Published March 25, 2010
New reports on the possibility of big shakeups in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class lineup are beginning to break loose, and our sleuths have laid down the digital shoe leather to bring you the latest inside news: there's a new direct-injection BiTurbo V-8 engine coming to the S-Class, and an all-hybrid take is also being seriously considered. The best part: it all starts with the 2011 model.
It's still not yet 100 percent that the S-Class will go all-hybrid, though that's definitely a "strong consideration" according to a Mercedes-Benz spokesman. What is certain, however, is that the current 5.5-liter naturally-aspirated, 382-horsepower S550 will get a new direct-injection, twin-turbocharged V-8 engine from the MoVe family of engines. The new V-8 S-Class will be officially unveiled in about six weeks. The CL-Class is due for a facelift later this year (spy shots and info here), and will also get the new BiTurbo V-8 engine among other upgrades.
Currently the S-Class lineup consists of the S400 Hybrid, the S550, the V-12-powered S600 and the S63 and S65 AMG cars. Boosting the S550 to a direct-injected twin-turbo (or in Mercedes-speak, BiTurbo) V-8, and presumably something more like 450 horsepower, narrows the gap to the S600, perhaps indicating further ripples through the S-Class pond are yet to come.
Right now the S-Class is poised at the middle of its product lifecycle, so updates to the line are more likely to be evolutionary than revolutionary. That said, there's already a hybrid system in the S400 Hybrid--though that's packaged with the smaller and less-powerful 3.5-liter V-6 engine for a combined output of 295 horsepower. With the impending strict fuel economy standards starting from 2012, however, it may make sense to find a way to stick a hybrid into the entire range. Whatever happens, we'll bring you the latest as we dig it up.