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Long-range hybrid tech gives C-Class an outstanding selling point

A plug-in hybrid powertrain has become a vital constituent of a class-leading executive saloon’s armoury. Any entrants to the segment that turn up without a good one have an even harder shot at topping the class’s German ruling powers.

But while the BMW 330e has bossed this part of the car market for a surprising length of time, it will need to come again, stronger and longer-legged, to stand up next to a car that has taken the most direct route to winning customers over – but taken it very effectively.

The Mercedes C-Class is a car that simply offers more as a petrol-electric operator: more performance, better refinement and better extended-range economy and, crucially, much more electric range – with all the running-cost advantages and wider freedoms that brings.

When we tested a diesel C-Class against the BMW 3 Series and Jaguar XF, we preferred the BMW, and even in plug-in hybrid form, the C-Class doesn’t have the driver appeal or material cabin quality of its opposite number from Munich.

However, in 2022 the C300e is the C-Class that matters most – and it’s also the car at its commanding best.