2015 Mercedes-Benz C350e Test Drive Review

APR 12 2015 BY MARK KANE 12

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, C 350 Plug-In Hybrid

Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, C 350 Plug-In Hybrid

C350 Plug-In Hybrid, officially renamed to C350e, is the second in a line of 10 new plug-in hybrid models announced by Mercedes-Benz.

Revealed at the 2015 NAIAS, priced in Europe at €50,961.75 (€52,627.75 for the Saloon version), it is now in production and some major media outlets got an opportunity for test drives.

With NEDC range of 19 miles (31 km) on the 6.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, we don’t expect too much on the electric side, but Daimler seems okay with low-range plug-ins.

Mercedes-Benz C350e specs:

  • NEDC range 19 miles (31 km) on the 6.2 kWh lithium-ion battery
  • 1.9-liter four-cylinder petrol engine (155 kW / 211 hp, 350 Nm) combined with a 7-speed automatic transmission and 60 kW, 340 Nm electric motor. Total 205 kW / 239 hp and 600 Nm of torque.
  • 0-60 mph takes roughly 6 seconds – 5.9 s for Saloon version and 6.2 s for combi Estate version
  • Top speed stands at 250 km/h / 155 mph
  • Fuel economy – 2.1 litres per 100 kilometres plus electricity

Autocar begins its review with the overwhelming number of driving modes – four Economy, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual for performances combined with another four Hybrid, E-Mode, E-save and Charge.

“Driving the C350e can be as simple or as complex a process as you wish. There is a dazzling array of driving modes – Economy, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual – and on top of that there are four operating modes for the hybrid system: Hybrid, E-Mode, E-save and Charge.

In truth, there’s too much choice; this almost seems a car made for engineers and road testers. As an everyday ownership proposition you’re never realistically going to be flicking through the driving modes to best suit the next few hundred metres of road in front of you. So it’s best to remember you’ve bought this car because it’s a hybrid, so stick it in Economy and make the most of the hybrid system’s four modes.

I say four, but you’re really only going to use one of them: Hybrid mode. Here, you get to drive the car on electric power alone should you wish, making use of one of the car’s cleverest features. There is a haptic throttle pedal, which only allows you use of the electric power to a certain point of resistance. But push beyond it and the four-cylinder engine kicks in for greater boost.”

Then, when you finally figure out which mode to use, you will quickly learn that plug-in hybrids are most suited for driving around town on battery power alone.

In the case of the C350e, the driving experience is much better in EV mode than hybrid mode on the highway. Because C-Class models typically cover serious motorway mileage, Autocar struggles to find reason why to buy C350e – “At town speeds it is simply as smooth and refined as cars in this segment come, but on the motorway it never reaches the same heights.”

“The real highlight of the C350e is when you drive it through town on electric power. It’s quiet, smooth and nippy, and really is a very premium and thoroughly modern driving experience, so much so that it feels like something from a class or two above – a baby S-Class, even.

That premium halo slips when the four-cylinder engine kicks, be it because the battery has run out of juice or you need extra grunt up a hill. It is far too gruff and vocal, and feels tuned to the benefit of economy and the detriment of refinement. Shame.

The C350e is only available in Sport trim, which means plenty of equipment inside and out including leather, parking assistance systems and navigation. The trim also includes Mercedes’ Airmatic air suspension as standard, which makes for decent ride quality, particularly around town, and lessens the impact of that extra quarter of a tonne of weight the hybrid system adds over a standard four-cylinder petrol model.”

source: Autocar

Categories: Mercedes


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12 Comments on "2015 Mercedes-Benz C350e Test Drive Review"

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I wish the battery pack would have been 10-15kWh. €52,627.75 is roughly 55,000$US so cannot be compared directly with a P70D, more to a fully equipped Chevrolet Volt, which would cost a bit less, a bit less luxurious but more fuel economy and less co2 footprint.

The US price, when it hits dealerships in September, is likely to be right around $42,000 before taxes and federal/state incentives.

This is a compliance PHEV. Let me explain …

It is common to use the term “compliance car” on this forum for low volume EVs that exist only to meet California mandates.

I think it is time to realize that a similar mechanism is in place in Europe, and all these small range PHEVs exist to exploit a loophole in the European emission standards.

Pray tell what that loophole is!

There are mandated CO^2 limits and taxation is heavily based on the g/km standard. These plug-in hybrids help get the car to a lower testing CO^2, but they aren’t being built yet as a total package for real world usefulness.

Yeah, it is pretty sad. It is great that they are building PHEVs but with such small batteries, that severely limits the EV mileage. And worse, there could be some people that just don’t bother plugging in at all.

Makes you appreciate what the i8 can do with its small battery, much smaller engine, and light weight construction. Totally different performance and unique driving experience. You never hear about the testers complaining about the engine kicking on in the i8.

You may have forgotten,,,it is after all so embarrassing.

“You never hear about the testers complaining about the engine kicking on in the i8”
Because that is when BMW starts piping into the cabin the Artificial recorded sound of a throaty V8.

And not to mention that the i8 is a 2 door coupe and costs $138K! This car seems to be for regular driving, not for race tracks.

WHAT? I was sure you guys were kidding…
(goes to google it) Nope, that’s right.
They not only pipe fake engine sound inside the car, but one of the exhaust pipes is actually fake and is used to pipe fake sounds outside the car, so other roadusers will be sure to hear you bought an expensive sporty car. IOW, exactly the asshole-Harley-cliché of “loud pipes save lives”.

I just lost most of the respect I had for BMW… I used to work in an acoustics tech company, and were I still doing so I would blacklist any engineers who had worked on this from future hiring.

Because fundamentally the turbo-3 without BMW active sound(fake engine noise) sounds like an angry baby Porsche 911, which testers LOVE.

This seems to be a hit in the making. Orders have been open for 10-12 weeks in The Netherlands, and the 2015 production (3000 for The Netherlands) is almost sold out. It is 2013 with the Outlander PHEV and the Volvo V60 D6 all over again.