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Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line Saloon (2022 - )

Mercedes has been ploughing ahead with the full electrification of its line-up and even the high-end people carriers are now on offer with EV technology.

Starting price:
£52,025

Why we love it:
  • Beautifully styled and packed with premium fixtures and fittings
  • Smooth yet dynamic handling with impressive refinement levels
  • Good electric-only driving range for a PHEV
Where it could be better:
  • It’s not cheap, especially if you load on the options
  • Hybrid technology impacts on boot space
  • Some rivals are more fun to drive

Introduction

Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line Saloon

Mercedes has been ploughing ahead with the full electrification of its line-up and even the high-end people carriers are now on offer with EV technology.

But for many buyers out there, the step to full plug-in motoring can still be a little too daunting. With that in mind, the plug-in hybrids offer the perfect stepping stone.

The latest C 300 e has almost doubled its EV driving range and that makes it a very attractive package for people with a daily commute of about 60 miles. And, with the added reassurance of a powerful 2.0-litre engine beneath the bonnet, longer trips are never an issue.

The latest C Class is available in saloon or estate guise with a wide range of petrol and diesel mild-hybrid engines, along with the plug-in hybrid C 300 e that we tested. All models feature a nine-speed automatic gearbox.

The C 300 e is sold in trim levels called AMG Line, AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus for saloon versions or the AMG Line Premium Plus in estate body style. We opted for the AMG Line Saloon.

Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line Saloon

The Mercedes C 300 e in saloon guise, as tested, looks powerful and dynamic when approached from any angle thanks to its near five-metre length and sleek, streamlined body with a sloping roof.

The diamond radiator grille houses the Mercedes emblem and there are LED high-performance headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist. Our car boasted an AMG front bumper with air intakes and chrome elements, along with an AMG rear bumper with high-gloss chrome trim.

Body-coloured AMG side skirts, 18-inch AMG wheels and privacy glass complete the exterior styling.

Moving inside, the cabin oozes charm and sophistication with elegantly upholstered leather seats that are power-operated (apart from sliding back and forth), along with a three-spoke AMG steering wheel trimmed in black Nappa leather. This is manually adjustable so it takes a matter of seconds to get comfy.

All models feature Mercedes latest infotainment set-up called MBUX and the main focal point is the 11.9-inch, high-resolution, multi-media colour display which offers access to the many on-board systems, including the intuitive sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, a digital radio and lots more besides.

Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display that offers all the vital driving data.

In addition, there is the ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice assist system which can help with a number of tasks such as plotting a navigation route, altering the temperature, searching for a radio station and much more.

On The Road

Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line Saloon

Handling & Performance

Powering the 129hp electric motor is a 25.4kW battery which results in an electric-only range of 67-68 miles, provided the car isn’t driven too enthusiastically. That distance would easily cope with the majority of people’s daily commute and when you need to go further afield there is a punchy 2.0-litre, 204hp, 320Nm petrol engine to rely on.

The C 300 e can sprint from 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds and onto a maximum speed of 152mph and, while it is not a dedicated speedster with the emphasis being on comfort and refinement, it’s no slouch either. The acceleration through the nine-speed automatic gearbox is beautifully smooth with a constant stream of power on tap. 

That means overtaking slower moving vehicles is easily accomplished with the slightest throttle pressure delivering instant pace. There are drive modes that are accessed via the Dynamic Select control. These are called B to Hold Battery, EL for Electric-only driving, H for Hybrid, S for Sport and I for Individual. And dependant on mode, steering wheel-mounted paddles can be used to change gear manually or adjust the level of regenerative braking.

The rear-wheel drive Mercedes is perfectly balanced when fizzing down quiet country lanes, but also shows its true ‘business car’ appeal on motorways where it cruises effortlessly at 70mph with barely a sound filtering into the cabin.

Our car was riding on 18-inch alloy wheels which were the ideal fit for a comfortable ride. Go larger and things will get a bit wallowy in and out of corners and you will feel more bumps and dips along the way (as well as seeing a reduction in fuel efficiency).

And special mention to the superb suspension set-up on the test car that cushioned the ride and somehow smoothed out unexpected bumps and dips along the way.

Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line Saloon

Space & Practicality

The beautifully streamlined Mercedes C 300 e Saloon stretches 4,793mm in length, is 2,033mm wide and 1,446mm tall with a wheelbase of 2,865mm and that all translates into a spacious cabin with bundles of room for occupants and luggage.

Leg and elbow room in the back is ample for a couple of adults to sit comfortably although the sloping roof design of the car restricts head space a little. But this is a vehicle that would easily suite an active family with three youngsters in the back.

In fact, compared to the outgoing model, elbow room has increased by 22mm up front and 15mm in the rear, plus back seat passengers benefit from an extra 35mm of knee space. 

The deep boot is accessed via a powered lid and can hold 360 litres of kit, a limit that increases to 1,375 litres with the split-folding rear seats dropped flat. This capacity is considerably lower than alternative models in the C Class line-up due to its plug-in hybrid technology eating into storage space. Other variants can accommodate between 490 and 1,510 litres. 

Elsewhere, there are numerous practical storage compartments scattered throughout the cabin, including a locking glovebox, deep door bins with dedicated bottle sections, covered front cup holders plus two more in the fold-down rear armrest, a central cubby, seat back pockets and some non-slip trays.

The Mercedes C 300 e can tow a trailer or caravan weighing up to 1.8 tonnes and charging the 25.4kWh battery on the C 300 e takes three hours via a 7.4kW wallbox. The car is also compatible with DC rapid charging.

Ownership

Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line Saloon

Running Costs

Prices for the latest C Class line-up start from £45,165 for the C 200 saloon with the 2.0-litre petrol engine in AMG Line specification. The range-topping powerhouse AMG model starts from £71,255 in saloon guise or £72,815 for the estate.

Our test car, the C 300 e AMG Line Saloon cost £52,025, although the price was bumped up by £685 thanks to the smart High-tech Silver metallic paintwork.

The official fuel consumption figure of 565mpg, like on all plug-in hybrid vehicles, would only ever be achievable if the car’s battery was charged regularly and the owner made maximum use of the 67-68 miles all-electric range.

However, the low emissions figure of 13g/km will bring with it attractive financial savings, especially for business users. Over the years, the C-Class has been a firm company car favourite and this model has a Benefit in Kind tax rating of eight per cent.

It would also result in a lower road tax bill of just £10 for year one. This would increase to the standard fee for any hybrid models of £170 after 12 months. In addition, with more and more low emission zones being introduced up and down the UK, the 13g/km figure on this car would be beneficial.

But, as the C 300 e exceeds the £40,000 mark, it is subject to a government premium car levy which will add a further £390 to the annual charge from years two to six.

The vehicle we tested sits in insurance group 45.

Verdict

Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line Saloon

The latest C 300 e has really come of age. With extra all-electric range, it will easily cope with the average day-to-day commute and when further miles are needed, there is the reassurance of the punchy 2.0-litre petrol engine.

In addition, owners are treated to one of the most beautifully elegant cabins with a wealth of high-end technology as standard.

And, of course, there is the performance. Whilst there are faster premium saloons out there, few offer such a beautiful blend of power and refinement as this Mercedes.

By Maxine Ashford
May 24, 2023

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