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

Mercedes E-Class hybrid
£47,450 - £52,195
Plug-in hybrid

Pros

  • Can be very efficient
  • Low company-car tax
  • Typical E-Class comfort

Cons

  • Expensive to buy
  • Reduced boot size
  • Weight of hybrid system
Car type Electric range MPG CO2
Plug-in hybrid 31-34 miles 135-166mpg 41-46g/km

This is the latest incarnation of the Mercedes E-Class plug-in hybrid. The brand previously offered the E 350 e, but for 2019 the concept has been improved and updated, and is now available in both petrol (E 300 e EQ Power) and diesel (E 300 de EQ Power) forms.

This car promises both better performance and greater efficiency than its predecessor, as it takes on rivals such as the BMW 530e, Volvo S90 T8 and forthcoming Audi A6 TFSI e.

As plug-in hybrids are becoming ever-more mainstream, the E 300 e and E 300 de don't stand apart from the wider E-Class range, instead being offered in a variety of trim levels and bodystyles in the same fashion as the pure petrol and diesel versions.

The E 300 e petrol is available as a four-door saloon only, in SE or AMG Line specification, while the E 300 de diesel offers the choice of either saloon or estate bodystyles, again in either SE or AMG Line trim. Prices are competitive with rivals, but several thousand pounds more than an equivalent E-Class with petrol or diesel power.

In the E 300 e petrol, 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 mid-30s MPG.

The E 300 de diesel 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 electric range.

Recharging either model will take less than two hours from a typical 7kW home wallbox charger, or about double that 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 the the regular E-Class saloon, and there's no proper cable storage either.

Another plug-in hybrid trait present here is that the E 300s don't feel quite as fast as their on-paper figures suggest, with the electric boost blunted somewhat by the additional 300kg weight of the hybrid technology. This also makes them feel a little less sharp on a twisty backroad than their sister models, but not excessively so.

The chief appeal of the hybrid E-Class models, then, is their rock-bottom company-car tax costs, courtesy of CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km across the range. They're also just as comfortable and classy inside as their diesel and petrol-engined brethren, but if it's driving thrills you're looking for, the BMW 530e is definitely a better bet.

For a more detailed look at the E-Class petrol and diesel hybrids, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.