MERCEDES C300e Estate test – Motorlegend

Walid Bouarab 31.01.2023

The PHEV version of the German sedan impresses with all-electric stability. This stylish Mercedes C-Class knows how to stay awake even when the battery is dead. But as virtuous as it is, this 300 version comes at an additional cost that is unlikely to be profitable. Navy cut model.

Durable and economical

How to make a “simple” plug-in hybrid so durable on all kinds of trips? For Mercedes, the answer is simple: install a substantial battery. With more than 25kW of battery, the C300e outperforms the first small electric 100s on the market. It is enough to travel 111 km without drinking a drop of gasoline, Mercedes promises us. In reality and in cold weather (this test was partly carried out in the mountains this winter), our model managed to get close to 90 km before the four-cylinder heating engine came to the rescue.

Great value that leaves the competition far behind. At best, the BMW 330e Touring Series will reach 50 km. Peugeot 508 PES? About 40… It’s almost twice as good and quite practical for reaching everyday destinations, even far away ones. As long as you play the recharge game, of course. In this regard, the C300e Class also plays electric with the possibility of charging in direct current (up to 55 kW). Considering the prices charged to these terminals, this feature has merit. For daily charging, the onboard 11 kW charger can charge the battery in two hours.

True alertness, even with an empty battery

Technically, this Mercedes C300e hybrid consists of a 204-horsepower 2.0 four-cylinder (in the 200 version) mated to a 129-horsepower electric motor mated to an automatic transmission. More than 313 hp and 550 Nm of torque are enough to demonstrate comfort. So, there is reason to be afraid of generous consumption in a gasoline sedan that weighs close to two tons. But even in this small game, the C Class PHEV stands out. First, because its long stop in all-electric mode significantly lowers the average, but also because the German just knows how to be alert. Fine-tuned aerodynamics, well-calibrated regenerative braking, four-cylinder that “stops” it at a stabilized speed. Our C-Class never exceeded 7.5 l/100 km on our nearly 800 km course with only two full batteries. A final journey of 200 km using only secondary roads resulted in consumption of just 6.3 l/100 km. An impressive value considering the services offered.

As sober as it is, this C-Class PHEV is nonetheless a talented German roadster. Strong motor, performs recovery and overtaking with a certain power. On the highway, the cabin benefits from occupant comfort in both a techno and utilitarian atmosphere, with excellent soundproofing. On the road behavior side, this version, on the contrary, is hot and cold. Our AMG Line trim, like its thermal siblings, benefits from a firmer chassis and recalibrated steering with variable gear ratio. Add to that the extra 450 kg that this heavy hybrid implies compared to the “simple” 200 version, and the more engaging handling of this generation C-Class leaves room for some inertia.

On the contrary, comfort is suddenly preserved, especially since this version automatically comes with air suspension on the rear axle. It is enough to provide a better level of filtration and better close the cash flow. For the rest, we find this Mercedes’ cabin dressed to the nines. It gives pride of place to digital with its stunning yet practical central display of 12 inches.

The space on board the plane is a bit tight, in this version the luggage, which is only 360 liters, is also full of a large battery. Again, this C300e borders on the exception. Our very well endowed model was shown for over €75,000. Excluding the option, the extra cost over the 200 version is more than €8,000, an impossible threshold to make profitable, what with the low fuel consumption. That’s why this C-Class is aimed at fleets looking to get the iconic model with more than 300bhp without paying even the tiniest TVS.

To remember

Its remarkable full electric autonomy and low consumption would have something to reconcile us with PHEVs. But this Mercedes C300e reminds us what such performance means. It is the difficult battery for the trunk of this station wagon, the considerable excess weight and the additional cost that, above all, dedicates it to the professionals.
strong pointsFull electric autonomy, low consumption, comfort and performance on the highway.

weak pointsDynamism is tarnished by excessive weight, volume-limited trunk, inappropriate prices.

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