Mercedes-Benz C 350 e

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Face-off -

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.

C350e

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