Mercedes Benz is bringing it’s “hybrid offensive” to America. More specifically, they are showing off their two brand new hybrid models at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Benz brought both new hybrids, the 2013 gasoline-powered E400 Hybrid and the diesel-powered version, the 2013 E300 Bluetec Hybrid, to America even though unfortunately for American drivers, only the E400 will end up in the States.
The states-bound E400 features features a six cylinder gas engine capable of generating 302 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. That engine is married to a electric motor which will add an additional 27 horses and 184 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes expects the E400 Hybrid to achieve 24 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway, or 27 mpg combined. That hybrid drivetrain will deliver some pretty nice get up and go, jumping from zero to 62 in a very respectable 6.7 seconds while posting a limited top speed of 130 mph.
Those lucky Europeans will be getting the diesel version of the new Benzo hybrid. The new E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid combines a 204 horsepower four-cylinder turbo –yes, turbo — diesel engine to the same 27 horsepower electric motor found in the US version. That combo produces 228 horsepower and a burley 553 lb-ft of torque. All that torque means one thing: acceleration (not to mention a little extra oomph for the passing lane). The new diesel hybrid will hop from zero to 62 in a very quick 6.7 seconds.
Both models use the same hybrid system available in the Mercedes S400 hybrid, which runs the gas/lithium-ion battery motor combo through a seven-speed transmission. Both models also feature regenerative braking, aerodynamic styling and a “sailing” mode that can decouple the engine from the transmission at speeds of up to 100 mph in order to allow the car to coast along the highway with minimal frictional losses from the drivetrain.
Mercedes also has its eye on safety as the both models will feature a high-strength steel casing and a vibration-dampening gel to protect he lithium-ion battery pack from damage in a collision.
With their new offensive, Benz seems to be taking aim at Lexus whose extensive line of hybrids has been making inroads with buyers of higher end cars. Benz hasn’t released pricing info for their new models yet, but expect to start seeing the new E400 in showrooms in the second half of 2012.