Mercedes is set to join the ranks of manufacturers selling hybrid-powered executive cars with this diesel-electric Mercedes E-class, which has been officially unveiled at the Detroit motor show. The E300 BlueTec, due on sale next September in both saloon and estate bodystyles, is engineered around the most powerful version of Mercedes’ 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine.
The headline CO2 figure of 109g/km will make the E300 BlueTec popular with company car users. It undercuts BMW’s petrol-powered Active5 Hybrid by a significant 40g/km.
The 201bhp/369lb ft diesel engine is mated to a 27bhp/184lb ft brushless electric motor sited within the gearbox housing. A 0.8kWh lithium ion battery is said to provide an all-electric range of less than a mile at speeds below 35mph. Together, they are claimed to provide the E300 with a 0-62mph time of 7.5sec and a top speed of 150mph.With a host of fuel saving measures, including stop-start, brake energy recuperation, a sailing mode and low rolling resistance tyres, it is claimed to return a combined 67.3mpg — an improvement of 9.6mpg on the existing E250 CDI saloon.
The US-only E400 Hybrid uses a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine mated to the same electric motor used in the E300. This delivers 32.4mpg on the US fuel cycle, which is regarded as beingtougher than the European cycle.
Hybrid versions of Mercedes saloon car range are likely to be restricted to the C, E and S-class for cost reasons, according to its head of research and development Thomas Weber. "An efficient four-cylinder engine is a more cost-effective way of achieving low emissions in small cars," he said. Weber also confirmed the next S-class, due later this year, will be offered as Mercedes' first plug-in hybrid model.