibration damper and torque converter lock-up clutch within the rotor of the electric motor. The torque converter with its powerful and highly efficient hydraulic circuit offers the customary smoothness when pulling away in hybrid mode.

Developed together with Bosch as part of the EM‑motive joint venture, the electric motor was specially designed for the 9G‑T RONIC plug-in hybrid transmission. The new, significantly enhanced power electronics have allowed further increases in output and torque. The electric output of 90 kW and 440 Nm contributes to the effortlessly superior driving sensation in the S‑Class.

The S 560 e has an all-electric range of around 50 kilometres. A crucial factor here is that, although the battery size remains unchanged, the new lithium-ion battery has an increased rated capacity of 13.5 kWh. Evolving the cell chemistry from lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePo) to lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (Li-NMC) allowed the cell capacity to be increased from 22 to 37 Ah. The highly efficient battery system in the S‑Class comes, for the first time, from the wholly owned Daimler subsidiary Deutsche ACCUMOTIVE.

The power electronics are now housed in the engine compartment. Despite an increase of around 50 percent in its energy content, the dimensions of the new battery are smaller than those of its predecessor. As a result, the boot capacity has increased from 395 to 410 litres.

Intelligent operating strategy with ECO Assist

The S 560 e provides comprehensive support to promote anticipatory and economical driving: The driver is prompted when it is appropriate to release the accelerator, e.g. because the S‑Class is approaching a speed limit, and assisted by innovative functions such as gliding and recuperation. To this end, navigation data, traffic sign recognition and information from the intelligent safety assistants (radar and stereo camera) are networked and processed.

ECO Assist takes the following traffic situations and information into account in its driving recommendations and efficiency strategy:

ECO Assist continuously generates coasting simulations in the background: Depending on the charge level of the battery and the traffic situation, it computes whether the vehicle should ideally be allowed to coast freely ("sail") with the lowest possible driving resistance when releasing the accelerator, or whether it should be decelerated so that the battery can be efficiently charged (recuperation).

The haptic accelerator pedal helps the driver to achieve an economical and comfortable driving style. A variable point of resistance in the pedal, for example, indicates to the driver that maximum electric output is being delivered. If the driver continues to depress the pedal beyond this point, the combustion engine kicks in. A noticeable double pulse in the haptic accelerator pedal recommends the driver to take their foot off the accelerator. If the driver follows this recommendation, the combustion engine is switched off and decoupled from the drivetrain.

Within the limits of the system, ECO Assist regulates the impetus according to the situation as soon as the driver’s foot leaves the accelerator. The driver is also given a visual prompt to do this by the appearance of a "release accelerator" symbol in the central display (or if installed, in the head-up display). At the same time a graphic gives the driver the reason for the recommendation (e.g. "Junction ahead" or "Gradient ahead").

To increase the driver’s motivation to follow the recommendations of ECO Assist, the on-board computer records how many kilometres/for how much time during a journey the car has been driven with the engine switched off, and shows this in the central display. The reward not only takes the form of reduced fuel consumption, but also of an increased electric range.

Pre-entry climate control: more comfort as standard

The standard equipment for the S 560 e is extensive and includes special features such as extended pre-entry climate control. This is target value controlled. In other words, the S‑Class is air-conditioned to the preset temperature ready for the start of the trip, assuming the driver has entered the departure time, for example via Mercedes me. This is possible due to the electrically driven refrigerant compressor and electric heating elements for the heated air. Furthermore, preheating encompasses not just the interior air but also the heated seats, steering wheel and armrests in the doors and centre console, while cooling also activates the seat ventilation if this particular optional extra is fitted.

One of the broadest portfolios of plug-in hybrids

Because the strengths of plug-in hybrids come to the fore in larger vehicles and on mixed route profiles, Mercedes-Benz is opting for this powertrain concept from the C‑Class on up. The strategic hybrid initiative is decisively facilitated by Mercedes-Benz’s intelligent modular hybrid concept: It is scalable to allow it to be transferred to a large number of model series and body styles as well as left- and right-hand-drive variants. To underline the important role of hybrids in the process of electrifying the car, the Mercedes-Benz plug-in models will, in future, feature the technology badge EQ Power.

At present Mercedes-Benz has one of the broadest ranges of plug-in hybrids in the premium segment: following on from the C 350 e (saloon, estate and long version for the Chinese market), the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, the GLC 350 e 4MATIC, the GLC Coupé 350 e 4MATIC and the E 350 e, the new S 560 e – the successor of the S 500 e – is already the eighth plug-in model that Mercedes-Benz is bringing to the market.

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