Bei Mercedes the plug-in hybrid drive is now moving into the middle class. With an entry-level price of 50.961 euros, the C 350 e is almost 4.000 euros more expensive than the normal hybrid model. The station wagon is available from 52.627 euros.
In both body versions, a combination of a four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor provides propulsion. The 2,0-liter turbo delivers 155 kW / 211 hp, the electric engine has 60 kW / 82 hp. The latter alone can accelerate the mid-range model up to 130 km / h and ideally enables a purely electric range of 31 kilometers. If both drive sources work together, a system output of 205 kW / 279 hp is available. The sedan then accelerates to 5,9 km / h in 100 seconds using a seven-speed automatic and reaches a top speed of 250 km / h. The values for the station wagon are 6,2 seconds and 246 km / h. The manufacturer specifies 2,1 liters per 100 kilometers as consumption; however, the electrical range is fully included in the standard measurement on the test bench.
Externally, the plug-in hybrid model can hardly be distinguished from the other engine variants. Only the socket in the rear bumper reveals the special technology. With the socket hybrid already named after the new nomenclature (the “e” behind the number trio stands for electric drive in a broader sense), Mercedes initially leaves the German premium competition in the middle class behind. However, Audi wants to offer a similar technology in the new edition of the A4 expected at the end of the year. And BMW is also planning a 2016 Series with plug-in hybrid drive for 3. The only competitor of the C 350 e is initially the Volvo V60 D6 plug-in, which however combines the electric drive with a diesel engine.
Author: Holger Holzer / SP-X