Mercedes-Benz introduced a hybrid version of its flagship S-Class for the 2010 model year, and it will soon be joined by another alternative powertrain for 2011. Mercedes-Benz announced it will begin selling a diesel-powered S350 BlueTec next year.
The S350 BlueTec will be powered by an uprated version of Mercedes’ 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 engine. For S-Class duty, the engine will output 241 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. Although S350 BlueTec will have the least the horsepower of the S-Class lineup, it will have the second-highest torque output of the non-AMG models. The S350 BlueTec will use Mercedes' familiar seven-speed automatic transmission and have 4Matic all-wheel-drive standard.
Of course the main reason for adding such an engine is fuel economy. Mercedes-Benz has stated its intent not to pay a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) penalty ever again. The only way to achieve this goal is through the introduction of more fuel-efficient vehicles. Although no EPA figures are yet available, the S350 could eclipse even the S400 Hybrid’s fuel economy rating of 21 mpg combined. The S350 is rated at 31 mpg on the European combined cycle. For a fuel economy comparison, the S550 is rated at 21 mpg combined in Europe and at 18 mpg combined here.
Mercedes hasn’t given any word on when exactly the S350 BlueTec will go on sale, but it will be sometime next year. There is no word on pricing yet, either.