Mercedes E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid - First Drive

 

Engine: 2.15-litre four-cylinder turbo-charged diesel

Transmission: seven-speed wet-clutch automatic gearbox incorporating electric motor

Power: 204 PS at 4,200 rpm between 1,600 and 1,800 rpm (diesel engine), 27 PS (electric motor)

Torque: 500 Nm between 1,600 and 1,800 rpm (diesel engine), 250 Nm (electric motor)

Fuel consumption (combined cycle): 65.7 mpg

CO2 emissions: 109 g/km

Top speed: 150 mph

Acceleration (0-62 mph): 7.5 seconds

Price: £39,645

A top speed of 150 mph, 65.7 mpg and 109 g/km in official tests – and all in a car with a roomy five-seater body. A few years ago that would have been considered impossible, but those are the figures that leap out from the spec sheet of the latest addition to the Mercedes E-Class range, the diesel-electric E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid – although they do rely on prospective owners opting for unfashionably downsized 16-inch wheels to get below the 110g/km mark.

The E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid’s drivetrain brings a modest weight penalty of 60 kg, all of it at the front, because Mercedes has managed to squeeze all of the hybrid-specific parts, including the battery, under the bonnet, so that they don’t interfere with passenger or luggage space. That might not sound great for balance or handling, but as one of Mercedes top powertrain engineers, Jürgen Döring, pointed out when he briefed me on the car’s finer details, its four-cylinder-diesel-plus-electric hybrid drivetrain is really an alternative to a heavier conventional engine with six or more cylinders.

It’s hard to argue with that. On the road, the E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid’s drivetrain is enormously impressive, with the combined power, and in particular torque, of the diesel engine and electric motor providing very strong acceleration indeed. The torque output of the diesel engine alone, at 500 Nm, far exceeds that of most internal combustion engines on road cars; the electric motor, which is incorporated into the seven-speed automatic gearbox, has maximum torque of 250 Nm but the peak torque for the system as a whole is a still impressive 590 Nm.

For all that, though, driving the E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid provides a slightly underwhelming experience, if only because, extra performance apart, it feels quite like any other Mercedes four-cylinder diesel car, which is to say, not very "hybridy". There’s no real lurching, clunking or whirring to signify transitions between electric and diesel operation – although there are the usual hybrid dash displays that show you what’s going on. Nor does it seem to go in for significant periods of electric-only running in normal driving.

For the rest, the E 300 BlueTEC is much the same as any other E-Class - roomy and mostly comfortable, although our test car had a rather bumby ride over speed bumps and ridges, which was all the more surprising given that it was fitted with those smaller wheels. The cabin wasn’t bad – a bit tired and not as good as those of premium rivals such as Audi, BMW and Jaguar but better than some of Mercedes' efforts of a few years ago. Overall, though, there’s a general feeling that when it comes to the detail, this car needs the mid-life update that's supposed to be on the way, just to give it a bit of a lift. But the hybrid drivetrain is just fine the way it is.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
ESPN footage showed a split-screen Murray’s partner Kim Sears and Berdych’s partner Ester Satorova 'sporting' their jewellery
tennis
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

    £96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee