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In-depth reviews

Mercedes E-Class hybrid review

The comfortable and high-tech Mercedes E-Class plug-in hybrid is available in petrol or diesel forms

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 hybrid34-35 miles177-217mpg33-38g/km

The Mercedes E-Class hybrid is one of very few plug-in hybrid models that’s available in both petrol and diesel forms. The models are called E 300 e and E 300 de respectively, and both offer over 30 miles of driving range on electric power alone.

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Key rivals include the BMW 530e, Volvo S90 Recharge and Audi A6 TFSI e. It’s also worth knowing that the E 300 de diesel is available as an estate as well as in four-door saloon form. A recent round of updates saw trim levels changed to put the plug-in E-Class models into a higher tier, so they’re quite expensive compared to the normal petrol and diesel versions.

The petrol-electric model has a 2.0-litre engine with an electric motor that brings a total of 316bhp. It’s more than quick enough, as 0-62mph takes just 5.7 seconds. The battery is a 13.5kWh unit that allows a range of 35 miles on electric power. As with all plug-in hybrids, the 177 to 188mpg claimed figures are technically possible, but require very frequent charging and careful use of the engine.

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The diesel-electric model is better-suited to longer trips, as it can return 50mpg after the batteries have been depleted. It has a 2.0-litre motor with 306bhp, so it’s nearly as quick as the petrol version, although it isn’t as quiet and smooth. It’s great to have the choice of this model, as it could suit people who do a lot of long-distance trips but still want to make use of electric power day-to-day.

Both models use the same battery, so they take the same amount of time to charge up. That’s around an hour and a half from a 7kW home wallbox charger, or about five hours using a three-pin plug. The battery is under the boot, which reduces the available luggage space from 540 to just 370 litres, plus there’s a big lump in the floor that reduces practicality a lot.

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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 very low company-car tax, courtesy of CO2 emissions of less than 38g/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 of running one for several months, or read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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