New Mercedes Limousine, The BlueHybrid

Until now, if you were super wealthy and laden with at least a little bit of eco-conscience there has only ever been one luxo-barge choice, namely the Lexus 600h.

Until now that is. Now there is a new player in the ever expanding hybrid stable. It is the S400 BlueHybrid, Mercedes' first-ever passenger hybrid and it should come as no surprise that Mercedes claim that it is the most economical luxury petrol limousine in the world.

Based on the S350 but with additional electric bits, the S400 gets a 3.5-litre V6 mated to a electric motor with a snazzy set of lithium ion batteries. In Fact it is the first production car to get such batteries. Being the company's flagship vehicle, Mercedes execs demanded that the S hybrid give up nothing to its gasoline counterpart including trunk and passenger space. With that goal in mind, Mercedes engineers were able to actually design a hybrid system that fits completely under the hood of the big sedan.

There's plenty of other clever green stuff in the S350, too, including a BMW-style stop-start function and regenerative braking to eke out every last drop of fuel. All of which sounds rather sensible, but Mercedes is making a big thing of the S400's sporty nature, and reckons that all the low-end torque should make it a laugh on the back roads.

The need to clean up the environment and rising price of fuel has led to accelerated growth of the hybrid vehicle market. Competition between manufacturers has led to advances in technology which has resulted in not only more economical vehicles, but also things like better performance and longer battery life.

Ultimately the motoring public will be the winners as competition will drive down prices as well. Luxury limousine hybrids are already gaining ground in the limo hire market. With increased competition and more models to choose from their prevalence is sure to increase. So, making a green choice will be even easier.