• 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid

    The perfect compromise for rich nerds, the Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid
LISTEN 08:16

Mercedes-Benz is expanding its S-Class lineup for 2015 with a plug-in hybrid version, joining the S400 Hybrid and the S300 BlueTEC Hybrid. The S550 Plug-in Hybrid features an extreme level of technical innovations all working together to produce the most efficient driving experience while still offering all the posh buyers expect from Mercedes.

The sedan uses a twin-turbocharged, V-6 engine and a high-voltage, 8.7 kWh lithium-ion battery to motivate the car. A super-compact electric motor fits in place of the seven-speed automatic’s torque converter, allowing for easy fitment under the S-Class’ floor pan.

Four drive modes allow the driver to chose between Hybrid, E-Mode (electric only, E-Save (less electric, more gasoline) and Charge (charges the battery while driving). The S550 Plug-in Hybrid also uses recuperative braking system to slow the car. The system works to eliminate the noticeable transition between the conventional brakes and the electric motor in generator mode.

On top of recuperative braking, the S550 Plug-in Hybrid lives up to its name by offering a receptacle in the rear bumper for charging from a power source. What’s more, Mercedes is working alongside BMW on a wireless, inductive charging system. Mercedes hasn’t revealed when inductive charging with be available, but expect it in the future.

Updated 09/17/2014: Mercedes unveiled a new set of images and full specs on the 2015 S500 Plug-in Hybrid. Check them out after the jump.
Click past the jump to read more about the S500 Plug-In Hybrid

  • 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid
  • Year:
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
  • Torque @ RPM:
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.2 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    130 mph
  • Price:
    110000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • car fuel:
  • body style:


2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Exterior
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2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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The only major difference lies on the right side of the rear bumper, where Mercedes located the charging port.

Things are pretty standard here, as the S550 Plug-in Hybrid shares the same architecture and design as the conventional S-Class sedans. The only major difference lies on the right side of the rear bumper, where Mercedes located the charging port. A locking mechanism keeps the charging cord secured to the vehicle during operation, preventing it from theft or unintentional unplugging.

Looking like a conventional S-Class isn’t a bad thing. Stretching 206.5 inches in length, the S-Class is a commanding vehicle. It’s large grille and LED headlights give it an intimidating appearance. Things get a little swoopy out back, with the C-pillars rolling into the truck lid. The line continues past the taillights and into the rear bumper.

Besides the small door for the charging port, the only identifier of this car’s electrification is the “PLUG IN HYBRID” badge running across its trunk.

Standard Exterior Features

  • 8.7 kWh Lithium-ion Battery
  • Bumper-mounted charging socket
  • Intelligent HYBRID technology: anticipatory energy management
  • Recuperative braking
  • Soft-close doors


2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Interior
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2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Interior
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2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Interior
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Perhaps the most innovative feature the S550 Plug-in Hybrid offers is the Pre-Entry Climate Control system.

The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has put other automakers on notice with its forward-thinking design. A massive digital dashboard shows nearly every conceivable bit of information about the car while diamond-pattern quilting graces the heated and cooled power seats.

Perhaps the most innovative feature the S550 Plug-in Hybrid offers is the Pre-Entry Climate Control system. Program the car with your next departure time, and it will begin cooling off the interior using only electricity. That’s thanks to the HVAC system being fully electric. Even the seats will heat or cool to your set preference. On cold days, the steering wheel and armrests will preheat as well.

Rear-seat comfort is at a premium, with the S550 offering tons of leg, hip, shoulder, and headroom for even the tallest passengers.

Standard Interior Features

  • Four Hybrid Modes: HYBRID, E-MODE, E-SAVE, CHARGE
  • Pre-Entry Climate Control
  • mbrace2™
  • Panorama roof
  • Burmester Surround Sound System
  • LED Ambient Lighting with choice of seven colors, five dimming levels & four different dimming zones
  • Two 12.3-inch high-resolution screens for central display & instrument cluster


2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Drivetrain
- image 523166
With gas and electric combined, the S550 Plug-in Hybrid generates 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.

