Mercedes-Benz has released details of their new hybrid car, the E 300 BlueTECH HYBRID, a diesel/electric hybrid thats available in both saloon and estate versions. Daft random capitalisation aside its an intriguing car, if conventional.
The E-class is a neat, conservative car designed for neat, conservative people. No exterior modifications are necessary, which preserves the integrity of the shape, allowing modest drivers to hide their light under a bushel.
The interior of the E 300 remains the same as in other Mercedes E-class models, which means that its a high quality and spacious place to be thatll leave you feeling fresh after an inter-continental blast.
Mercedes say that boot space will remain unchanged in the hybrid, so the only clues that it’s a hybrid from the inside will be the smart looking graphics showing fuel consumption and which engine is currently being used.
The new E 300 features the E 250 CDIs four-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 204 hp and 500 Nm. It can be a bit noisy when its driven hard but other than that its a fine, long lasting engine that suits the E-class well.
What sets the hybrid Mercedes apart is the addition of an electric motor producing 250 Nm, allowing the E 300 to be used as a diesel car, an electric car, or both together.
Low speed (under 21mph) driving and manoeuvring will be in electric mode, as will low-load acceleration. Faster or long-range driving will be in diesel mode, with the electric motor able to give the diesel engine a boost when it needs more power, when overtaking for example.
It also has start/stop and regenerative braking, of course, but the interesting feature is the oddly-named Sailing function, whereby the electric motor maintains the cars cruising speed up to 100mph. We suspect that limited battery capacity means that this wont be effective over long-distances but it should help out very well otherwise.
Mercedes claim that the whole system is so intuitive that drivers will soon learn to provoke the different features deliberately to drive as economically as possible, helped by the central dashboard display that provides real-time information on energy use.
The E 300 HYBRID is as fast as the E 250 CDI from which is takes its engine (0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 150mph) but far more economical, returning nearly 10mpg more and 20g/km less CO2. The combined official fuel consumption is 67.2mpg,
To be announced but thought to be around 40,000. The prices will be revealed on the official Mercedes site
later this year.
The Mercedes E 300 BlueTECH HYBRID doesnt change the game but it does move it forward a little. No one has driven it yet but it does appear to be a neatly integrated and intuitive hybrid system that should appeal to the environmentally-minded executive.
Alternative cars that are worth considering include the BMW 520d Efficient Dynamics. Its not a hybrid but it still returns 62.8mpg and 119g/km and costs about three-quarters of the estimated price of the Merc.
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