First ride in the new Mercedes-Benz C350e

[= ””] Update: The federal government now has the Promotion of e-mobility decided, We therefore update the e-car articles, tests and driving reports again. This original article comes from the 9. April 2015

San Francisco - First Test

We all had it. The whole range of new C-class, once the performance ladder up and once down. As a sedan, as a station wagon. As an economical four-cylinder diesel and as a grim one V8 athletes. The “little S-Class” is definitely the best C-Class of all time. Neatly tidy in the interior, quite progressive in design and at the forefront of technology. Air suspension in this segment? A real Swabian coup. But what was missing until today? Exactly, a plug-in hybrid. And the Stuttgart-based company now wants to introduce ten new models of this technology by 2017. On the S500 plug-in hybrid now follows the C350e.

The arithmetic artist

First test drive in the new C350e - plug-in hybrid

driving report mercedes-benz 02 c350e plug-in hybrid

On the way between “Latte Iced Caramel-Double Flat White Mocha blended Frappuccino” and doing without at a high level.

The premiere on the street took place in California. For European motor journalists a decent journey to the CO2 saver from Stuttgart. In the land of mocking gasoline prices, the premiere of a fuel-saver is a bit contradictory. Unless you're not cruising through Pick-Up Country in the mid-west of the USA, but through California. The US state where Tesla E-Mobile and Toyota Hybrids are part of everyday life like ice water for breakfast and “bio organic” chicken eggs. So it might be. The C-Class is no longer new. Your qualities known. The same goes for the enthusiasm of the people of Stuttgart.

Now it should also be ecologically correct. With only 2.1 liters according to the NEDC standard, driving performance should be at the level of a sports car (yes, it says in the press release) are linked to the consumption values ​​of a small eco-vehicle.

This is nonsense, of course!

driving report mercedes-benz 16 c350e plug-in hybrid

C350e - the arithmetic artist in the mock pack

279 PS are available in the system network. On the gasoline side, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo with 211 hp can do work duty. The engine is known in principle from the C250. Mercedes-Benz has placed a 7 kW electric motor and a clutch between the engine and transmission (well-known 60-speed automatic). The 350 Nm of the gasoline engine are properly supported by the 340 Nm of the electric motor, and almost overshadowed. As usual, the values ​​of the two drive sources cannot simply be added up, but the 600 Nm system output still gives the plug-in hybrid C-Class a powerful feel.

Stormy driving performance

It goes from zero to 100 in just 5.9 seconds. So far, the idea of ​​the two ventricles under the hood is quite impressive. Also the purely electric starting, sailing, gliding, everything was great. All good.

If you use the navigation of the C350e and leave the “driving program switch” (that's what it really calls itself) to Economy, the on-board computer supports you in the most sensible hybrid driving style. While the eco-assistant comes to the driver's aid via radar and haptic accelerator pedal (formerly: accelerator pedal) to increase the efficiency of their own driving style, the complex on-board electronics control the use of the hybrid system to achieve maximum efficiency. The course of the route is analyzed, the purely electric drive is optimized, especially for city traffic, and the charging of the 6.38 kW / h battery is controlled for the phases in which the maximum delay is to be expected.

In theory, the 60 kW electric motor is good for up to 130 km / h, but reality only allows short distances. The power requirement is too large, the battery too small.

Quiet and purely electric from the traffic lights? Not a big problem. One should not be too grossly motor-driven, otherwise the C-Class misunderstands the desire for acceleration and pushes the power of both hearts through the drive train.

Mathematical geniuses. Not? 

In addition to the haptic “accelerator” and the radar of the proximity cruise control, it is the “eco strategies” of the “eco driving program”, which are used for the first time in road traffic, that really make the C350e stand out. Because elsewhere, the negative side of the arithmetic artist comes to light.

Norm - just not anymore!

Mercedes-Benz meets the standard. But unfortunately not anymore. According to the NEDC cycle, the C350e can drive a purely electric distance of 31 kilometers. That is exactly 1.000 meters more than the EU demands for the “clean bill” in the abstract arithmetic structure of the NEDC standard value. Thanks to the 30 (+1) kilometers, the NEDC standard value of the C350e can be “calculated small” according to the ECE standard R 101 and this results in a consumption of 2.1 liters.

Unfortunately, that's bullshit.

The C350e thus degenerates into a fleet consumption fig leaf, the standard consumption value of which is not relevant for everyday users, but is required purely to meet the CO2 requirements in the EU.

Six-cylinder steam, three-cylinder thirst?

The character of the C350e can be defined in 5 areas with the flick of a finger. From S + mode, the Sport-Plus mode for maximum dynamism, through S for Sport to C for Comfort to an E for Economy, the chassis, steering, gearbox set-up and the interaction between the two hearts can be influenced. But that was only four modes? Right. The “I” for “individual” is missing. Here you can set your own combination. The drive as efficient as possible, the suspension rather stiff, the steering direct, but the air conditioning in Eco mode. Mercedes-Benz allows the C pilots to enjoy playing on the on-board computer.

The “six-cylinder steam” promised by the press release suffers a little from the 270 kilograms that the complex plug-in drive train brings with it. And the mini thirst would be more impressive if the battery power lasted longer. In addition, the requirements for the plug-in class have only recently increased again. The EU requires a range of forty kilometers from 2017 and will presumably require this in the new WLTP cycle to be much more realistic. China has just raised the hurdle for funding electric and plug-in hybrids to a range of fifty kilometers.

driving report mercedes-benz 32 c350e plug-in hybrid

Summary

But that doesn't make the C350e a bad car

No. It drives precisely and comfortably, as it should be. The air suspension supplied in series puts everything else in this vehicle class in the shade. Sitting position and operation are perfect. The haptic accelerator and the route-based eco-strategy are a real asset. In addition, the electric motor and petrol engine play together 98% harmoniously and hardly noticeably - but unfortunately this unattractive basic design hangs over everything.

Plug-in hybrids are heavier than their hybrid brothers. The combination with the gasoline engine quickly leads to a sobering result when it comes to consumption on long and brisk stages. This makes it all the more important to use “generous” electrical distances. But this is exactly where Mercedes-Benz messes up unusually heartily.

31 kilometers according to standard, in the speed-regulated Starbucks landscape of San Francisco, it was just enough for 16 kilometers until the 6.38 kW / h small battery waned and stretched its wings.

Far too short a distance for everyday commuters in West Germany! On the plus side are the first “haptic accelerator pedal” and a plug-in hybrid in the mid-range segment. Audi and BMW have to fit first.

 Link tip: Car logger Jens Stratmann also has an opinion on the Mercedes-Benz C350e click me.

Here's how Mercedes-Benz explains how the C350e works:

 Photos: Mercedes-Benz / Bjoern Habegger / travel expenses borne by the manufacturer
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