Following its premiere in the S-Class, Mercedes-Benz is now offering its most advanced hybrid technology yet in the C-Class and, for the first time, also in an Estate model. The dynamism and efficiency of the C 350 e make it a convincing proposition in both its Saloon and its Estate guise. With a range of 31 km (19 mi) in purely electric mode, local emission-free driving is now a reality. Its four-cylinder petrol engine, in conjunction with a powerful electric motor, gives it a total system output of 205 kW (279 hp) and torque of 600 Nm (443 lb-ft). The new C 350 e thus delivers the performance of a sports car and yet offers certified consumption figures of just 2.1 litres of fuel per 100 km both as a Saloon and as an Estate. This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 48 grams (49 grams for the Estate) per km. Both models are also equipped as standard with AIRMATIC air suspension plus a Pre-Entry Climate Control system that can be controlled via the internet, adding up to a truly exceptional level of driving and climate comfort.
Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: “The PLUG-IN HYBRID is an investment in the future of Mercedes-Benz and we believe it will become established as the successful technology for maximum efficiency coupled with powerful dynamic performance. We will be launching ten new PLUG-IN HYBRID models up to 2017.”
Following the C 300 BlueTEC HYBRID, the C 350 e is the second hybrid model in the new C-Class and the second Mercedes-Benz model to feature PLUG-IN HYBRID technology. Thanks to the combination of combustion engine and electric drive, hybrid drive systems deliver impressively low consumption, but with high performance. The electric motor is able to replace or support the combustion engine in situations where the combustion engine does not perform quite so well, and makes practical use of energy generated while braking by converting it into electric energy and storing it.
The C 350 e uses the currently most advanced form of hybrid technology. Its electrical energy storage unit is a high-voltage lithium-ion battery with a total capacity of 6.2 kWh, which can be charged from an external power source and so makes an effective contribution to the low consumption and emission figures. The battery is water-cooled, weighs around 100 kg (220 lbs) and is mounted in a sheet steel housing above the rear axle in order to maximise crash safety, driving dynamics and boot space.
Thanks to an intelligent on-board charging system, the battery can be recharged in around 1 hour 45 minutes at a wallbox or at one of the growing number of public charging points (230 V, 16 A, 3.7 kW single-phase), which in some cases offer privileged parking. Alternatively, charging via a standard domestic socket is of course also possible. Depending on the connection, a charge time of around two hours is achievable (with 230 V and 13 A, 3.0 kW).
Despite the space taken up by the battery, the C 350 e still has a boot capacity of 335 l (11.8 cu ft) in its Saloon format and of 350 (12.4 cu ft) in the Estate model, or in the latter case of 1370 l (48.4 cu ft) with the rear-seat backrests folded down and, as ever, a level load compartment floor.
In the new Mercedes-Benz C 350 e, this hybrid drive concept is combined for the first time with an efficient four-cylinder petrol engine. From a displacement of just under two litres, it produces 155 kW (211 hp) and maximum torque of 350 Nm (258 lb-ft). Its direct injection system with spray-guided combustion uses electronically precise controlled multiple injection and fast multi-spark ignition to deliver outstanding performance coupled with high efficiency and exemplary emissions. The electric motor of the C 350 e has an output of up to 60 kW and delivers torque of 340 Nm (251 lb-ft). A total system output of 205 kW (279 hp), as well as torque of 600 Nm (443 lb-ft), are thus available to be called upon.
The hybrid module of the standard 7-speed automatic transmission 7G-TRONIC PLUS incorporates both the electric motor and an additional clutch between the combustion engine and the electric motor. When driving in all-electric mode, this decouples the combustion engine from the drive train. It also, however, offers the possibility of moving off using the combustion engine but with the performance of a wet start-up clutch. The clutch here is a substitute for the torque converter.
The high overall system output and intelligent engine management give the car the dynamic performance of a nimble sports car. And it combines this with the ride comfort of a premium saloon, along with fuel consumption and environmental compatibility at a level that, until not all that long ago, would not even have been expected of many small cars. The Saloon can sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 5.9 seconds, while the Estate, at 6.2 seconds, is almost as quick off the mark. The Saloon can reach a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph) and the Estate up to 246 km/h (153 mph), both in conjunction with certified fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100 km (112 mpg/US, 47.62 km/l). This corresponds to CO2 emissions of 48 grams per km (49 grams per kilometre for the Estate). Both variants of the C 350 e also offer the possibility of driving up to 31 km (19 mi) in all-electric mode, and thus completely free of CO2 emissions locally – for example in the city.
A hybrid is efficient, dynamic and completely straightforward to drive
Driving with the new C 350 e is just as easy as with any other automatic vehicle from Mercedes-Benz: simply climb in, start the engine and off you go. As you do so, enjoy its exemplary efficiency and, if you so wish, kick down to experience the superb acceleration of the electric motor.
The C 350 e offers all the characteristics of a state-of-the-art hybrid vehicle. These include first and foremost:
- Silent start: the vehicle starts virtually silently and runs in electric mode. At this point the combustion engine is generally held inactive. Electric output of up to 60 kW is available for driving in all-electric mode.
- Boost: the electric motor kicks in to boost the output of the combustion engine by a further 60 kW – for example for rapid acceleration.
- Energy recuperation: during braking and coasting, energy is recovered and stored in the battery. This energy can then be used at a later stage for electric driving or the boost function.
The greatest potential for lowering the energy consumption of hybrid drive systems lies in maximising energy recovery during coasting and braking. When the brake pedal is depressed, the electric motor therefore initially takes on the task of decelerating, acting here as an alternator. If firmer braking is required, the disk brakes will then intervene mechanically to provide additional grip. This overlap between conventional mechanical braking and the electric braking performance of the electric motor in alternator mode increases effectiveness but remains imperceptible.
Furthermore, the intelligent engine management system of the C 350 e works in the background to select the ideal combination between combustion engine and electric motor.