Along with its new looks, lighter platform and fresh interior design the new Mercedes C-Class also comes with a hybrid option for the first time. The Mercedes C300 BlueTEC Hybrid boasts CO2 emissions of 94g/km and can return 78.4mpg, so is it a better choice than the traditional diesels?
The Hybrid pairs up the same 201bhp 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel engine used in the C250 with a 27bhp electric motor, and while Mercedes hasn’t revealed any official performance figures yet, it feels quicker than the 6.6-second 0-62mph sprint of the C250. That may have something to do with the electric motor, which fills in the low end of the rev range with torque, where other diesel C-Class models can feel a bit lacking.
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You also hear a bit less of the engine, which is a good thing as we found one of the C250’s few downsides was the rattly engine note. Don’t expect to be cruising around on electric power all day, though – it really only works up to about 20mph and for short distances.
The BlueTEC Hybrid’s real benefits then come with running costs and lowering company car tax in particular. While the C250, C220 and C200 BlueTECs have to pay a 3% surcharge as diesel cars, the diesel-electric hybrid doesn’t. So while, the C250 will be taxed on 14% of its value, the Hybrid is taxed on just 10% of its value.
Be warned, though, the Hybrid isn’t quite as good to drive as a standard C-Class. Even with the excellent air suspension – an £895 option – fitted, our car would occasionally thump over bumps in the road. You still get the nice, floaty feeling when cruising down the motorway but this particular variant is more readily caught out on rough roads than any other C-Class.
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You’ll notice a little bit more weight in the corners, too, but the nice, responsive steering and clever torque vectoring system do a pretty good job of disguising it. You don’t necessarily feel as though you want to hustle this car down a twisty road, either – its soft suspension and impeccable refinement encourage you to take things slow.
And that’s where the new C-Class’ talents lie – in its ability to soak up mile after mile of motorway with the quiet calm of a car that you could easily envision costing three times as much as it does.
It has the interior of a car from the class above, too, with a large colour screen, tactile brushed metal inserts and a level of classy detail that extends to the boot release button, hidden away in the door pocket. Specify it with matt woods and a leather dashboard and you’ll feel as though you’ve just bought an S-Class.