Here’s where things get interesting. The S550 Plug-in Hybrid carries a 3.0-liter V-6 sporting two turbochargers. By itself, it makes 329 horsepower between 5,250 and 6,000 rpm and 354 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 4,000 revs. Add to that the 85 kW electric motor that’s good for an extra 114 horsepower and 251 pound-feet of torque. With gas and electric combined, the S550 Plug-in Hybrid generates 436 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.

At full hilt, the Benz will hit 62 mph in just 5.2 seconds on its way to a 130-mph top speed. On the highway, the S550 Plug-in Hybrid can cruise up to 87 mph in electric mode and receives a 2.8 l/100km (84 mpg U.S.) rating on the EU’s combined cycle. That number will likely fall in the EPA’s testing process.

Fully charged, the S550 Plug-in Hybrid offers a 20-mile, fully electric range. Helping with that range is Mercedes’ intelligent operating strategy. The car works to ensure the battery is fully charged before entering an urban area. This strategy allows for the maximum distance possible in full electric mode. This system is especially handy considering the several places in Europe where gasoline engines are restricted in urban areas.

Drivetrain Specifications

Internal combustion engine:
Number of cylinders/arrangement 6/V
Mixture formation High-pressure injection, 2 turbochargers
Displacement (cc) 2996
Rated output (hp at rpm) 329 HP @ 5250-6000 RPM
Rated torque 354 LB-FT @ 1600-4000 RPM
Electric motor:
Output (kW/hp) 85 kW / 114 hp
Torque (Nm / lb-ft) 340 Nm / 251 lb-ft
System output (kW/hp) 325 kW / 436 hp
System torque (Nm/lb-ft) 650 Nm / 479 lb-ft
Consumption combined from (l/100 km) 2.8
CO2 emissions combined from (g/km) 65
Efficiency class A+
Electric range (miles) 20
Acceleration 0-62 mph (s) 5.2
Top speed (mph) 130 mph
Top speed electric (mph) 87 mph


Mercedes-Benz has yet to release pricing for the 2015 S550 Plug-in Hybrid, but we can expect its MSRP to start above the $100,000 mark. Sales won’t begin until the spring of 2015, so expect Mercedes to announce prices just prior.


2015 Audi A8 Hybrid

2015 Audi A8 Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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Fortunately for Mercedes, there is not much competition for its new S550 Plug-In Hybrid, but Audi will come with a new hybrid variant of its flagship A8 in 2015. This 2.0-liter-powered luxury sedan puts out 245 horsepower and 354 pound-feet of torque that sprints it to 60 mph in an estimated 6.5 seconds.

Since the A8 Hybrid is snot a plug-in model, it will burn through a lot more fuel than the S550 PIH.

2015 BMW ActiveHybrid 7

2013 BMW 7-Series High Resolution Exterior
- image 457292

We’re not too sure just how long BMW will offer the ActiveHybrid 7, but we think it’ll last through 2015. This peppy fuel-sipper is ready to hang with the S550 Plug-In with its 3.0-liter, six-cylinder engine that combines with an electric motor to produce 350 horsepower and 360 pound-feet of torque.

This engine and an eight-speed auto get this large hybrid to 60 mph in just 5.5 seconds, while getting a lackluster 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway.


2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Exterior AutoShow
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Mercedes has managed to make a very capable hybrid out of its largest sedan. Of course, the S550 Plug-in Hybrid isn’t the most cost-effective way to save on fuel, but it surely is one of the more luxurious and exciting ways. With tons of tech and comfort far beyond the norm, the S550 is a rich nerd’s dream machine.

