Mercedes C350e hybrid (2017-2018) - Engines, drive & performance

With plenty of power, the C350e is no slouch

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Engines, drive & performance Rating

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While plug-in hybrids were once seen as niche models, the Mercedes C350e and BMW 330e iPerformance prove they’ve truly entered the mainstream and offer a real alternative to diesel or petrol models. In fact, the C350e is not only the most economical C-Class, it’s also the quickest non-AMG version.

The C350e shouldn’t be confused for a sports saloon, though, because the 200kg weight of its hybrid technology can be felt on tight and twisty roads. This is less of an issue than it would be in the more overtly sporting 3 Series, with its comfortable and relaxing drive in keeping with the C-Class range. Air suspension is fitted as standard and this does a good job of smoothing out all but the biggest bumps, while the steering also filters out most road imperfections. The brakes harvest energy for the battery pack, making them feel odd at first, but no worse than rivals.

Mercedes C350e hybrid engine

Fitted with a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 208bhp and an 81bhp electric motor, the C350e has a total power output of 275bhp. This is more than both the equivalent BMW and Volvo hybrids and the C350e gets from 0-62mph in a class-leading 5.9 seconds and on to a possible top speed of 155mph.

As we’ve come to expect from plug-in hybrid models, you can tailor how the system operates, with an E-mode for all-electric driving, a hybrid driving mode and options to save battery charge or generate more electricity using the petrol engine. Around town, the electric motor is powerful enough to keep up with traffic, but performance drops off noticeably at higher speeds. In hybrid mode, the petrol engine cuts in smoothly to offer extra performance when needed.

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