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Mercedes-Benz S300 Bluetec Hybrid 2014 Review

Craig Duff road tests and reviews the Mercedes-Benz S300 Bluetec Hybrid, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Motorists are voting with their wallets and electing not to pay a premium for enviro-friendly hybrids and pure electric vehicles. Such green vehicles account for just 1 per cent of new vehicle sales. That figure has stayed flat for the past year despite the arrival of a raft of new models.

Even then, corporate fleet and government ranks account for the vast majority of sales. Of the 4859 hybrid and EV vehicles sold this year, just 1617 are registered to private buyers.


Into that mix rolls the Mercedes-Benz S300 Bluetec hybrid. It's a premium car with a starting price of $195,000 - but it's the least expensive S-Class an executive can aspire to.

Benz admits it is more a showcase than a serious volume seller but believes there are buyers who will appreciate the mix of luxury and technology. Apart from the unmatched S-Class interior, the vehicle (as with its E-Class counterpart) has a unique selling point.


It is a diesel hybrid in a carpark populated by petrol-electric vehicles and while it is capable of cruising in electric-only mode, the primary task of the electric motor is to augment the 2.1-litre diesel.

Not that the diesel is any slouch, as outputs of 150kW and 500Nm will attest. It is shifting 2015kg, though, so the 20kW/250Nm from the electric motor housed in the seven-speed auto transmission assists with decent surge off the line and when overtaking.


Hitting triple figures in 7.6 seconds is impressive, if not startling and not far off the V6-diesel S350 stablemate that is an extra $20,000.

What the S350 can't achieve is an official fuel consumption figure of 4.5L/100km. In regular running in mostly city driving, Carsguide achieved 7.0L (on a car with less than 1000km on the odometer, and the prospect of even more frugal running when the engine loosens up).

The transition from motor to engine is seamless, as is the switch the other way. There's no clunk, judder or hesitation as the big sedan alternates propulsion modes. There is, however, a decent boost in momentum when the electric component kicks in to augment overtaking.

Head downhill, maintain speed on the freeway or ease up approaching a red light and the tacho drops to zero, giving moments of guilt-free motoring as fuel use is eliminated. It's on resuming the journey that the one weak link in the otherwise impervious S300 emerges.

The four-cylinder diesel isn't the sweetest-sounding engine in the Benz range and that's amplified by no road and wind noise in the cabin. It is never intrusive to the point passengers start to look at one another but doesn't have the mechanical polish to match the rest of the vehicle's gloss.

That's assuming the owner is behind the wheel and for most, that won't be the case. The rear seats maintain the air of the library reading room no matter what is happening upfront. The comfort isn't just in the leather-wrapped seats. Air suspension gives an inflated impression of the quality of Australian roads, wafting over ruts that would otherwise jounce into the interior.

And the cabin is peerless, from the eucalyptus timber trim around the dash to the plushness of the fabric roof liner. No car this side of a Rolls-Royce has this attention to detail. That perception of quality is helped by the fact the S-Class is the newest kid on the block compared with cars such as Audi's A8 and the BMW 7 Series.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

S500 4.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $102,500 – 129,580 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S500 Pricing and Specs
S63 AMG 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $155,200 – 196,240 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S63 AMG Pricing and Specs
S63 AMG L 5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $142,900 – 180,730 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S63 AMG L Pricing and Specs
S300 Bluetec Hybrid 2.1L, Hyb/Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $78,600 – 99,440 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2014 S300 Bluetec Hybrid Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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