S400 Hybrid 4dr Sedan (3.5L 6cyl gas/electric hybrid 7A)
Options on test vehicle
Sport Package ($5,800 -- includes 19-inch AMG wheels, sport body styling); Premium II Package ($4,950 -- includes bi-xenon headlights with active curve illumination, LED daytime running lights, adaptive high beams, heated and cooled active front seats, multicontour front seats with massage, keyless ignition/entry, front and rear parking sensors, rearview camera); Rear-Seat Package ($2,990 -- includes eight-way power-adjustable outboard rear seats, four-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated outboard rear seats); Driver Assistance Package ($2,900 -- includes advanced adaptive cruise control, PreSafe brake, blind spot warning system and lane departure warning system); Rear-Seat Entertainment Package ($2,450 -- includes two display screens, two monitors, two wireless headphones and a separate DVD input); Night View Assist Plus ($1,740); Panorama Sunroof ($1,070); Diamond White Paint ($795); Wood/Premium Leather Steering Wheel ($580).
I started acceleration runs with 97 percent showing on battery capacity and by run 5, it had gone down to 82 percent, but this didn't appear to affect the acceleration or trap speed (much). Still, the launch is pretty lazy as the car pauses momentarily while it realizes you want "both barrels blazing." Once under way, the power is remarkably linear and upshifts are buttery smooth.
Belts cinch up with full-ABS stops! The first stop was shorter than the remaining five that were tightly grouped, showing good fade resistance. Pedal effort was low and felt a little squishy. Also noticed an atypical (not like hot brakes) odor with no loss in performance.
Soft and compliant in Comfort setting, but even with the throttle closing with ESP on, the grip is about the same as Sport with ESP off (which it is not, by the way). Steering feels a little distant and vague. Steering feels buttery smooth in the slalom, but a little numb in terms of feeling the surface. Appropriately stately (moderate) turn-in and yaw reactions and neutral attitude -- you really notice that there are no heavy batteries. Good transition in Sport, and also in Comfort, though slightly delayed. Not an embarrassing performance -- especially for a hybrid lux sedan.