  • Leave it
    • No prices yet, but sure to be outrageous
    • Saves fuel but not dollars off your bottom line
    • Likely insanely expensive to repair
Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read full bio
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Press Release - September 15, 2014

The new Mercedes-Benz S550 PLUG-IN HYBRID blends an ultramodern hybrid drive configuration with the unique innovations and the luxurious equipment and appointments of the S-Class. The luxury sedan impresses with exceptional dynamism and efficiency. Thanks to standard pre-entry climate control it also offers unique climate comfort. The first certified three-liter luxury sedan in the world is a further milestone on the road to emission-free mobility.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
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"The S550 PLUG-IN HYBRID is the first luxury sedan with the performance of a V8 and the fuel consumption of a compact model. The greatest challenge in this is to translate efficiency into superior performance. In this respect there is a highly interesting parallel with our successful Formula 1 racing car, which likewise has a turbocharged V6 engine and a high-tech hybrid drive," says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

"The new S550 PLUG-IN HYBRID offers our customers the entire range of innovations that make our new S-Class so successful, and thanks to its intelligent operating strategy ensures outstanding driving pleasure and dynamism combined with the highest efficiency. Moreover, it allows completely emission-free driving for up to 20 miles," adds Ola Källenius, Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing Mercedes-Benz Cars.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Interior
- image 568563

The Mercedes-Benz S550 PLUG-IN HYBRID offers a system output of 436 hp and 479 lb-ft torque, sprints from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.2 seconds and can drive up to 20 miles purely electrically. Key elements of this impressive output are the V6 biturbo and the intelligent hybrid drive. The new high-voltage lithium-ion battery with an energy content of 8.7 kWh can be externally recharged via the charging socket in the right side of the rear bumper.

The S550 Plug-In Hybrid model has environmental certificates. These document the model’s environmental performance from development through to recycling across the entire lifecycle, and the performance is certified to internationally recognized standards by independent experts.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Interior
- image 568564

Regarding CO2 emissions, the certificate of the S550 PLUG-IN HYBRID states: "Over the entire lifecycle encompassing manufacture, use of over 300,000 kilometres (186,000 miles) and recycling, clear advantages result when compared with the S550. External charging with the European electricity mix can cut CO2 emissions by some 43 percent (35 tonnes). Through the use of renewably generated hydroelectricity a 56 percent reduction (46 tonnes) is possible."

The hybrid transmission is based on the 7-speed automatic transmission. The plug-in-hybrid system in the S-Class is based on the Mercedes-Benz parallel hybrid modular system. The common system-specific feature is the additional clutch integrated between combustion engine and electric motor. On the one hand, it decouples the combustion engine during purely electric operation; on the other hand, if the combustion engine is employed it affords the possibility to move off drawing on the performance of a wet start-up clutch. The clutch then substitutes for the torque converter and requires no additional space owing to its complete integration in the torque converter housing.

Haptic accelerator pedal: support for the driver

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Interior
- image 568565

Climb in, start, drive off and, as well as exemplary efficiency, on request experience via kickdown the special acceleration of the electric motor – this is how easy hybrid driving is with the new S550 PLUG-IN HYBRID. For in everyday use it moves just as easily as any other automatic transmission car.

In the background, depending on the chosen operating mode, the intelligent operating strategy automatically selects the ideal combination of internal combustion engine and electric motor and in so doing not only adapts its strategy according to the charge status of the battery; it also foresightedly adjusts it according to the traffic or route. Anyone wanting to can also intervene manually and with the aid of four operating modes and three transmission modes regulate the hybrid interplay themselves.

What is known as the haptic accelerator pedal can signal via a double impulse when drivers should take their foot off the accelerator for sailing and recuperating. During electric operation it can supply the driver with feedback on the switch-on point of the combustion engine. The energy flow can be shown in all operating states in the instrument cluster and in the central display if this is selected by the customer.

Press Release

The all-new 2015MY S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID sets new benchmarks in efficiency as well as powertrain and comfort. The 107 hp electric drive with externally rechargeable battery provides emission-free driving for about 18 miles. It is combined with the new 3.0-litre V6 turbocharged engine. Mercedes-Benz will present the 2015MY S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) and it will be in U.S. showrooms in late 2014.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Exterior Drivetrain
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The 2010MY S400 HYBRID was the first automobile in the world to feature a standard-specification hybrid drive system with a lithium-ion battery in 2009. The second-generation hybrid drive systems are seamlessly integrated into the powertrain. The combustion engine can be completely decoupled from the electric motor. Further features are the second-generation recuperative braking system and the anticipatory Intelligent HYBRID energy management system.

