Mercedes-Benz C 350 e
The test drive unit here has the Avantgarde exterior kit, with AMG Line interior, and is priced at RM294,888.
The AMG Line interior which costs RM5,000 more than the Avantgarde interior trim, provides upgrades like a 360-degree Surround View camera which enables all-round visibility, including a bird’s-eye view – a top-down view of the car and its immediate surroundings.
This is great help especially when parking and manoeuvring in tight spots.
There is also an upgrade from a regular sunroof to a panoramic sliding sunroof, with two powered sunblinds as well a more sophisticated COMAND Online multimedia system with DVD player.
To recap, the C 350 e uses a seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission to manage the familiar 2.0-litre (1,991cc) M274 aluminium engine – producing 211hp at 5,500rpm and 350Nm of torque from 1,200 to 4,000rpm.
With an electric motor to generate 80hp and 340Nm, the car’s combined output is a beefy 279hp and 600Nm of torque.
The lithium-ion battery is under the boot’s floor board, and this reduces the boot volume – but rear storage space can expand to 1,370 litres with the seats folded down.
In addition to the Dynamic Select driving modes of Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual, drivers also have four hybrid modes of Charge (uses combustion engine to help recharge battery while driving), E-save (uses combustion engine when driving and saving electric charge for later use), E-mode (uses electric motor when driving), and Hybrid (uses combustion and electric motor for best efficiency).
You get a silent start in electric mode, as the combustion engine is not active at start-up.
Take-offs are silky smooth, as the switch from all-electric mode to using the combustion engine is quite seamless – there are no unpleasant jerks.
There is a lot of innovative technologies here, including Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which protects against collision at speeds of over 7kph and, if the danger remains and the driver fails to react, can also undertake autonomous braking at speeds of up to 200kph.
We were also impressed by how the Airmatic air suspension in Comfort or Eco mode soaks up the bumps and uneven road surfaces very well at low speeds, despite the C 350 e being shod with low profile tyres wrapped around 19-inch wheels.
Rear knee and head room is quite accommodating for 170cm people, and in terms of ride quality and cabin appointments, the C 350 e is impressive.
There is a lot of power here for performance-oriented drivers, which seems to be at odds with its frugal hybrid powertrain.
Power delivery is very linear, and the C 350 e provides marvellous refinement.
You get the best of contrasting worlds – lots of muscle for brisk drives, a fuel economy champion and a luxuriously appointed interior.