Mercedes-Benz Malaysia today gave us a glimpse of things to come, with a quick preview of the Mercedes-Benz C350e plug-in hybrid, a day after launching the locally-assembled GLC 250 4Matic sports-activity vehicle.
Set to replace the current range-topping C300 AMG Line (RM307,888) in the W205 C-Class range, the C350e is expected to hit the road at an estimated price of RM299,000. This puts the C350e's asking price well above the RM240k-RM260k ball park rumoured for the upcoming BMW 330e, but MBM officials have emphasized that the company is not keen to compete against its rivals on price, but rather on value.
As you read this, the first C350e plug-in hybrid models start assembly in the Pekan production plant. It is the third hybrid model by Mercedes-Benz to be locally-assembled after the S400 Hybrid in 2014 and the E300 Bluetec Hybrid in 2015.
Powering the C350e is the M274 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, supplemented by an electric motor providing a total-system output of 279 hp and 600 Nm of torque. Individually, the four-cylinder engine (as found in the W205 C250) provides 211 hp and 350 Nm, while the electric-motor adds another 80 hp and 340Nm. Note that the net system outputs are not a direct summation of the engine and motor outputs, which peak at different RPMs.
Drive is sent to the rear wheels via Mercedes-Benz's in-house 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox. The overall setup is good enough to accelerate the C350e from standstill to 100km/h in 5.9 seconds onward to an electronically limited top speed of 250km/h.
Energy for the electric motor is supplied by a 6.2kWh lithium-ion traction battery that sits just above the rear axles, chargeable through wall box kit or by a domestic socket. A full-charge will require around 2.0 hours on a wall-box kit or approximately 4.0 hours on a home-socket. The wall box charger is sold separately at RM7,200.
With the battery fully charged, the C350e boasts an electric range of 31km at speeds of up to 130km/h, enabling Mercedes-Benz to acheive a calimed combined fuel economy of 2.1-2.4 litres/100km, emitting 48g/km of CO2.
The C350e also packs the following added features over the non-hybrid models:
- Silent start mode
- Electric motor boost fuunction (Extra 60kW output from electric motor)
- Four Driving modes (Hybrid, E-Mode, E-Save, Charge)
- Haptic accelerator and brake pedals
- Thermotronic three-zone climate control
- 360 degree view camera
- Cabin climate pre-conditioning function
- Radar based energy recuperation
- Route based drive operation
- Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Hybrid system
Crucially, the C350e is the third car in Malaysia to be offered with the firm's Airmatic suspension system as standard, a first for the segment. Previously, the Airmatic was only supplied on the S400 Hybrid and GLE400 SUV models.
The car in the pictures is a pre-production model, shown here in Exclusive trim, actual C350e models will be delivered in full AMG Line trim level. This includes the AMG Exterior design bodykit, panoramic roof and 19-inch multi spoke light alloy wheels. The trim work around the headlamp projectors will also feature blue highlights to offer a visual differentiation from the non-hybrid models.
The interior is similarly specified with the inclusion of the AMG Line interior package and Comand Online infotainment suite beaming information through an 8.4 inch display. The 590 watt, 13-speaker Burmester speaker system is also present and accounted for.
Incidentally, the preview of the C350e comes days ahead of the much vaunted (F30) BMW 330e PHEV, which is slated for launch later in the week.