According to a reliable source , Mercedes-Benz will go all-hybrid with its next-generation S-Class lineup, with the exception of enthusiast-oriented AMG models. The luxury cruiser is expected to roll out in 2012, and it is understood that gas-only S-Class models will be the exclusive preserve of the company's performance arm.
Presently, Daimler only offers a single gasoline-electric variant of its W221 S-Class – the S400 hybrid . It incorporates a 3.5-liter V6 with a mild hybrid assist system for 295 horsepower and 26 miles-per-gallon on the highway. Other models in current S-Class lineup all have more cylinders and power, including the 382-hp 5.5-liter V8 of the S550 and the twin-turbo 5.5-liter V12 of the S600. It is not immediately clear if the company engineers plan to downsize the internal-combustion side of the next S Class powertrain equation as a result of the all gas-electric strategy. We expect Mercedes to offer a range of CDI diesel models as well.
While the Daimler board has yet to sign-off on this plan, it appears to be all but certain. I still recall that the 1998 S Class (below) was blacklisted by environmentalists. Now it appears that the upcoming S Class will attempt to change that perception once and for all.