If you looking for the performance of a petrol with the frugality of a diesel, then this C300 Hybrid model from Mercedes-Benz has much to offer.

At the heart of the Mercedes C300 Hybrid is a 27bhp electric motor (powered by a 19kw lithium-ion battery) connected to Mercedes’ 7G-Tronic automatic transmission. The drive can disconnect from the diesel motor, enabling the car to run in pure electric mode up to 21 mph for one kilometer; and at higher cruising speeds where there is less demand for power, such as going downhill. The combustion side of the set-up is provided by the well-proven 201 bhp 2.1 litre 4-cylinder common-rail turbo diesel engine found in the C250.

Thanks to exceptionally low CO2 emissions of 94g/km, the C300 Hybrid boasts low benefit-in-kind tax costs and therefore makes it a very good leasing proposition for company car buyers.

On the road, the extra weight of the hybrid system makes itself apparent, as the C300 Hybrid doesn’t feel quite as agile as other petrol or diesel C-Class models, but contrasting that is a ride (courtesy of standard Airmatic suspension) with a more cosseting feel – so the hybrid actually works well as a quick, effortless cruiser.

An intelligent engine management system of the C300 Hybrid works in the background to select the ideal combination between combustion engine and electric motor. Don’t expect to be able to do motorway speeds in full electric mode though, as once you’re over around 20 mph the diesel engine comes into play - however, the trick of this system is that that the engine shuts down and decouples from the drivetrain whenever the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal (in Eco or Comfort modes). As the car coasts along fuel is saved and as the brakes are applied some energy is used to recharge the batteries.

Climb aboard and you’ll think you’re in a top-of-the-range S-Class, such is the design and quality of this new baby Merc’s cabin. It’s a pleasing blend of state-of-the art functionality with well-crafted materials: the dashboard top is covered with imitation stitched leather, the centre console getting a glossy piano black finish, completed with intricate chrome dials and SLS supercar inspired air vents.

Standard equipment levels are good, comprising leather upholstery, parking assistance systems and satellite navigation. The standard audio system impresses, although plumping for the optional 590W Burmester stereo gives an even more engaging and fantastically clear sound, guaranteed to soothe occupants on long journeys.

As with all new C-Class models, there’s an 8.4 inch tablet-style infotainment screen perched on top of the dash and a refreshed infotainment system, which can now be controlled via a new touchpad, alongside the familiar COMAND rotary dial. Also new is the Agility Button, allowing the driver to easily toggle between different setting configurations: ECO, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual mode. This gives the option to have heavier, sporty steering combined with a softer, more comfortable ride.

The C-class’s helm offers great adjustability of steering column and seat. Overall cabin space is good, with enough space for four occupants to travel in comfort, although on this Hybrid version the Merc’s regular 480 litre boot has shrunk to 335 litres. At least the boot opening has a usefully wide opening.


Along with the appealing attributes of all C-Class models, this diesel-powered Hybrid offers a compelling mix of strong performance coupled with high fuel efficiency and exceptionally low emissions.


Mercedes-Benz C300 Hybrid SE
Price £35,440  
Engine Capacity: 2.1-litre turbo-diesel 
Power Output: 201 bhp, plus 27 bhp  
Top Speed: 155 mph
0-62 mph: 6.4 seconds
Fuel Economy: 78.5 mpg
CO2 Emissions: 94g/km