In-depth reviews

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

You know the old ‘apples and oranges’ analogy? Well, it doesn’t apply here. We’re definitely comparing apples with apples or, in fact, Mercedes E-Class with Mercedes E-Class. Both are plug-in hybrids, with a 13.5kWh battery that delivers an electric range of 31 miles. Both have a 2.0-litre engine, nine-speed auto gearbox and rear-wheel drive, and they cost within a few hundred quid of each other. The difference? One is diesel and the other is petrol.

Mercedes is the only manufacturer to offer diesel plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and the benefits are clear. Most petrol PHEVs manage mid-30mpg in real-world use once the battery runs out, but a diesel promises more like 50mpg. Makes sense, right? Especially for high-mileage business users.

But there are various reasons, from air-quality concerns to fear of tax penalties, that you might avoid diesel. Which is why we’ve put these two cars back-to-back: to find out just how a hybrid diesel stacks up next to its petrol-powered twin.

Mercedes E 300 e AMG Line Premium

Pros: Supremely smooth and quiet, with similar fuel economy to rivals

Cons: Both diesel and petrol lose significant boot space to the battery

Mercedes E 300 de AMG Line Premium

Pros: Decent real-world fuel economy and very quiet by diesel standards

Cons: Costlier insurance and depreciation, and uncertainty over future legislation

Read on for our full in-depth comparison of these two plug-in hybrid Mercedes E-Class models...

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