“The Mercedes C 300 de bucks the trend by pairing plug-in hybrid technology with a modern diesel engine, to great effect”
While most manufacturers are moving away from diesel engines, Mercedes has spotted an opportunity. The result is this: the Mercedes C 300 de plug-in hybrid, combining the manufacturer’s latest 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine with a sizeable battery pack and electric motor. In theory, this should give drivers the best of both worlds – long-distance cruising ability with impressive fuel economy, and the ability to complete many commutes using electricity alone with the resulting cost savings.
On a full charge, the C 300 de is capable of driving up to 35 miles before the diesel engine wakes up, and that includes the flexibility of an electric top speed of over 80mph, so it’s not limited to town work. That electric range unsurprisingly gives the C 300 de stellar efficiency figures, so while its 188mpg maximum fuel economy should be taken with a pinch of salt, CO2 emissions of around 40g/km will be of most interest to company-car drivers, bringing down the cost of Benefit-in-Kind tax markedly.
Performance is boosted, too, thanks to the extra poke of the electric motor increasing overall power to 302bhp. That’s enough shove to propel the C 300 de from 0-62mph in just 5.7 seconds. In normal driving, it doesn’t feel like a rocket ship, because of the weight added by all the extra technology, and software designed to help you save fuel rather than burn it. There’s even clever haptic feedback built into the accelerator pedal that pulses to warn you if depressing it further will summon the diesel engine.
Elsewhere, it’s business as usual for the executive saloon and estate, with a well designed interior that treads a careful line between being stylish and functional. Trinkets include swish circular air vents and cool ambient lighting, while Artico leather seats and wooden trim remind you this is a cut above more mainstream models.
Diesel sales are dropping these days, but Mercedes could be on to a winner with the C 300 de. It’ll especially appeal to the long-distance company-car drivers that form the C-Class’ traditional core buyers.
Mercedes C 300 de hybrid