2016 Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in hybrid review

Mercedes-Benz C-350e is the all-new 275HP hybrid vehicle with turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and 20 miles of EV (32 kilometers) range

7/6/15 5:00 am chumakdenis 1

While Toyota Motors and some other automakers cutting the edge with their top-notch hybrid vehicles and all about to start mass production of hydrogen-powered vehicles, European carmakers are not doing that well.

In a way of example, BMW has only five different plug-in hybrid vehicles to offer and Mercedes-Benz is close behind with even less - just three.

Anyway, it is expected to be changed with 2016 Mercedes-Benz C350 plug-in hybrid – brand-new vehicle with swanky interior and 20 miles (32 kilometers) of EV range.

Well, the figures seem to be quite promising and the upcoming plug-in hybrid version of the new generation of C-Class luxury sedan might really give some serious thrust, so let’s talk more about it.

Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid

 

Mercedes-Benz C350 is sturdy as hell like all “made in Germany” vehicles and is quite powerful: it is

based on the C250 model, which is powered by a 208-hp version of the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder (the American version of the car is a little bit more powerful - vehicle makes 241 horses).


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Combined with an 80-hp electric motor, the powertrain is good for 275 horsepower and maximum torque of 443 lb-ft.

 Zero to 60 mph (100km/h) comes in 5.9 seconds and top speed is governed at 130 mph (210km/h).

But these are the stats that matter more: this hybrid can reach 80 mph (130km/h) on electric power alone, and it can travel 20 emissions-free miles on a charge (although likely not at 80 mph (130km/h)).

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While the S 550e and GLE 550e both use a V-6 mated to an electric motor, the C 350e uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.

The pair power the rear wheels through an adapted version of the company's seven-speed automatic transmission, with the electric motor replacing a conventional torque converter.

The engine is rated at 208 horsepower, and the electric motor at 60 kilowatts (80 hp), producing combined maximum power of 275 hp and combined torque of 443 lb-ft.

Driving modes

The C 350e offers four operating modes for the powertrain: Hybrid mode, E-mode, E-save and Charge mode.

Hybrid mode

The default Hybrid mode runs electrically where possible until the battery is depleted, and then switches over to behaving like a conventional hybrid.

That means electric-only running under low power demand, engine shutoff where possible, and electric torque to assist the engine when power demands are higher.

Also, as the company says, fuel economy is 15 to 20 percent higher running only in Hybrid mode even without recharging the battery pack for extended electric running.

E-mode

E-mode requires the car to run solely on battery power if enough charge remains, and prevents the engine from switching on except in emergency situations.

E-save

E-save operates in Hybrid mode even if the battery has enough charge to run in E-Mode, allowing charge to be saved for urban environments or more suitable circumstances.

Charge mode

Charge mode actually uses engine overrun to recharge the battery to capacity. It's a very inefficient use of energy to do so, but it does permit more electric-only running at a later point.

A new feature is the provision of accelerator pedal that provides detectable resistance before the engine switches on, making it much easier for drivers to stay in electric-only mode.

Cool, huh?

Some other cool stuff

The Mercedes-Benz C350e also uses radar-based regeneration in combination with its adaptive cruise control, so that as it closes on a car head - it will use regenerative braking -rather than the friction brakes.

The 6.4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, with a usable capacity of 4.4 kWh, is mounted in the trunk, sacrificing the spare tire in the process.

The rear seat folds down, nevertheless, giving the same cargo functionality as the non-electrified C-Class.

Driving experience

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On the road, the C 350e behaves roughly like the S-Class plug-in hybrid – quite obvious, isn’t it?

Its engine note is somewhat more apparent - it's two car segments down from the full-size S-Class, which simply has more sound deadening in every conceivable place.

Acceleration was acceptable, and the pedal was a huge help in keeping the car within its band of electric power without having to pay close attention to a power gauge in the instrument cluster.

Fuel economy was indicated at 32.2 mpg for the first 30 miles (50 km/h), which included the 8 electric miles--and precisely the same at the end of overall trip.

Overall, the C350e is the good car.

However, if we’ll view it as a more fuel-efficient model than a plug-in vehicle with significant electric range – than it just sucks.

We suspect that owners will get 8 to 15 miles of electric range, depending on speed, acceleration, terrain, climate, and other factors— much less than mentioned 80 miles range (130kilometers) on electric power alone.

Bad, but we do hope that Mercedes will understand that the more electric range, the better it is and will eliminate this problem when this beautiful plug-in hybrid will go into production. 

Production

The C 350e will go on sale this fall, around the same time as the GLE 550e plug-in hybrid version of the company's refreshed mid-size SUV.

The vehicle will be sold in base and luxury trim levels with rear-wheel drive only.

The exact price hasn’t been mentioned yet, but since the C350 is positioned between the C300 and the C400 in the C-class lineup – don’t expect it to be cheap and be ready to pay through the nose for this beauty.

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