The plug-in hybrid Mercedes-Benz S550e is world-class in every way. It’s also environmentally friendly with its efficient powertrain, which integrates a twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and an electric motor with a seven-speed 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The combination provides premium sedan buyers a luxury driving and ownership experience with the benefit of 14 miles of zero-emission electric driving. Overall driving range provided by the S550e’s 141 horsepower electric motor and 329 horsepower 3.0-liter V-6 is a total of 450 miles.
An array of advanced technologies optimize engine performance while reducing emissions, fuel consumption, and noise. These include rapid-multispark ignition that can fire up to four times-per-millisecond, high-pressure direct injection that can fine-tune fuel spray in 0.1 millisecond, a lightweight die-cast alloy block, widely variable valve timing, reduced friction, and on-demand ancillary components that de-activate when unneeded. An E-Boost feature enables the electric motor to raise total torque up to 479 lb-ft for quick 0 to 60 mph acceleration in just 5.2 seconds. The S550e has remarkable efficiency of up to 63 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) on the highway while driving on battery power. A drag coefficient of 0.27 CD contributes toward energy savings.
Four drive modes can be selected: The intelligent Hybrid mode optimizes use of the gasoline and electric motors together based on conditions and terrain, and even uses navigation data about the route. All-electric E-Mode offers emission-free driving around town. E-Save conserves battery power on longer highway trips and allows all-electric driving as desired in urban areas. Charge mode maximizes battery replenishment.
Economy and Sport programs vary the car’s performance character while favoring electric or gasoline power. A third Economy+ program activates accelerator pedal tactile feedback that aids more efficient driving. Whenever it’s possible to save fuel by coasting, a double pulse in the pedal encourages lifting off the accelerator. When using all-electric E-Mode, pushing the pedal beyond a distinct pressure point engages the gas engine for an instant boost of power.
Advanced driver assist systems are prevalent in the S550e. These include Distronic Plus with steering assist, BAS Plus with cross-traffic assist, pre-safe brake with pedestrian recognition, blind spot assist, active lane keeping, and speed limit assist. The S550e also features enhanced radar-based regenerative braking. The extremely well-appointed cabin features dual 12.3 inch high resolution screens for driver instrumentation and a center display.
With its sleek styling, refined and accommodating interior, and plethora of advanced on-board electronics, BMW’s $96,600 S550e gives luxury sedan buyers yet another reason to opt for an environmentally-positive plug-in hybrid.