Adding a green dimension to its recently redesigned flagship sedan, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid will arrive next spring. Although initial sales will be confined to California, the car is slated for national sales starting in 2016. Boasting 436 total horsepower, 479 lb-ft of torque, an electric-only range of up to 20 miles and a fuel economy figure of 84 mpg on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), M-B execs characterize the S550 Plug-In Hybrid as the first full-size luxury sedan with V8 performance and the mileage of a compact car.

Power for the S550 Plug-In Hybrid comes from M-B's latest 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged gasoline V6 that accounts for 329 ponies coupled with an electric motor/generator energized by a trunk-mounted 8.7kWh lithium-ion battery that churns out an additional 114. Motive force gets shipped to the rear wheels via a hybrid-specific version of the automaker's 7-speed automatic transmission. As in other M-B parallel hybrid modular applications, the transmission permits seamless switching between gas/electric/mixed operating modes thanks to a clutch unit positioned between the engine and the motor that also takes the place of a conventional torque converter. 

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Zero emissions in "sailing" mode

To help optimize efficiency under all driving conditions, the 2015 Mercedes S550 Plug-In Hybrid relies on an intelligent operating strategy that can automatically adjust its parameters according to traffic, terrain or radar-based energy recuperation programs. The latter permits the vehicle to enter a zero-emissions "sailing" mode when circumstances allow. Drivers also can choose from four basic vehicle settings - Hybrid, E-Mode, E-Save that maintains battery charge and Charge that uses the engine to replenish the battery on the fly - along with three transmission modes. Complementing its advanced regenerative braking system, this new S550 variant has a 3.6kW on-board charger that can perform plug-in replenishment in less than three hours on a 240V home system or in two hours using a 400V commercial setup.

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An S-Class to the core, the new S550 Plug-In Hybrid comes with a full array of comfort/convenience/safety features including LED headlamps, Comand Online with touchpad, dual-zone climate control, Airmatic air suspension, Pre-Safe, Collision Prevention Assist Plus with Adaptive Brake Assist, Attention Assist, Pre-Safe Impulse and Crosswind Assist. It also introduces extended pre-entry climate control. Computer controlled using the S-Class Vehicle Homepage, extended pre-entry climate control can preheat -- or cool -- the cabin air and available ventilated seats and also heat the steering wheel, door armrests and center console.

Complete information on the U.S. version of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Plug-In Hybrid - including its EPA numbers -- will be released closer to the car's actual on-sale date. While pricing is still being finalized, Mercedes has advised us that it will be "similar" to a regular S550 model. That means it should open around $95,000.

More Plug-in Hybrids...

Come along for a drive in the new 2014 BMW i8 plug-in sports car

The 2014 McLaren P1 packs a 903-horsepower hybrid powertrain

The stunning 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder is an 887-hp plug-in hybrid


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