Contrasts in harmony. The new
By night, the city is another world. Whereas during the day a caravan of automobiles inches slowly forward, the
Stuttgart is a place of contrasts. Many of the businesses based there, innovation incubators of the automotive industry, are global players, yet there are spots in this thriving city where one could mistake it for a charming little town. And then there’s the special character of the Stuttgart residents themselves—stereotypes with which the Swabians are all too familiar. Inveterate technocrats, the description goes, thrifty and enamored of rules. Yet there’s another side to the famed Swabian nature: you’d be hard pressed to find a group of people more open to the world, better traveled, more versatile, or who pursue innovation with such passion.
As the number in its name suggests, the
In Hybrid Auto mode, the vehicle independently switches between the drive units of the 2.9-liter V6 bi-turbo engine with 246 kW (330 hp) and the 101 kW (136 hp) electric motor. The driver allows the car to choose.
With a tap of the brake pedal, the
Wine grapes grow on the steep slopes around the Stuttgart basin. In the evening hours, the warm air from the valley rises up the hills. As dusk descends, the
Almost imperceptibly, the V6 springs into action, charging up the hill before easing up and leaving the subsequent straightaway to the 400 Nm (295 lb.-ft.) of the electric motor. The hybrid assistant in the cockpit uses visual cues to aid in the dosing of electric drive power. It’s almost a pity, really, that the driver notices so little of this figurative yin and yang, the subtle interplay of the combustion engine and the electric motor. While the precise choreography plays out beneath the hood, the
If the driver switches over to E-Power mode, which is always activated once the engine is started, the 2.9-liter V6 bi-turbo goes quiet. The car glides through the darkness almost without a sound. At Schlossplatz, night owls follow the whisper-quiet sedan with rapt gazes; minutes later, the
By Till Daun
Photos by Frederik Dulay-Winkler