We love a good compact executive sedan, and really there’s only two contenders in Malaysia worth mentioning: the Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series. Of the latter, in its newest W206 guise, the sportier looking C300 AMG-Line is obviously superior not least in terms of curb appeal.
Don’t get us wrong, the base C200 Avantgarde (priced at RM292,888) is a head turner in its own way, but we recall being stunned when we first laid eyes on the C300 at its glitzy local launch.
However, as reported by dealers, we might Mercedes-Benz Malaysia could very well be making moves to supplant this variant with the C350e, a plug-in hybrid - a similar move to what the brand is offering in Thailand. As you can see, it ditches the AMG-Line flourishes.
The C300 (at RM333,888), while not a PHEV, is electrified in that it uses a 48V mild hybrid system to supplement its 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. Total output stands at a pretty respectable 258PS and 400Nm, resulting in a century sprint time of 6.0 seconds if you stand on the throttle.
Meanwhile, the C350e offers 313PS and 550Nm with both the petrol engine and electric motor working in tandem. Since it’s also armed with a pretty sizeable 25.4kWh, a full charge can allow it to travel up to 100km without invoking any combustion.
However, we can understand how this format of vehicle is not everyone. And there’s something to be said about the reduced complexity and resulting ownership experience of a car like the C300 instead, not to mention concerns around battery degradation and resale value.
Much like EV ownership, convenient access to a charger is also essential to make the most of a PHEV, meaning a trickier time finding somewhere to plug in for those living in high rise buildings.
Even worse, it’s quite likely that the C350e, despite it also rolling off the assembly line in Pekan, will be pricier than the outgoing C300.
Supposedly, sources seem to have earmarked the end of 2023 as the variant’s end of the line before the C350e takes its place. This leaves potential buyers just 5 months to lock in their booking for the faster, sportier looking, but non-hybrid C-Class.
If you’re a fan of the C300, better get your name down quick!
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.