By Breda Corrigan
This is the latest incarnation of the luxurious and desirable Mercedes-Benz E-Class executive plug-in hybrid. Treated to a fairly comprehensive midlife facelift last year, the new E-Class benefits from enhanced technology and fresh styling for an ultra-modern executive look. The E-Class hybrid is available in petrol (badged E 300 e EQ Power) or diesel (badged E 300 de EQ Power) guises, both of which have a pure-electric driving range of more than 48km’s, while both saloon and estate bodystyles are available with either power plant. Additionally, the new E-Class hybrid saloon is available with the option of 4Matic all-wheel-drive for exceptional road-holding ability in adverse conditions.
Designed to Impress;
The improved dynamics of the new E-Class are now revealed in the elevated model range. The entry-level model comes with the sporty Avantgarde Line exterior. Its new front is adorned with additional chrome, which plays a role in the cars sleek appearance, while the grille of the Avantgarde Line has been restyled with two chrome louvres and vertical high-gloss black struts. Chrome and high-gloss black trim elements in the front bumper highlight the sporty and sophisticated appearance. The similar Exclusive Line lives up to its name. The innovative 3-bar grille, the upright star on the bonnet and the large chrome elements in the front bumper now emphasise this positioning. The AMG Line is now equipped with new front and rear bumpers in the style of the AMG Performance models to provide a sportier profile. The Avantgarde and AMG Line models feature a bonnet with striking power domes for added visual drama, while the E-Class features all-LED headlamps as standard. Additioanlly, MULTIBEAM LED headlamps (including ULTRA RANGE high beam) are available as an option.
The new E-Class is now fitted with an entirely new steering wheel as part of the model update, while the instrument cluster and the media display are controlled by swiping along with the Touch Control buttons. Its sporty aura continues on the interior with the sporty seats which offer strong lateral support without conceding comfort. Furthermore, the ENERGIZING comfort control systems in the new E-Class uses musical and lighting moods, plus several massage modes, for a wide range of feel-good programmes.
Petrol or Diesel Hybrid Options;
The E 300 e petrol plug-in hybrid consists of a 208bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit working in conjunction with a 13.5kWh lithium-ion battery and a 120bhp electric motor for a combined output of 316bhp. With 440Nm of torque from the electric motor alone, the car is surprisingly urgent to accelerate, with just 5.7-seconds needed to complete a 0-100km/h sprint. The E 300 de diesel plug-in hybrid produces 306bhp and a hefty 700Nm of torque, enabling a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 5.9-seconds. Outstanding fuel efficiency is guaranteed no matter what fuel source is chosen, with claimed fuel consumption as low as 1.4l/100km possible from the diesel engine when used in conjunction with a fully charged battery. This figure rises slightly to just 1.8l/100km for the petrol hybrid model. A super-smooth 9-speed 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission comes as standard across the new E-Class range and adds a real sense of occasion to every journey. When it comes to charging the new E-Class hybrid, both petrol and diesel cars take the same one hour and 30 minutes to change from a wallbox thanks to a 7.2kW on-board charger, or five hours from a domestic three-pin plug. However, as a result of the location of the car’s battery, boot space is reduced from 540 litres in standard petrol and diesel models to 370 litres in the hybrid. This represents a similar boot capacity to a standard family hatchback, which is sure to be big enough for the majority of E-Class buyers.
Dynamic & Composed Handling;
It is business as usual when it comes to ride and handling in the new E-Class, with the car remaining refined, comfortable , dynamic and composed on a variety of road surfaces, while wind noise is very well suppressed at motorway speeds for ultimate occupant serenity. Seat comfort, cabin quality and overall interior ergonomics are faultless in the new E-Class, with excellent leg, head and knee room on offer for all five occupants. The Mercedes-Benz MBUX infotainment system is on par with the best systems in the class, featuring lovely, sharp graphics, quick responses to your inputs and plenty of tech – including features specific to the PHEV here, such as charging points in the sat-nav and other energy displays. The touchpad input and touchscreen mean it is easy to navigate, thanks also to the logical menu layout. Safety technology is excellent too, with Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB), pedestrian detection, blind spot assist and traffic sign assist, so the latest E-Class inherits its predecessor’s full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The innovations on the E-Class do not stop there. The new E-Class has the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz driving assistance systems providing helpful support to drivers. This results in an especially high level of active safety where the E-Class can react if the driver doesn’t. The hands-off recognition now works on a capacitive basis. This enhances user-friendliness when driving in semi-automated mode.
Overall, the new E-Class hybrid range is refined, comfortable, spacious, powerful and economical, with quality and technology that is second to none. Pricing for the new Mercedes-Benz E 300 e hybrid starts at €61,830 (ex-works) and is on sale now in Mercedes-Benz dealerships nationwide.