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2008 Mercedes-Benz S400 Bluetec hybrid

Special to the Los Angeles Times

Now that California (and the 49 other states) will allow Mercedes-Benz to sell cars featuring its Bluetec diesel technology, this opens the doors to new possibilities. Like this S400.

Along with a V-6 Bluetec (common rail, turbocharged, ultra-clean, quiet and appreciably torquey) diesel engine, this car also has a hybrid module that generates an extra 20 horsepower. This is one of the first diesel hybrids to hit the market. Not only should it be cheap to run, but it also will be emissions-friendly on a whole new level.

Couple that with one of the finest full-size luxury sedans around, and the more aware movers and shakers of Southern California will have a new icon car to play with. One day we'll laugh at how thirsty the Prius was.

UNDER THE HOOD

V-6 Bluetec diesel engine
265 horsepower
465 pound-feet of torque
0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
40.5 mpg (based on European driving cycle)

WHEN?

Arriving after 2010

HOW MUCH?

TBA

OUR TAKE

There will always be a demand for luxury cars, just as there will be an increasing demand for cars that are more environmentally responsible. This S400 hybrid looks to satisfy both criteria.

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