Mercedes E 300 de vs Mercedes E 300 e: verdict and specifications

It's a close-run thing, but the petrol-electric E 300 e just shades it in when squared up against the diesel-electric E 300 de

Mercedes E-Class hybrid twin test

We’re big fans of the Mercedes E 300 de. The prospect of decent fuel economy as well as a meaningful amount of pure-electric running has obvious appeal, and if you’re of a high-mileage persuasion but will benefit from inner-city zero-emissions, there’s very little to rival it.

But there’s a sense of quietly simmering unease with diesel power, because its future isn’t in the hands of the buyer or manufacturer, but rather the legislators. Ultimately, nobody knows how harsh the tax penalties might become on diesel cars in the next few years, or whether they will apply to plug-in hybrids such as this.

We certainly hope that Mercedes’ diesel PHEVs (which will soon include the smaller C-Class and some of its SUV models, too) retain the same tax benefits as any plug-in hybrid. After all, independent particulate emissions tests have shown the diesel E 300 de to be rated about the same for tailpipe emissions (including the dreaded NoX particles) as the petrol E 300 e, and it’s better for both CO2 emissions and fuel economy in the real world.

Despite all that, for us to stand up in 2020 and say that diesel has more than a limited shelf-life is to point at the bull in the china shop and promise that it’s well behaved. Unease over diesel, coupled with the better refinement of the petrol – not to mention total three-year/30,000-mile life-costs of only £1,000 more despite inferior economy – means that we’d put our money on the green pump.

1st: Mercedes E 300 e – 3.5 stars

The petrol E 300 e is disappointing for post-electric economy, but it’s also lovely to drive and cheaper on many other ownership fronts than the diesel. We’d really like Mercedes to resolve the poor boot space in both of these PHEVs, but otherwise it’s a great plug-in executive car.

2nd: Mercedes E 300 de – 3.5 stars

The diesel E 300 de is the better option for those expecting to do very high mileage with only occasional charging, as it’ll save you plenty on fuel. But it does feel a little coarse compared to the petrol and the lifetime running costs are closer to than you’d imagine.

Specifications (modify table as necessary)

CarMercedes E 300 de AMG LineMercedes E 300 e AMG Line
List price£52,675£50,030
Engine2.0-litre diesel + electric motor2.0-litre petrol + electric motor
Transmission9-speed auto, rear-drive9-speed auto, rear-drive
Power / torque302bhp / 700Nm316bhp / 700Nm
0-60mph5.9 seconds5.3 seconds
Top speed155mph155mph
100% charge cost at 14p/kWh£1.30£1.30
Charge time (wallbox / socket)1hr 45mins / 5hrs1hr 45mins / 5hrs
Official MPG / CO2 / electric range188mpg / 37g/km / 32 miles141mpg / 47g/km / 32 miles
On-test MPG / electric range49mpg / 22 miles31mpg / 22 miles
Road tax / BiK rate £465 / 10%£465 / 10%
Length / width / height / wheelbase4,940 / 1,852 / 1,452 / 2,939mm4,940 / 1,852 / 1,452 / 2,939mm
Boot capacity (seats up)370 Iitres370 litres

Most Popular

Fisker PEAR: first look at £25,000 electric city car
Fisker PEAR spy shot

Fisker PEAR: first look at £25,000 electric city car

The cut-price EV is due to be unveiled in the second half of 2023 and offer up to 310 miles of range
2 Feb 2023
New electric cars coming in 2023 and beyond
Polestars under cover
Coming soon

New electric cars coming in 2023 and beyond

With electric cars making up an ever-increasing proportion of sales, the industry is working flat out to launch new models – here's what's on the way …
3 Feb 2023
Top 10 best electric SUVs 2023
Best electric SUVs
Best cars

Top 10 best electric SUVs 2023

Electric SUVs combine style and practicality with low running costs, making them a very popular choice in the UK. Here are our top 10 favourites to bu…
26 Jan 2023