Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new entry level long wheelbase S-Class in China called the S320L. It uses a detuned version of the 3.0 litre twin turbo V6 in the S400L, producing a lower output of 272 hp at 5,000rpm and 400 Nm of torque between 1300-4,500rpm compared to the S400L’s 333 hp and 480 Nm. The S320L is not slow, hitting 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds, just 0.3 seconds slower than the S400’s 6.8 seconds.
When the W222 S-Class first came out, the lack of a petrol-powered S300 replacement made us wonder what entry level S-Class buyers would be shopping for in Malaysia. Of course, this question was answered last week in the form of the locally assembled S400 Hybrid priced at RM587,888, which thanks to the 2014 NAP‘s tax breaks allows Malaysians to buy a car which technically replaces last generation’s S350 at a price even cheaper than last generation’s S300.
However we have to point out that the NAP 2014’s tax breaks for CKD hybrid cars is scheduled to end by December 31 2015. It’s too early at this point to speculate whether the government will continue this incentive. There is another incentive called an EEV incentive which the S400 Hybrid might qualify for but that incentive is infamous for having no specific details on the incentives given announced and only to be given out on a “customisable” basis.
So if the tax breaks expire and EEV exemptions don’t provide the same level of tax incentives, the S400 Hybrid’s pricing could get pushed up to regular massively taxed price point. Mercedes-Benz Malaysia will then have to look for a new ‘S300’ – perhaps a detuned S400 will work for Malaysia as well? That’s a question that we’ll only have to find out the answer to a few years form now, thankfully.