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GREEN | 6 out of 10
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550: 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 20 mpg combined.
2014 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic: 16 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, 19 mpg combined.
2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG: 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, 18 mpg combined.
the U.S. market S400 Hybrid will be a plug-in, unlike the one I drove.
With efficiency on the minds of even the wealthiest buyers, an advanced hybrid right out of the gate might have set the tone in a way that no one expected.
The 2014 S-Class arrived in America in the fall of 2013 with just a single drivetrain at first, leaving the most fuel-efficient models from the prior year on hold.
Official U.S. EPA gas mileage ratings place the S550, powered by a twin-turbo, 4.6-liter V-8, at a fair 17 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. The 2014 figures make the new S550 a notch better than last year's--though it's still a bit thirsty in the grander scheme.
As yet, only two other 2014 S-Class models have been rated by the EPA: the S550 4Matic (all-wheel-drive) at 16/26 mpg city/highway; and the S63 AMG, which scores 15/23 mpg city/highway.
As a guideline, last year's S550 was rated at 15/25 mpg in the rear-drive S550 and at 15/24 mpg in the S550 with all-wheel drive. In long-distance interstate driving, we've seen 25.5 mpg even when cruising at nearly 80 mph with this engine and the standard seven-speed automatic.
In the offing are new versions of the S350 BlueTEC turbodiesel, and a hybrid. But that gas-electric model won't simply be a restyled S400 Hybrid with a carryover drivetrain--it is a new S500 plug-in hybrid, recently revealed at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show but not yet rated for the U.S. market. European gas mileage figures place it at up to 78 mpg, but those figures don't translate well to EPA ratings.
For now, at least, the S-Class loses its diesel and hybrid editions, but a plug-in hybrid and a new diesel are coming soon.