The British magazine Top Gear tested the PHEV version of the Mercedes S 580 e which they consider to be the best Mercedes S-Class.
Currently, the Mercedes S-Class has neither V12 nor V8 versions. Thus, the Mercedes S 580 e is the most powerful version available and uses the same inline 6-cylinder engine from the S 500. An S 63 AMG version is expected this year but this will also be a PHEV version using the same powertrain as the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 4-doors (bi-turbo V8 plus an electric motor).
Mercedes is announcing an electric range of 63 miles, and colleagues at Top Gear have managed to go fully electric for 45 miles. That 45-mile real-world range makes it a very practical car, something that can’t be said for almost all PHEV models. There are other PHEV luxury limousines – BMW 745e, Audi A8 60 TFSI e or Bentley Flying Spur but they all have an electric range of up to 20 miles and low speed charging only at AC stations.
The Mercedes S 580 e’s 28.6 kWh battery is twice the size of the Bentley Flying Spur’s and unlike rivals that only charge at 7 kW AC stations, it can also charge at 60 kW DC stations (an option not available on rivals) which means charging from 10 to 80% takes only 20 minutes. In particular, charging at DC stations makes the difference with its rivals.
In electric mode, Mercedes is not much faster than its rivals. BMW has a 111 HP electric motor while Mercedes’ electric motor has 150 HP but is also very heavy at 2385 kg. Acceleration is quick off the line and at low speeds but tapers off once you get past 60mph.
As with the first generation Mercedes S-Class PHEV, there’s a clear cut-off point at the accelerator pedal and when you pass it the inline 6-cylinder combustion engine kicks in. Combined power is 503 HP and 553 lb ft giving the S 580 e a 0-60 mph sprint in just 5.2 seconds. But it’s not the speed that’s important, it’s the fact that the S 580 e is one of the best PHEV models on the market. For the harmonious way in which the electric and combustion engines work together.
The regenerative braking system works perfectly and is operated from the paddles behind the steering wheel. From D+ mode which allows virtually free coasting, a middle setting with medium regeneration to D- which gives strong regeneration. Or use Auto mode by holding down the paddles and the car makes its own decisions.
Adaptive autopilot is connected with regenerative braking. If a car is detected ahead, the engine stops and regenerative braking slows the car down. With the battery charged, the consumption was 58 mpg but you can get up to 70 mpg if you drive more relaxed. With the battery discharged the consumption was also decent with a value of 32 mpg. By comparison, the Bentley Flying Spur barely got 28 mpg while driving very economically.
The inline 6-cylinder engine is not as quiet as you would expect. But maybe that’s also a subjective impression because nothing else produces any noise in the S 580 e apart from the Burmester audio system. The boot is a little smaller but the difference is small. Thanks to the higher boot floor, the volume has been reduced from 580 to 535 litres but there is no compromise in passenger comfort. Mercedes S 580 e is available only a as a long wheelbase version.
Compared to the diesel S 400 d, in England the S 580 e is around £10,000 more expensive. Incidentally, the S 580 e is more expensive than its PHEV rivals. But the S-Class has always been a benchmark in the segment. The S-Class is a standard in diesel and petrol engines and now the PHEV version is the best choice in the range.