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2013 Mercedes E400 Hybrid set for Detroit Auto Show

There’s no reason luxury large cars can’t strive for good fuel economy. If you like the Mercedes E-Class, the fuel-efficient E350 Bluetec diesel initially hit the streets in 2011. Now, Mercedes is poised to attract more green car shoppers with the 2013 E400 Hybrid, which will debut in January 2012 at the Detroit Auto Show.

Along with the E400 Hybrid, which is slated for the U.S., Mercedes will introduce the E300 Bluetec Hybrid. However, this diesel-hybrid version of the E-Class will only be offered in Europe. “With a clear focus on the different requirements of global markets, we are able to offer precisely the models which our customers want,” says Professor Dr. Thomas Weber, Daimler board member for Group Research and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development in a press release. “The E-Class hybrids provide a clear reduction in consumption as well as a very impressive driving experience: they represent hybrid motoring at the premium level.”

Like the current S-Class Hybrid, the E400 Hybrid will feature a V6 engine and electric motor. However, it’s more powerful than the flagship sedan. A 302-horsepower V6 engine and a 27-horsepower electric motor will propel the E-Class Hybrid. The current S-Class Hybrid pairs a 275-horsepower V6 to a 20-horsepower electric motor.

Along with more power, the E400 Hybrid promises some advancements in drivability. “The major difference between the two systems has to do with their respective electric motors and their operating capabilities,” writes Car and Driver. “The S400’s motor produces 118 lb-ft of torque, while the E’s makes 184. The S400 can’t move without the gas engine firing, but the E400 can go up to 22 mph and cover up to half a mile on the electric motor alone.”

Mercedes says it hopes to earn 24/31 mpg city/highway fuel economy ratings from the EPA. In comparison, the Infiniti M35h uses slightly less fuel, with 27/32 mpg. Pricing and detailed specs on the E400 Hybrid aren’t available yet, but Mercedes says its new hybrid sedan should be on dealer lots in the second half of 2012.

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