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Mercedes-Benz C-Class 350 e Sport 7G-Tronic Plus 17 inch wheels

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 350 e Sport 7G-Tronic Plus 17 inch wheels

Family Cars

3. Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Model/Engine size:
Mercedes-Benz C-Class 350 e Sport 7G-Tronic Plus 17 inch wheels
Fuel:
Petrol/Electric Plug-in Hybrid
Fuel economy combined:
134.5 mpg *see text
Mercedes-Benz C-Class 350 e Sport 7G-Tronic Plus 17 inch wheels

Summary

The rivalry between the BMW 3 Series and the Mercedes C-Class is one of the longest in the car industry. If you are interested in how a car drives it has always been pretty clear cut, you buy the BMW. However with the latest C-Class closer than ever in the driving stakes the decision is a lot harder than it used to be.

The latest battle ground is the high tech world of plug-in hybrids. The Mercedes system uses a slim electric motor integrated into the 7 speed automatic gearbox. An additional clutch allows the electric motor to power the car independently or in combination with a 2 litre turbocharged direct injection petrol. A modest 6.2 kWh (net) lithium-ion battery provides enough juice for between 11 – 19 miles of pure electric running with the system reverting to hybrid after this point.

The combined system provides a mighty 443 lb ft of torque which fires the C Class to 62 mph in under 6 seconds. In pure electric mode performance remains strong with a usefully high top speed of 81 mph allowing you to run in EV mode anywhere.

To help you to maximise electric running the system can use a sat nav route to decide when to recharge, save or use the battery. It can also make suggestions to the driver through the haptic accelerator pedal which provides pulse points to suggest lifting off to coast up to a car in front, and a resistance point to tell you when further application of the accelerator will start the petrol engine.

If you want more control you can select E-mode, E-save, or Charge manually in addition to all the usual drive configurations of gear change speed, suspension, accelerator and steering settings. The system is also capable of ‘sailing’ where the petrol engine is de-clutched to allow the car to roll at speeds up to 81 mph. By using the radar system the C-Class can decide when sailing or regenerative braking is the best option and also when to trigger the haptic accelerator to maximise the effect.

The plug-in C-Class is a technical tour de force, but is it enough to dethrone the 330e? Not quite. The BMW offers a longer electric range, is slightly better to drive, and despite a power deficit is only 0.2 secs slower to 62 mph. It also happens to be a chunk cheaper so whilst the Mercedes is a great car it has come up against a super foe in the shape of Munich’s finest.

Estimated real world range: 11 – 19 miles (electric)
Official electric range: 19 miles
Electricity consumption: 110 – 132 Wh/km
Battery pack: 6.2 kWh (usable) lithium-ion
Recharge time: 3.7 kW wallbox 1 hour 45 minutes (0-100%)

Specifications

Fuel economy, extra urban:
N/A
Fuel economy, urban:
N/A
CO2 emissions:
Officially 48 g/km. Average UK grid electricity 42 g/km (19 mile range); (11 mile range) 72 g/km
VED:
First year £0, then £130 a year
Weight:
1785 Kg
BIK Company Car Tax (2018/19):
13%
Price:
£39,480
Insurance group:
38
Power:
208 (petrol) 80 (electric) 275 (system) bhp
Max speed:
155 mph
0-62mph:
5.9 seconds
Torque:
258 lb ft @ 1,200 – 4,000 rpm (petrol) 251 lb ft (electric) 443 lb ft @ 1,200 – 2,000 rpm (system)