In-depth reviews

Mercedes E-Class hybrid review

The latest Mercedes E-Class hybrid is available with petrol or diesel power, and is a comfortable alternative to the sportier BMW 530e

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Low company-car tax
  • Cutting-edge in-car tech

Cons

  • BMW 5 Series more fun to drive
  • Reduced boot space
  • Expensive to buy
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid32 miles166-235mpg33-38g/km

This is the latest incarnation of the Mercedes E-Class plug-in hybrid. Treated to a fairly extensive mid-life facelift in 2020 – bringing more technology and fresh styling – it’s still available in petrol (E 300 e EQ Power) or diesel (E 300 de EQ Power) guises, both with a pure-electric range of more than 30 miles.

As is the case with rivals like the BMW 530e, Volvo S90 Recharge and Audi A6 TFSI e, the E 300 e and E 300 de form part of an already-extensive model range and are offered in most of the same trims and bodystyles. The E 300 e petrol is available as a four-door saloon only, while the E 300 de diesel is offered either as a saloon or an estate. The 2020 update dropped the entry-level SE trim across all E-Class models; prices for the hybrids remain competitive, but are several thousand pounds higher than equivalent petrol or diesel models.

In the E 300 e petrol plug-in hybrid, a 2.0-litre engine combines with an electric motor to deliver a total power output of 316bhp, getting the car from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. Fully charged, it should go for just over 30 miles on electric power alone, and making the most of that ability could return an average economy well into three figures. But equally, failing to charge up and running on the petrol engine alone could result in sub-40mpg on a full tank.

The E 300 de diesel plug-in is slightly less powerful overall (306bhp) and thus slightly slower to accelerate, but returns economy of 50mpg or more after the batteries are depleted and should be a better choice for those who frequently undertake long-distance motorway journeys beyond the car's pure-electric range.

Recharging either model will take less than two hours from a typical 7kW home wallbox charger, or around five hours if you only have a conventional domestic power socket. Like most plug-in hybrids, there's a slight practicality penalty to pay for the efficient drivetrain: boot space drops by 100 litres compared with the regular E-Class saloon, and there's no proper cable storage either.

Another plug-in hybrid trait present here is that neither model handles quite as sharply as its conventionally powered sibling. Both feel suitably punchy thanks to the shove from the electric motor, but the additional 300kg weight of the hybrid technology means they feel a little less dynamic on a twisty back road.

The chief appeal of the hybrid E-Class models, then, is their rock-bottom company-car tax, courtesy of CO2 emissions of less than 40g/km across the range. They're also just as comfortable and classy inside as their diesel and petrol-engined brethren, and come loaded to the gunwales with all the latest connectivity and technology options. But if it's driving thrills you're looking for, the BMW 5 Series is definitely a better bet.

For a more detailed look at the E-Class petrol and diesel hybrids, check out our experience running one for several months, or read on for the rest of our in-depth review.

Most Popular

Best electric mopeds 2021
Niu GT electric scooter
Best cars

Best electric mopeds 2021

We run down the best electric mopeds you can buy, from some mainstream and some not so well known names
7 Jan 2021
Best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2021
DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE
Best cars

Best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2021

A good plug-in hybrid SUV should combine low running costs with excellent practicality. These are some of the best on sale right now
4 Jan 2021
Best electric SUVs 2021
Kia e-Niro
Best cars

Best electric SUVs 2021

Our selection of the best electric SUVs you can buy features cars that promise to mix style, practicality and rock-bottom running costs
4 Jan 2021

More on E-Class

Mercedes E-Class saloon and Estate updated for 2020
Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Mercedes E-Class saloon and Estate updated for 2020

The Mercedes E-Class gets a fresh look, extra kit and new technology for 2020; prices for E 300 e start at £46,230
31 Jul 2020
Mercedes E-Class Estate hybrid review
Mercedes E-Class Estate
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

Mercedes E-Class Estate hybrid review

The Mercedes E-Class is one of the few large hybrid estates available. Unusually for a plug-in hybrid, it's based around a diesel engine
4 May 2020
Twin test: Mercedes E 300 de vs Mercedes E 300 e
Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Twin test: Mercedes E 300 de vs Mercedes E 300 e

Mercedes offers a choice of petrol-electric or diesel-electric power for its E-Class plug-in. We bring them together to see which makes more sense
1 May 2020
Living with it: Mercedes E 300 de
Mercedes-Benz E-Class

Living with it: Mercedes E 300 de

Mercedes is bucking the trend by fitting diesel-electric plug-in hybrid powertrains to its larger executive models. We're spending some time with an E…
20 Apr 2020