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If you’re in the market for a big luxury car, prepare to have your mind blown. Mercedes-Benz Malaysia officially announced today that the locally assembled Mercedes-Benz S 400 L Hybrid has received full duty exemptions in Malaysia under the new 2014 National Automotive Policy (NAP). Yes, like the CKD Jazz Hybrid, you’ll pay no import or excise duties for it. The official price is RM587,888 OTR without insurance.

Unlike the previous versions of the NAP where duty exemptions are given to CBU hybrid cars with engine displacement of 2.0 litres and below, the new 2014 NAP provides duty exemptions for locally assembled hybrid cars with any engine displacement size. This duty exemption for CKD hybrids will be in effect until December 31, 2015.

“We have worked hard to bring the S-Class as a hybrid vehicle to the Malaysian market. Having invested a considerable amount in preparing our assembly line and manpower at our Pekan plant. This marks another great achievement and certainly a milestone for Mercedes-Benz Malaysia,” said Mercedes-Benz Malaysia (MBM) president and CEO Roland Folger.

Kai Schlickum, vice president of sales and marketing added: “With the S 400 L Hybrid qualifying and receiving full duty exemptions, we are proud to be able to contribute in helping Malaysia fulfil its ambition of becoming a regional EEV hub.”

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MBM has invested a total of RM15 million to prepare its plant for local assembly of the S 400 L Hybrid. The new price is a massive reduction over the previous estimated price of “below RM900k” given when the W222 was first launched in March this year.

We suppose MBM was being conservative at that point and gave an estimated price with duties. We’re happy to see that the duty exemption is non-discriminatory and luxury brands can take advantage of it in the same way as a mass market brand.

To put the pricing into perspective, an entry level model in this class of car usually costs in the mid to high RM600k range. The W221 S 300 L had a retail price of around RM660k, while the S 350 L was priced at RM840,888. This S 400 L Hybrid technically should replace the S 350 L. That’s over RM250k saved in terms of exempted duties.

For the first time ever, the most affordable S-Class has nearly every box on the equipment list ticked. It gets LED Intelligent Light System headlamps as standard (it’s actually an option, and replaces the stock LED High Performance units), and likewise, a 590-watt, 13-speaker Burmester Surround Sound audio system is fitted in place of the base 10-speaker system.

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Elsewhere, you’ll find an Air Balance perfume atomisation package and Thermotronic climate control – with two additional zones to improve thermal comfort – in the kitbag, in addition to a twin-spoke multifunction steering wheel wrapped in Nappa leather, DVD player and rear head restraint cushions. The S 400 L Hybrid rides on Airmatic suspension.

The interior features a double-screen instrumentation binnacle design, with 12.3-inch high-resolution TFT screens in 8:3 aspect ratio utilised for both displays.

As for space, the W222 offers 12 mm extra headroom, 14 mm more shoulder room and 10 mm more elbow room for the front occupants, as well as additional 14 mm in rear knee room and 9 mm increased shoulder room for the rear occupants, despite the wheelbase dimensions remaining the same as the outgoing W221/V221 long wheelbase model. The rear seat configuration for Malaysia is a three-seater one.

Tech bits include the Driving Assistance Package Plus, which comprises Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, Brake Assist BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Pre-Safe Brake with pedestrian detection, Pre-Safe Plus, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist.

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Also in the electronic mix are Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus, Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist and Night View Assist Plus. As for airbags, the S-Class is equipped with eight as standard – Malaysian cars feature the seatbelt bag, which is an option, as standard fitment.

The S 400 L Hybrid model name means it has a 3.5 litre direct-injection normally-aspirated V6 with 306 horsepower and 370 Nm of torque under the hood, mated to a 27 hp/250 Nm electric motor integrated between the engine and the 7G-Tronic Plus gearbox. Performance figures include a 0-100 km/h time of 6.8 seconds, a 250 km/h top speed and combined fuel consumption of 6.3 litres per 100 km.

Time to get yourself into an S 400 L Hybrid then?