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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Daimler's (DDAIF) Mercedes S-Class is an iconic large luxury sedan and the pinnacle of rear-seat comfort.

This car is expensive, though, and we're not talking about just the $95,325 starting price for the base version, the S550. It gulps gasoline. The author's tests of the four-wheel-drive version of the S550 yielded 15 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway -- under ideal conditions.

But what if someone told you that you could get 100 mpg in the same car? Now you can.

Mercedes just launched a plug-in hybrid version of the Mercedes S550 called the 550e for the same price as the regular S550. You may even be eligible for federal and state tax incentives worth a combined total of about $5,000 depending on where you live. The car is available only in California right now, but it's expected to go on sale in other states in coming months.

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I spent a week driving it and was able to get more than 100 mpg, depending on how often I was able to use an electric car charger.
You see, the S550e has an electric range of only 18 miles on average, and I typically got a little less than that -- 13 to 16 miles. That said, most of my local trips were in the single-digit miles. If your office is only a few miles away, and the other places you visit -- supermarkets, soccer field, restaurants and cafes -- are also only single-digit miles away, you can drive close to 100% of your time on electric power.

Here's an example: In the morning, drive to a cafe with a nearby charging station. Get a full charge. Drive to the office. Get a full charge. Drive to lunch. Get a full charge. Drive to the soccer field. Get a full charge. Drive to the restaurant. Get a full charge. And so forth. You'll be at 100% electric, even with an 18-mile electric range.

The mpg meter in this car stops at 99.9. I found it sitting at 99.9 mpg for much of the week I was driving it. That means I was doing somewhere better than 100 mpg.

Individual results will vary dramatically. If you drive longer distances -- say, more than 10 to 15 miles at a time, or you can't charge as often -- you're going to get much lower mileage.

2 more Pages too read here.:wink:


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