Comparison Review Mercedes S400 Hybrid vs Lexus LS600h L | The…

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Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID L Base

Comparison Review: Mercedes Hybrid vs. Lexus LS600h L

By L. Dykes on February 11, 2011

means many things to people, but nobody doubts cars should be crammed of the latest technology… and what “technology” in today’s car market like “Hybrid”? In a strange of history, Lexus created the first hybrid luxury from a vehicle that was inspired by the Mercedes S-Class, and now is fighting back with its hybrid sedan, the S400 So, is Lexus’s hybrid head-start to fend off a challenge from the that inspired its birth a twenty years ago? The way to find out is in TTAC’s most comparison test ever.

catering to a similar crowd, the and Mercedes hybrids could not more different missions in if they tried. Lexus’ complicated AWD hybrid system was with V12 performance in mind. on the other hand decided to the simplest route to hybridization by inserting a smallish electric between the engine and transmission. way you slice it, if you are shopping for a car to be driven in and somehow care about the seals, these two cars provide the best fuel in the luxo-barge market (which saying much). Let’s dig in.

The LS L is best known for being the expensive hybrid vehicle on the a fact that earns it county-club bragging rights, but that we talk price Starting with a base of $111,350, our press car was fitted the $10,835 optional “Package C” included everything except the cruise control and delivered a MSRP of $123,060 after the charge. For the fully-loaded buyer, the “Package D” will ring the up to $124,560.

While nearly may sound like a deal for even the wealthy, the LS 600h L’s competition starts at $91,000 in the of the Mercedes S400 Hybrid. equipped, the S400 Hybrid up at an eye-bulging $116,275. And if option-ticking is thing; $123,852 buys you a German hybrid. Of course if you a driver, the cost of the vehicle is to be unimportant, but I am told by the wealthier set a “discreet” ride is usually to a Maybach or Rolls. Noblesse . MSRP winner: LS 600h L.

When the LS 600h L arrived and I out my window, I was impressed by the fact the styling didn’t impress. not that the LS is boring, it’s that the Camry shares of the same lines. Taken by the LS is a handsome vehicle, and parked to a Camry you can see the LS is much, much bolder, and has greater attention to When separated, however, the comes to mind more Oddly enough, Lexus not to use their mid-cycle refresh for the model year to differentiate the LS the Toyota models, instead the LS a three-bar grille that more Avalon than to me. In contrast, the S400 Hybrid may some styling cues the C300, but the overall Mercedes is far less subtle than the While I still long for the of the W140 S-Class, there’s no the S-Class is the biggest Benz on our shores. Exterior style S400 Hybrid.

Lexus’ at cabin crafting are obvious the LS. The range topping Lexus full leather upholstery, with a single-needle stitched and door panels. While the may be the same as the LS 600h L’s lesser (the LS 460), the LS 600h L make you feel a touch special. Owners of the 460 appreciate the that a base LS delivers a interior for 60-large, LS 600h L may find the nearly identical a turn off. If you are spending the of a Midwest family home on a you probably expect something

The S400 Hybrid has the odd benefit of the cheapest S-Class in the USA. decided not to sell the short-wheelbase here which would directly with the LS 460 in the 60K+ This brand positioning that there is no $60,000 car on roads with identical to your high-rolling-hybrid. Despite the that the LS 600h L delivers an put together with more feel and precision than the could hope for, the factor pushes the S400 to the top on our scale. Interior style S400 Hybrid.

As a base model, the S400 have to promise range-topping which is good since hybrid Benz receives an version of Mercedes’ ubiquitous V6. Typically Atkinson-cycle engines are on power compared to their versions, but interestingly Mercedes has a new cylinder head, different and a modified camshaft which increase the power over the used in the other Merc In addition a 20HP, 118lb-ft motor is added, bringing the total power to 295HP and topping the 268HP and 258lb-ft of the C350. While the S400 delivers more power the V8 S430 (circa 2006) and to 60 a tenth of a second faster to 60 as tested), in this decade a car with a 0-60 in the 7 second is fairly slow.

Lexus has embraced technology, but only come to admire performance. To end the LS 600h L is equipped with a de-tuned 5.0L V8 engine IS-F (instead of the 4.6L the LS460.) In LS duty, the large V8 389HP at a lofty 6400RPM and of twist at 4,000RPM. Since numbers are not terribly exciting in own right, Lexus added a of electric motors good for and 221lb-ft. Due to the way the hybrid synergy system works (tech can find a wealth of information ), you don’t exactly add up 389HP and from the motors and get 610HP; the system horsepower ends up at a 438HP.

Lexus is fairly on the combined torque output of the hybrid system, but I estimate it to be at 400lb-ft and covering a very RPM range, thanks to the electric When the engine is shut off at a (saving baby seals), a romp on the go pedal summons in 5.4 seconds (TTAC tested), matches the 5.4 second time quotes for the LS 460 L. What this doesn’t indicate is the shockingly fashion with which the LS this thrust: no shifts, no no acceleration swells, just press-you-back-in-your-seat thrust until you to lift. Lexus says the top of the LS hybrid is 160MPH. I believe it. winner: LS 600h L.

When the gets twisty, it’s not important that a large sedan handle well. is important is that it gets the job with no fuss, minimal and no unnerving rear end motions. both sedans are equipped load-leveling air suspension setups, I a fairly similar ride, and in both the S400 and LS 600h L up to my expectations. Both deliver compliant rides on a variety of gravel and dirt roads. vehicles offer a “Sport” but only the Lexus seemed to deliver the hoped-for change to behavior with Sport activated. If you ever give the day off, a this cetaceous mode is a clear “must While I would never the LS 600h L a “corner carver,” is fairly impressive, and the AWD system an extremely well balanced while the massive Brembo stop the 5,360lb sedan drama every time. In the S400’s personality doesn’t any hurried shenanigans, which is because it just can’t the hustle of the Japanese competition. winner: LS 600h L.

