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Mercedes C 300 e in the test: plug-in hybrid with huge battery and quick charge

According to its own information, Mercedes designed the C-Class around the PHEV drive. This is not surprising, after all, this drive requires the most installation space. However, the early alignment also ensured that the PHEV turned out very well and that, despite the greater complexity, it will be delivered shortly after the first engine variants, namely from September 21. This text therefore focuses on the PHEV drive, with references to the other engines. That is not so difficult, because the popular engines C 180 and C 220 d were unfortunately not yet testable, and after these the plug-in (keyword: company car) should be the most interesting drive.

All engines in the C-Class are four-cylinder with electrical assistance between the engine block and the transmission. For smooth production, the motor starter generator units (intelligent starter / generator, ISG) with 48 V operating voltage and 15 kW additional power are just as wide as the high-voltage e-machine of the PHEV with 95 kW boost power. The ISG pushes 200 Nm more torque onto the shaft towards the gearbox, but of course the 1650 kg heavy C 200 does not achieve brutal accelerations with it. At the start it is the only petrol engine in the range. With a little start-up, the C 200 arrives at a homologated top speed of 246 km / h. The 150 kW rated power is shown at speed.

However, I think that the C 180 remains the better choice for all common everyday use, now with 125 kW and not to forget: the same electrical boost power of 15 kW from the ISG. The 34 hp difference in nominal output (less than 20 percent) between the C 180 and C 200 do not make a difference when the driving style is fairly smooth, and, as is typical for petrol engines, many horses only show themselves at higher speeds, even with the more powerful engine. More on that when we can test the C 180. Those looking for strong acceleration will find it in the C 300 (190 kW) or the large diesel C 300 d (195 kW). Due to the nose-heavy axle load distribution, it is worth thinking about the 4matic all-wheel drive with the powerful engines. When accelerating out of bends, the driving aids regulate brutally, and you cannot switch them off for funny wagging.

In the PHEV C 300 e, the 150 kW four-cylinder and 95 kW electric motor help achieve a system output of 230 kW. Interestingly, the 200 kg, liquid temperature-controlled battery on the rear axle ensures that the rear axle can always transfer the torque well – PHEV drivers can save the 4matic drive in everyday life if it is offered later. The car always starts in “electric” mode, and electric driving suits the quiet car well. Mercedes drives purely electrically at speeds of up to 140 km / h so that there are motorway stretches when commuting. The gasoline engine is switched on via this.

The new C-Class combines well-known virtues with almost everything that Mercedes’ technology shelf has to offer. (Image: Daimler)

The automatic transmission ensures high axle torque when starting and prevents loss of efficiency at high speeds. On my short test lap in the rain through a hilly area (country road) I used 23.8 kWh / 100 km net. That means: With the usable 25.4 kWh of the battery, the car can cover the promised 100 electric kilometers overland. However, the consumption is probably still slightly higher than with a purely electric car (BEV), which, based on this profile, would have managed with around 20 kWh. Three-phase charging with 11 kW AC is standard. A CCS plug is available for an additional charge, offering DC charging capacities of up to 55 kW. In terms of both the energy content and the charging power, this is significantly more than in the models based on the A-Class. Mercedes promises a charging curve for the C 300 e in which the battery is full in half an hour.

My suspicions with the high short-distance fuel consumption of the predecessor were, among other things, the automatic transmission. This is now in the same cooling circuit as the power electronics, so that electrical waste heat warms the transmission oil in electric mode. The converters are also attached directly to the gearbox housing. Although the car probably consumes more than a BEV, it has become more efficient than its predecessor.

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