Mercedes S300 Hybrid vs Lexus LS 600h

Lexus vs Mercedes
24 Jun, 2014 11:57am

Can new eco Mercedes S300 take hybrid limo crown from Lexus LS?

After a slow start, hi-tech hybrids are attracting mainstream success. And it’s not just penny-pinching family cars that are getting the eco-friendly electric treatment.

The newest generation of luxury limousines has also been given a green makeover. The latest arrival is the Mercedes S300 Hybrid, which combines a small-capacity four-cylinder diesel with an electric motor to deliver a compelling blend of performance and economy. But are captains of industry going to be convinced by such a humble powerplant, or are they likely to be swayed by a theoretically smoother and more refined petrol unit?

To find out, we’ve lined up the new S-Class against a pioneer of the luxury hybrid class: the Lexus LS 600h. Boasting a strong and silent 5.0-litre V8 and muscular 221bhp electric motor, the innovative car has the Mercedes beaten hands down for performance, plus it comes lavishly equipped and is backed by a decade of petrol-electric know-how.

Mercedes S-Class review

Lexus LS review

So which of our fuel-saving flagships takes victory in this classy encounter? Click on the links above to read the in-depth review of each car, then scroll down for our verdict.



Despite sharing similar hybrid principles and performance on the road, the Mercedes and Lexus are very different under the skin.

The LS’s petrol engine has over twice the capacity of the diesel S-Class. Plus, its electric motor alone produces 221bhp – almost as much as the S300’s total output. And while the Lexus delivers its power to all four wheels through a CVT gearbox, the Mercedes uses a seven-speed auto and is rear drive.


The LS 600h’s reclining seat, four-zone climate control and powered blinds are all fitted as standard; you’ll have to pay £4,000 to get the same kit on the S-Class.

Although both models feature a long wheelbase, our tape measure revealed that the Lexus had an extra 90mm of rear legroom.

Business users

If you plan on purchasing one of these cars for business use, the Mercedes is a no-brainer. A higher-rate earner will pay £7,018 a year tax to run an S300 specced to the same level as the Lexus – that’s still £5,714 less than for the LS 600h.


1st place: Mercedes S300

Mercedes S-Class static

The brilliantly engineered S-Class can comfortably lay claim to the title of ‘best car in the world’. Its diesel-electric hybrid system isn’t as well integrated as the Lexus’ petrol unit, plus it’s a little thirsty, but it’s remarkably refined and delivers surprisingly strong performance.

2nd place: Lexus LS 600h

Lexus LS 600h static

There's lots to like about the LS 600h – its hybrid system is very effective, there’s loads of standard kit and it’s comfortable. But the price tag is hard to ignore, and the Lexus doesn’t feel composed on the road. It also lacks the bespoke quality of the best limousines.


Mercedes S300 Hybrid L AMG Lexus LS 600h Premier
On-the-road price/total as tested £72,260/£103,185 £99,995/£99,995
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) £30,783/42.6% £42,398/42.4%
Depreciation £41,477 £57,597
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £2,455/£4,909 £6,366/£12,731
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £2,160/£3,600 £2,731/£4,552
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 50/£624/C/£30 50/£929/J/£265
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service £40 per month £272/£596/£272
Length/wheelbase 5,246/3,165mm 5,210/3,090mm
Height/width 1,496/1,899mm 1,480/1,875mm
Engine 4cyl elect/2,143cc V8 electric/4,969cc
Combined peak power 228/3,800 bhp/rpm 439/6,400 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 500/1,600 Nm/rpm 520/4,000 Nm/rpm
Transmission 7-spd man/fwd CVT/4wd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 70 litres/foam 84 litres/foam
Boot capacity 510 litres 420 litres
Kerbweight/payload 2,035/700kg 2,440/375kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient 12.3 metres/N/A 11.8 metres/0.27Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (unltd)/4yrs 3yrs (60k)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers Variable (1yr)/136 10k miles (1yr)/51
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 9th/12th* 4th/1st*
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars N/A N/A
0-60/30-70mph 8.0/7.2 secs 6.8/5.2 secs
30-50mph in kickdown 2.9 secs 2.3 secs
50-70mph in kickdown 4.3 secs 2.9 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 155mph/1,900rpm 155mph/1,400rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 47.1/32.0/8.8m 50.3/36.6/8.9m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 71/44/56/66dB 62/44/60/68dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 34.4/7.6/530 miles 26.0/5.8/480 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 58.9/62.8/61.4mpg 26.9/37.7/32.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 13.0/13.8/13.5mpl 5.9/8.3/7.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 220/120g/km/17% 251/199g/km/32%
Airbags/Isofix/air suspension/camera Eight/yes/yes/yes Eleven/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/adaptive cruise ctrl Yes/yes/£2,300** Yes/yes/yes
Climate ctrl/leather/heat./vent. seats Yes/yes/yes/£660 Yes/yes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/LED lights/keyless go Yes/yes/£1,490 Yes/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth Yes/yes/yes/yes Yes/yes/yes/yes