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 hybrid31-34 miles166-235mpg33-36g/km

The Mercedes E-Class plug-in hybrid is a large executive saloon that’s available in petrol (E 300 e EQ Power) or diesel (E 300 de EQ Power) guises, and both have an all-electric range of over 30 miles. The E-Class range was updated recently, though the fundamentals remained in place.

The Mercedes has several rivals: the BMW 530e, Volvo S90 Recharge and Audi A6 TFSI e all follow a similar formula. Although the E 300 e petrol is only available as a four-door saloon, the E 300 de diesel is available in saloon or estate forms. Lower trim levels were dropped from the range in the most recent round of updates, which means the plug-in E-Class models are on the expensive side, costing more than an equivalent non-hybrid petrol or diesel model.

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. This output is enough to take the car from 0-62mph in 5.7 seconds. The 13.5kWh battery means it can travel for 34 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, with 306bhp from its 2.0-litre motor. However, it can return 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.

Both have the same charge time, which is about an hour and a half from a 7kW home wallbox charger, or around five hours if you only have a conventional domestic power socket. Unfortunately the boot is smaller than in a non-hybrid E-Class – it drops from 540 litres to 370 litres because the batteries are stored there. 

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 agile on a twisty back road and are a bit less comfortable as well. If it's driving thrills you're looking for, the BMW 5 Series is a better bet.

The chief appeal of the hybrid E-Class models 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 with all the latest connectivity and technology options. 

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...

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