The Mercedes-Benz S-Class plug-in hybrid will be available when the new S-class is launched in 2012, according to the automaker. Details inside.

When Daimler launches the next Mercedes-Benz S-Class in 2012, it will be available with a plug-in hybrid platform.  The company will release the full S-Class line-up with more powerful, and more efficient engines, regardless of model number.

Speaking in an interview with Autocar, Mercedes head of research and development Thomas Weber said the hybrid model could get over 80mpg.  Emissions spewed out directly from the car's tailpipe could figure lower than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometer.  The downside will be the car's price, expected to be significantly higher than the base S-Class.

"It makes a lot of sense to bundle the high-price tech option to the sort of customers willing to pay for this sort of thing," Weber said.

Mercedes already markets the S400 BlueHybrid, which uses a 279-horsepower 3.5-liter V6-engine in tandem with a 15-kiloWatt electric motor, for just under 30mpg.  However, the Mercedes-Benz Vision S500 plug-in concept, shown in Frankfurt last year, claims 73.5 mpg, and a 0-100km/h time of 5.5 seconds.

The range of vehicles will be built with the automaker's new versions of petrol, direct injection V6- and V8-engines.  Stop/start will likely be available on each, as will turbochargers.  Mercedes says these engines are up to 10% more powerful and 25% more efficient, while delivering 25% more torque.

But do not expect to see an all-electric version anytime soon.  Weber says a long-enough range could not be provided on the S-Class to meet customer needs.

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