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Mercedes-Benz E300 2013 Review

The E300 Bluetec hybrid is the only diesel hybrid currently available in Australia, and technology freaks are going to love it.
EXPERT RATING
7

Most people understand what a hybrid is these days. It's a car with two engines, one of them an electric motor that helps to make it more environmentally friendly. Not only do they pump out less of the bad stuff, they're also more fuel efficient, especially around town where people do most of their driving. Until now, the main engine has been a petrol one and it begs the question, why didn't they start with a diesel which is more fuel efficient to start with?

VALUE

Priced from $108,900, exactly $10,000 more than a regular E250 CDI  the E300 BlueTEC is the answer to that question. It's the only diesel hybrid currently available in Australia (not counting buses or trucks) and features a 2.1-litre turbocharged diesel engine together with a 20kW electric motor.

Apart from this it is basically the same as the E250 CDI on which it is based. Benz says it sets a new benchmark for fuel efficiency and engine emissions in the large car segment. Standard features include full LED headlights, Active Park Assist, reversing camera, PRE-SAFE Brake with active pedestrian protection, Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and the sports package with 19 inch alloys.

TECHNOLOGY

The hybrid system adds about 100kg to the weight of the car. The diesel engine produces 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque while the electric motor delivers and additional 20kW/250Nm. That doesn't mean the total system output is the sum of these figures it's more complicated than that.

The combined output we're told is 170kW and 590Nm, the latter from 1800 revs -- sufficient to push it from 0 to 100km/h in a brisk 7.5 seconds (same as E250 CDI). Drive is to the rear wheels through a seven-speed auto.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 4.3 litres/100km compared with the E250 CDI that uses 4.9 -- an improvement of just over 12 per cent. Interestingly, that's less fuel than a tiny Smart uses. At the same time CO2 emissions are just 113g/km.

DESIGN

You don't lose any boot space with this one, unlike other hybrids. The lithium-ion battery pack is located under the bonnet and the hybrid system or electric machine as it is called is integrated into the transmission housing. But there are two normal 12 volt batteries distributed to locations either side of the boot. The hybrid system is supplemented by other systems designed to reduce fuel consumption and engine emissions. The regenerative braking system feeds surplus energy to the battery when the vehicle is slowing down. The ECO start/stop function can switch the internal combustion engine off, for example when halted at traffic lights.

SAFETY

We counted nine airbags along with numerous safety systems that make it a very safe car, with automatic braking, blind spot and lane departure assistance as standard.

DRIVING

Performance is generally strong and while the overall effect is impressive, it is not as smooth as a petrol engine. The car can travel about 1km in fully electric mode and with very light pressure on the throttle the driver can maintain motorway speeds using the electric motor only.

In reality however this "sailing" mode is difficult to achieve on anything but flat or downhill stretches, because the diesel kicks back in as soon as there as is a load on the system is detected. During our short test drive we recorded 6.7 litres/100km.

VERDICT

It's good, but purely from the point of view of economy or performance it is probably not worth the extra dough. But technology freaks are going to love it and we're not surprised to learn that Benz is now lobbying for a tax break that would be applied for vehicles that use less than 5.0 litres/100km (the threshold is currently 7.0).

Mercedes-Benz E300 Bluetec hybrid
Price: from $108,900
Warranty: 3 years, unlimited km
Weight: 1845kg
Engine: 2.1-litre 4-cylinder 150kW/500Nm turbodiesel/20kW250Nm electric (170kW/590Nm combined)
Transmission: 7-speed-auto, RWD
Thirst: 4.3L/100Km, 113g/km CO2

Pricing Guides

$39,990
Based on 76 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$24,588
Highest Price
$99,900

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
E400 3.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $37,990 – 59,900 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E400 Pricing and Specs
E500 Avantgarde 4.7L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $68,640 – 78,870 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E500 Avantgarde Pricing and Specs
E250 Avantgarde B.E 1.8L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $38,280 – 45,100 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E250 Avantgarde B.E Pricing and Specs
E250 CDI Avantgarde 2.1L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $39,600 – 46,640 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 2013 E250 CDI Avantgarde Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7