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Eco hearts for Mercedes C and S-class


Mercedes-Benz South Africa has upped its local availability of hybrid models to four with the inclusion of the C350 e and S500 e, in complimenting the S400 HYBRID and GLE 500 e.

C350 e

Taking over from the C300 as the new non-AMG flagship of the C-class range, the 350 e, which is also the first plug-in hybrid to be locally made at Mercedes-Benz's awarding plant in East London, is claimed to offer the performance of a sports car without guzzling unleaded at the same rate.

To this end, power comes from a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine developing 155 kW and 350 N.m of torque, with the addition of a 60 kW electric for a total system output of 205 kW and 600 N.m. Drive continues to go to the rear wheels through Benz's 7G-Tronic automatic gearbox, with top speed being limited to 250 km/h and the 0-100 km/h dash taking 5.9 secs.

More crucially, fuel consumption is a claimed 2.1 L /100 km and emissions well below the 120 g/km tax limit at a miserly low 65 g/km.

Able to travel on battery power alone for up to 31 km, the C350 e also boasts energy recuperation when braking or coasting, as well as a so-called haptic accelerator pedal that is further claimed to save fuel and clampdown on emissions.

In short, the setup can detect the level of input on the throttle pedal in electric mode, and then fire the petrol engine up when the resistance level becomes too great. In addition, the standard ECO Assist function informs the driver to remove their feet from the pedal in order to re-fire the electric motor and switch the petrol engine off.

As well as offering air-suspension as standard and five modes transmission modes; Comfort, Economy, Sport and Sport + and Individual, the C350 e also features four driving modes to regulate between electric and petrol power, namely hybrid (maximum power), E-mode (battery power only), E-save (limited battery power use) and Charge (battery gets charges while the petrol engine provides motivation).

Like the C300, the C350 e comes standard in sporty Avantgarde spec with Exclusive and AMG-Line trims available as an alternatives. A six-year / 100 000 km maintenance plan is included in the R804 900 asking price.

S500 e

Building on the aforementioned S400, the long-wheelbase only S500 e uses the same drivetrain setup as the recently updated GLE, which Mercedes claims makes it the first six-cylinder luxury sedan in the world to spearhead emissions-free mobility.

A such, motivation comes from a 3.0-litre biturbo V6 producing 245 kW and 480 N.m of torque, supplemented by a 85 kW electric mirror for a total of 325 kW and 650 N.m. Like the C350 e, a seven-speed 7G-Tronic box drives the rear wheels with Mercedes claiming a combined fuel consumption of 2.8 L/100 km and emissions of 65 g/km.

Boasting the same haptic accelerator pedal as its smaller hybrid brother, the S500 e also incorporates a so-calledintelligent operating strategy, which, at the benefit of lowering emissions, detects three main areas of importance; route, driver and traffic, before adapting so as not to avoid wasting battery power unnecessarily.

Able to travel in electric mode for 33 km, a six year / 100 000 km in included in the S500 e's R1 875 500 sticker price.

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