Mercedes C350 Plug-in Hybrid

Styling

The C350 Plug-in Hybrid, the version of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class that can go about 20 miles purely on electricity, has an elegant, sporty look. The C-Class conveys luxury and prestige.

Performance

The C350 Plug-in Hybrid starts in a near-silent electric mode, with the gasoline combustion engine inactive. Electric output of up to 80 horsepower is available for driving in the electric mode, with a delivery of up to 251 pound-feet of torque. But that’s only the electric side of the plug-in hybrid system. The 1.9-liter four-cylinder gas engine produces 208 of its own horsepower, with 258 pound-feet of torque. When operating in unison, the combined total system output is a capable 275 ponies, with an impressive 443 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration to 60 miles per hour takes place in less than six seconds.

The ability to use either electric, internal combustion or a combination of electric and gas propulsion means sporty performance when you want it, and stellar fuel consumption for local miles. Either way, the seven-speed automatic ensures a familiar relaxed Mercedes driving experience.

The driver is in control of the system by way of four hybrid-related operating modes:

  • E-mode. All-electric driving while the battery holds sufficient charge.
  • Hybrid. All-electric, gas-alone, gas with boosts of electric power, or whatever combination yields the greatest efficiency.
  • E-save. Rely on the gas engine with little or no help from the electric motor, in order to reserve energy in the battery for later use.
  • Charge. The combustion engine is not only on, but some of the fuel is consumed to pump energy in the battery pack.

The C350 also provides the driving modes usually found in a Mercedes vehicle: comfort, economy, and sport.

Efficiency & Range

The plug-in C-Class carries a liquid-cooled 220-pound battery pack (under the rear axle) with a total capacity of 6.2 kilowatt-hours. That allows the driver, after plugging in for about two hours via a 240-volt outlet, to conservatively go about 9 miles without using any gasoline. If your daily commute is below 10 or so miles, or you can charge throughout the day, you can virtually eliminate visits to the gas station and emissions from the tailpipe. But during road trips, the capable gas engine extends overall driving range by hundreds of miles.

Charging

Like all hybrid and electric cars, the C-350 Plug-in Hybrid reclaims energy during braking and coasting. But when you pull into the driveway or garage, it's possible to plug in with a 240-volt charging station. (A 120-volt source will take overnight.)

Mercedes C350 Plug-in Hybrid

Passenger & Cargo Room

The C-Class is a small car, with comfortable, spacious front seats—but the back seats are generally considered merely adequate in terms of legroom. Reviewers believe that the compact sedan’s trunk is relatively small for its class, a shortcoming that could be exacerbated by a reduction of trunk capacity from 12.6 cubic feet to 11.8 cubic feet to make room for the battery pack.

The instrument cluster is mostly unchanged from the conventional C-Class. It does, however, feature a small eco meter and an energy-flow screen.

Safety

The C350 Plug-in Hybrid has not been officially tested for safety. But Mercedes C-Class models, including the plug-in, come standard with collision prevention systems that engage automatic braking of speeds of up to 65 miles per hour. These autonomous braking systems can avoid accidents or help reduce their severity. More robust safety functions available in the new E- and S-Class vehicles are available as options.

Price

Pricing for the plug-in C-Class is $47,900.

Purchase Process

The C350 Plug-in Hybrid is available in dealerships throughout the US.

Mercedes C350 Plug-in Hybrid specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $47900
Est. tax credit: $3500
Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 9 miles electric + gasoline
Battery size: 6 kWh
Charging rate: 3.3 kW

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