The German automaker is getting ready to deliver a facelifted S Class for the 2018 model year, and the latest rumor for the model also speaks about the return to the inline six-cylinder engine configuration.
But since the carmakers also need to make due progress on reducing the carbon footprint of their models, Mercedes-Benz will also make use of a 48V mild-hybrid system. The new tech goodies will be packed alongside the M256-series straight-six gasoline engines – with diesel version to follow at a later date – in the form of an electric motor fitted directly to the crankshaft. And the electric unit will act as alternator, starter, and e-power boost provider. This means discarding the first two conventional parts, with the latter being a thing that was usually the panache of hybrid versions. The electric motor is also capable of harvesting electricity thanks to regenerative braking – up to 19 bhp of e-assistance and 20bhp during regeneration, for fuel economy gains of about 10 to 15 percent.
The models will not be branded as hybrids because there’s no way of making the electric motor operate independently on electric power alone – and the 0.9kWh 48V battery also signals this is not the main objective. More powerful hybrid systems are also in development: 350 e version for the GLE Coupe and the S 500 hybrid is getting a new battery pack in 2017, surging from 8.7kWh to 13.5kWh for an upgrade of the electric-only range to about 30 miles.