The past couple of years have seen unlikely, major names in the automotive industry heavily targeting the hybrid car niche. It is still too soon to tell whether the consecrated brands are heading down that route because they are looking to cash in on a topical and profitable trend, or whether they are showing genuine concern at the increased lack of availability of non-renewable fuels. However, what’s for sure is that it’s always good news to hear that another industry giant is joining in the ranks of the eco-friendly and Earth-conscious. The latest name on this roster is Germany’s Mercedes Benz, who have recently announced that 2013 will bring about their release of the E400, in the E-class range.
The car is an elegant sedan, with the classic, sleek and elongated look that Mercedes-Benz has gotten us used to. It will be powered by electricity and gasoline and its price tags are just as hefty as anyone with a bit of info on the scene could have predicted. The cars will cost upward of $55.800, to which prospective buyers also need to add an extra $905 for destination. The car was first revealed at this year’s Detroit motor show, where it was met with a fair dose of skepticism, mixed in with enthusiasm from the aficionados of the E-class.
The E400 is further proof that Mercedes likes to mix things up when it comes to building cars—especially those in the fuel-efficient variety. It is the brand’s second effort in this class, yet it is in no way a follow-up to the much more complex diesel E350 BlueTec. The E350 is comparatively cheaper, at $52,200 without destination and packs a smaller, 3 liter V6 and offers a good alternative to those looking to buy a brand-new Benz, yet are not entirely sold on the hybrid car trend.
The E400 is based on the setup of the S400, which has been amped up from 275 horsepower, a 3.5 liter V6 engine and a 20 horsepower electric motor to a 3.5 V6 engine with direct injection able to produce 302-hp and a 27-hp electric motor. Where the E350 could only produce 118 lb-ft of torque, the E400 churns out an impressive 184 lb-ft. what is more, the E400 can also reach 22 mph without firing up the gasoline engine. The electric motor can run for half a mile entirely on its own. The car has yet to be rated for fuel efficiency and economy, but inside sources indicate that it runs at 24 mpg in the city, 32 on highways and 27 mpg combined.