“PLUG-IN HYBRID” is dead. Mercedes-Benz has sensibly abandoned its insistent, all-caps designation for a subtler “e” appended come the model’s alphanumeric. V the current announcement the 10 plug-equipped Mercedes models will certainly hit the roads by 2017, we applaud anything that lessens the sensory shock of the many capital letters.

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Riding the Wave

Today’s candidate, the C350e, adheres to the S550 Plug-In Hybrid out of the gate. Together its surname suggests, the C boasts six-cylinder strength figures, return Mercedes insurance claims it articles three-cylinder economy numbers. The crucial lies in the electrified C’s powertrain. Featuring a four-cylinder engine make 208 horsepower and also an electrical motor pumping out 80 horses, the C moves out on a bountiful, serene wave that 443 lb-ft the total-system torque. In classic M-B fashion, it’s not a riotous to explode of power, however rather a steroidal serenity, bolstered by the recent C-class’s neo-S-class comportment.


There’s no joy-killing CVT drone here. The transmission is Benz’s proven seven-speed automatic. Yet in ar of a speak converter, the gearbox features the electric motor bolted up to a wet clutch, giving torque-converter smoothness with straight coupled efficiency. In the Mercedes, the shift paddles perform something other than control regenerative power—we’re looking in ~ you, Cadillac ELR—allowing because that honest-to-Fangio back-road shenanigans.

A range of 4 drive settings (Eco, Comfort, Sport, and also Sport+) pair through a quartet that electricity-management selections (Hybrid, E-mode, E-save, and Charge, permitting for every little thing from hillside jaunts v antisocial will to congestion-zone cruising specifically on battery power. Mercedes claims that ~ above the ridiculously positive European cycle, the auto is good for 20 mile on power alone. We managed around eight on the highways of san Francisco. Once external the city, we found the C to be a fine, peaceful cruiser on Highway 1 and a how amazing willing companion on empty rural roads. The 350e won’t be mistaken for an AMG product any type of time soon, yet it will hustle when referred to as upon.


Inside, it’s a C-class. Which supplied to average that it to be subpar, cheap-feeling dreck. Currently it method comfort, style, and also excellence in materials. Sadly, the COMAND infotainment system still trails the other two German deluxe brands in ease of use. Our particular test automobile was equipped v the fine Burmester sound system, which camouflaged the four-banger’s fairly anemic exhaust note. Keep in mind to carbon-concerned canyon carvers: stock up ~ above Kraftwerk MP3s. You’ll want ’em.

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ZEV states Only

We really have just one trouble with the C350e, which walk on sale this fall at an approximated base price in the low $40,000s—Mercedes is selling it only in states that follow California’s zero-emissions automobile mandate, a fate usually booked for expensive electric econoboxes with minimal range. The other big wait-and-see is fuel economy. Mercedes estimates Euro-cycle figures of 98 come 112 mpg. That, the course, presumes you’ve plugged the vehicle in. Daimler won’t release EPA numbers until closer come launch, or even comment on ballpark numbers when nudged, but given the the Euro cycle has tendency to be more optimistic 보다 EPA ratings, we’d intend rough parity with the current Chevy Volt.

If we’ve given the impression that the C350e is a B-road weapon, we apologize. Us just uncovered ourselves to be pleasantly surprised with its capability in that milieu. Weekend warriors would perform well to look in ~ BMW’s M235i or hoard your pennies for the Mercedes-AMG C63. Yet as a do-it-all, capital-G German sedan through short-distance zero-emissions capability, the C350e access time its marks. Us wish the Germans would stop bragging about Euro-cycle electric range, due to the fact that that number is nearly meaningless. That niggle aside, the plug-in C is one more excellent entry in a range whose logbook is stippled generously with high marks.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

ESTIMATED base PRICE: $43,000

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and also intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 208 hp, 258 lb-ft; electrical motor, 80 hp, 251 lb-ft; combined power rating, 275 hp, 443 lb-ft; 6.2-kWh lithium-ion battery pack

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatically with hand-operated shifting mode

DIMENSIONS:Wheelbase: 111.8 inLength: 184.5 inWidth: 71.3 in Height: 56.8 inCurb load (C/D est): 4000 lb

PERFORMANCE (C/D EST):Zero come 60 mph: 6.0 secZero to 100 mph: 15.9 secStanding ¼-mile: 14.3 secTop speed: 130 mph

FUEL economic situation (C/D EST):EPA city/highway: 35/40 mpg

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