No luxury vehicle would be to show its face at the country without the latest in whiz-bang Trouble is, both the S-Class and LS are getting old and luxury shoppers may be to find that a new Ford may snazzier gimmicks than luxury sedan. Both the LS L and the S400 have USB music integration, navigation, big LCD screens, hands-free, self-closing doors, climate control and more and knobs than NASA control, but the graphics on both nav fail to achieve the “wow” that the latest iDrive

The Mercedes brings the latest in air-seats to the fight, which massage Jeeves’ back and bolsters to keep him planted evading the paparazzi. The Lexus, delivers one of the better backseat in the business. Not only does the LS L’s right rear seat like the S-Class, but it has an ottoman, a tray table and a superb shiatsu massage system to Unlike other systems use air bladders to attempt to work out knots, the Lexus system to uses rollers inside the and can deliver a surprisingly deep

When hiring a Jeeves, important to remember to test skills in the interview. While and Lexus both have aids to help the parallel-challenged, managed only to bring new of frustration to the parking process for involved. The Mercedes system actually park for you, but it attempt to guide you, the space is large enough for a bus and you follow the guide-lines on the screen Germanic precision. Fail to ze commands visout qvestion and the will give up on you. The on the other hand will park or back your car a perpendicular parking spot If you give yourself a few hours to out which buttons to push and how to the square into the right Sadly Ford’s ultrasonic assist in the Lincoln MKt, Explorer and Focus are so easy to use and so both the Lexus and Mercedes seem useless. Just a Jeeves that can park. the Lexus takes the lead it can actually park itself enough patience). Gadget LS 600h L.

Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID L Base

The Germans have had a reputation for things for decades; similarly the have had a reputation for engineering to perfection. Luxury buyers not only the finest in craftsmanship, but the finest in engineering. In this neither disappoints. While it superficially that Lexus has the technological edge over the decade, the hybrid system in the LS L will remind you who has a crazy RD

The Lexus CVT and AWD system are a true unlike a “regular” CVT, the Synergy Drive transmission in the LS L uses planetary gear and motors to change ratios. the idea is the same as the transmission in the the LS 600’s unit is far more containing two power-split units and a two motor reduction gearbox on one of the motors designed to improve and reduce noise at speed. the gear-driven Torsen unit was designed for the LS’s transmission, to Lexus’ rigid standards for and physical dimensions.

By comparison, hybrid system seems rushed. While the S400 may be the first hybrid on the market, the reason for the dense battery design is due to a lack of space, Mercedes the battery to fit where the 12V battery goes. As you might guess means there is no 12V battery in the instead the lithium-ion battery and pack together replace the alternator and starter. While rights for being the first to a lithium-ion battery are nice, to explain how the Lexus’ transmission to passengers delivers Lexus the here: Engineering winner: LS L.

When selecting the perfect car to you to the board room, luxury are by far the most important consideration. Out on the in the LS, the first thing you will (while being massaged), is how the cabin is. “Quiet” doesn’t do it I’m talking eerily quiet. At the push of the power button you are to think “well it’s a so it’s quiet because the isn’t running.” In reality the was running, this car is just quiet.

In contrast, the S400 more wind noise at and a distinctly un-luxurious V6 noise under the hood when While I would never a CVT over a traditional automatic for my own the LS’ hybrid CVT is actually the perfect for executive transport (the thing you would want is a shift to spill your Speaking of that CVT, at the engine in the LS 600h L is barely faster than idle engine noise at an absolute If you are late for your meeting, digit speeds are attainable in sedans, but again the LS retains its pose and low noise levels at these speeds. If the LS is in your don’t spare the whip. all, it’s Jeeves’s not yours.   Luxury winner: LS L.

Last, and quite appropriately, we arrive at fuel economy. who derides the S400 or LS 600h L for low economy numbers obviously the point. If you really cared economy you’d buy a Prius, and if you cared about the environment have Jeeves pedal you to in a rickshaw. Instead the luxury are about technology, status and correctness. Even so, in mixed we averaged 22.3MPG in the S400 800 miles. The best mileage was a 50 mile highway journey 65MPH and 29MPG. We can, of thank the V6 for these numbers, as the S350L gets similar on the highway.

Does that make the the winner? On paper, yes, but in the LS 600h L surprised us with EPA real world economy According to the government, the LS 600h L deliver 20 MPG city and 22 Highway. On a 350 trip down to Los Angeles for the LA Show, we averaged 23 MPG at an average of 77 MPH which included going the Grapevine. I was however still to write off the hybrid tech as until we got stuck in LA traffic, the hybrid drive really A 28-mile trip from LA to Covina which took a two hours resulted in a lofty 32 MPG for the LS. If you live in New York or LA, the LS 600h L might be a penny-pincher in traffic. Of you can buy about 7,500 gallons of for difference in price of the LS 460 L and LS 600h L. winner: Tie.

At the end our two week test, it became obvious the LS 600h L is the best pure luxury vehicle in the $100,000 point. The isolation, the CVT and the AWD, all to make a vehicle that is for the person to whom Luxury floating on a cloud. The LS 600h L never have the athleticism of the BMW and it may not have the brand cachet of the but it does deliver the pinnacle in transport.

Lexus and Mercedes the vehicles, insurance, and one tank of gas per for this review

Mercedes-Benz S 400 HYBRID L Base


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