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Did Mercedes accidentally reveal a plug-in hybrid S-Class to the Australians?

Mercedes S500 Plug-in Hybrid Concept

Ever since the launch of the S400 Hybrid, we’ve been anticipating a plug-in version. The S-Class is big enough to hide a rather large onboard lithium-ion battery pack so the concept made sense.

Mercedes did in fact have a 2009 plug-in hybrid S-Class concept car called the S500 Plug-in Hybrid that debuted in Frankfurt that year.

Now word has come from three Australian automotive news outlets (Car Advice, Motoring, and Plug In Cars) that the Germans might have inadvertently shown the media down under a peek at the drivetrain and dashboard of an up-coming S-Class plug-in hybrid.

The images that were leaked consist of a dash-mounted battery power indicator graphic for the “W222 S-Class PHEV.” They then saw “graphic drivetrain schematic featuring an electric motor sitting behind a conventional engine and a battery pack positioned in the boot,” according to Car Advice.

The concept is an exciting one but it begs a broader question: aside from Ed Begley Jr., who would buy such a vehicle?

The ultra rich buying the S-Class are – and we hate to paint with such a broad brush here – less than concerned with fuel economy.

We needn’t look beyond the rest of the S-Class lineup for perfect example. The S65 AMG achieves some 12 miles-per-gallon on a good day. Why would high-end buyers want a fuel-efficient luxury sedan? If we were to spend that kind of money, we’d want more horsepower than the Saturn V rocket, not a fuel-efficient family hauler.

Regardless of our misgivings about potential buyer market, we like the idea. We love both the high-tech S-Class and plug-in hybrids. Maybe combining the two could end up better than we expect?

Do you think S-Class buyers concerned with bespoke German luxury would want a plug-in hybrid? Would you? Tell us below.

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