"With the S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID Mercedes-Benz sets another milestone on the road to emission-free mobility on the basis of our modular hybrid matrix," explains Prof Dr Thomas Weber, responsible on the Daimler Board of Management for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Product Engineering. "In this way the S-Class turns into a genuine three-liter car with generous space and superlative drive-system comfort."

The new high-voltage lithium-ion battery of the S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID has ten times the energy content of other hybrid batteries and offers the option of being recharged from an external source with a charging socket located on the right side of the rear bumper. With the help of the electric synchronous motor (107 hp/251 lb-ft) the S-Class can drive for up to around 18 miles on electric power alone.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Exterior
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Four hybrid operating modes can be selected at the push of a button:

E-MODE: electric power only
E-SAVE: fully charged battery is reserved to be able to drive on electric power alone later
CHARGE: battery is charged while driving

The S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID delivers top efficiency figures without restrictions in power, passenger comfort or operating range and offers a high level of climate comfort thanks to the pre-entry climate control functions.

The most important benchmark data of the S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID:

Power output of 329hp of the combustion engine plus 107hp electric motor and torque of 354 lb-ft of the combustion engine plus 251 lb-ft of the electric motor
Operating range on electric power alone about 18 miles
Top speed 155 mph, 0-60 mph in 5.4 sec.
Intelligent HYBRID: anticipatory energy management system with optimal use of recuperation during deceleration
Individualization possible as the result of the combination of the transmission modes with the four hybrid operating modes – HYBRID, E-MODE, E-SAVE and CHARGE.
Haptic accelerator pedal for superior vehicle control: A point of resistance on the accelerator pedal provides feedback about the activation of the combustion engine and helps in metering the power output.
Fast external charging of the high-voltage traction battery
Pre-entry climate control of the interior

Intelligent HYBRID: anticipatory energy management system

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid High Resolution Exterior
- image 523162

The second-generation S-Class hybrid features an anticipatory energy management system and thereby improved energy efficiency. The operating strategy of the hybrid drive system not only accounts for the current driving condition and driver input, but also adjusts to the likely route (inclines, downhill stretches, bends or speed limits) for the next five miles. Intelligent HYBRID uses the navigation data from COMAND Online to manage the charging and discharging of the high-voltage battery. For example, the car will use the energy content of the battery for propulsion ahead of a downhill stretch in order to recharge it while going downhill using recuperation.

Recuperative braking system: the electric motor as alternator

The largest potential for lowering the energy consumption of hybrid drive systems lies in maximizing energy recovery during coasting and braking. Upon depressing the brake pedal the deceleration is initially provided by the electric motor, not by the disc brakes. The new S-Class is the first to use a recuperative braking system (RBS) of the second generation. It ensures an unnoticeable overlapping of the conventional mechanical brakes and the electric braking performance of the electric motor in alternator mode.

The driver’s desired braking power is recorded by a pedal-travel sensor. The deceleration is dependent on the driving condition and is split into a recuperative brake-force portion and a portion to be supplied by the wheel brakes. The brake pressure on the rear axle is controlled by the RBS dependent on the current recuperation potential of the powertrain.

2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-in Hybrid Interior
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In addition, the combustion engine is switched off any time the vehicle is coasting and its drag torque when rolling is used by the electric motor as recuperation torque. However, without depressing the brake pedal no additional deceleration torque is provided for charging the battery and the vehicle can "sail." The combustion engine is to be used for charging the battery as little as possible and only at suitable and most efficient operating points.

Hybrid pioneer in the luxury segment

The world’s first production hybrid drive with lithium-ion battery debuted at Mercedes-Benz as early as 2009: the 2010MY S400 HYBRID was the most fuelefficient gasoline-powered luxury sedan for a long time. It was also the most successful hybrid in its segment: some 20,000 buyers worldwide opted for the S400 HYBRID.

With the 2015MY S500 PLUG-IN HYBRID, as well as the European-market S300 BlueTEC HYBRID and S400 HYBRID, Mercedes-Benz now continues its comprehensive hybrid offensive.

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