Who wants to carry his green conscience to the outside, must hope for eagle eyes of his environment. The most economical variant of Mercedes The exterior of the C-Class can only be recognized by the small "e" behind the model identifier on the trunk lid. It is no wonder, then, that no one shrugged their shoulders or pulled out their camera phone in the traffic along San Francisco Bay. The C 350e plug-in hybrid deserves to be in the spotlight. After all, it is the first of its kind in the three-class classic of the noble middle class: Neither the BMW 3 Series nor the Audi A4 can currently offer this innovative technology.
The principle is quickly explained: Take the well-known from the C 250 two-liter gasoline engine (155 kW / 211 PS) and coupled it with a 60 kW / 109 PS strong electric motor. Unfortunately, the power of the two hearts can not be added together, but still comes on proud 205 kW / 279 PS and a convincing pulling power of 600 Newton meters. A real hybrid, then. In turn, "plug-in" stands for the possibility of charging the battery at the socket. Full in the juice that is enough for purely electric driving up to well 30 kilometers. Sounds pretty little, but brings in practice more than the driver initially suspected.
"We wanted to develop an intelligent car," explains Jochen Strenkert, who is responsible for driving the electrifying C-Class. By this he means the networking of different systems which, depending on the driving situation, selects the ideal type of locomotion without the driver's intervention. A Mercedes with IQ therefore, who is waiting there with bulging battery on the first test drive. The start in the heart of San Francisco is followed by a constant ups and downs along the Pacific coast, then again highways, highways and city traffic through countless currently sleepy resorts on miles of sandy beach. "The computer works together with the navigation, so knows exactly when the next town crossing is pending," explains Strenkert. And this is exactly where the Mercedes should be on the road.
On a special display in the otherwise reserved for the navigation maps monitor on the top of the dashboard, the current energy flow can be tracked: If you use the accelerator gently, the C-Class remains as long as possible in pure electric mode. The gasoline engine turns on, if you want to go faster after the local sign faster or the battery runs out of power. Then the internal combustion engine mutates to the load master. And indeed: In the next village, the power source is again so fit to provide the drive alone.
The so-called sailing is just as easy to follow: if it goes downhill, the engine is put into temporary retirement and decoupled. The released energy is used to charge the battery. Something similar happens when, for example, when driving faster on the highway, the foot is taken off the gas and the Mercedes comes in rolls immediately with switched off gasoline engine. Even then he supplies the battery with new power. All these savings can add up depending on the length of the track. At the end of the exit with the plug-in hybrid, the on-board computer reports real 6,3 liters on 100 kilometers. A good value in everyday use, in which sometimes driven faster. Speaking of everyday life: On average, a car in Germany is rarely moved more than 40 kilometers per day. For the electric range of the Mercedes almost enough. Home is recharged by a socket, which, depending on the current does not last longer than two hours. Then the C-Class comes close to their standard consumption of just over two liters on 100 kilometers really close.
It's this very different kind of driving that makes a hybrid car so special. The rethinking of learned mechanisms, the handling of the two switches with drive mode and hybrid mode. Not the sporty circling of curves, the Bleifußdüsen on the highway brings the driving pleasure, but the miles gained in electrical range thanks to wise foresight and discreet handling of modern technology. What is needed is the fun of abandonment, visually rewarded by the battery indicator on the monitor. Should future owners of such a C-Class but sometimes sting the Tempo oats, the newcomer can also be stressed dynamic: If both engines are in operation at the same time, from the eco-Dr.Jekyll quickly becomes a sports Mr.Hyde. In less than six seconds on Tempo 100, peak 250 km / h. But then it's over with the saving glory: The consumption is double digits.
A good earner with a heavy right foot will probably not be ready for the Plug-in Benz almost 51.000 Euro to transfer to Stuttgart. Finally, a 245 kW / 333 PS strong C 400 with six-cylinder petrol and four-wheel drive costs just 1.300 Euro more. But maybe there is, yes, this new kind of motorists with fun with modern fuel-saving technology and silent electric operation on the way to the office.
If it's not enough for the “real” Mercedes-Benz, how about a model car?