Using a 126bhp permanently excited synchronous electric motor and a 198bhp petrol engine, the C300e packs a combined 304bhp and 406lb ft, making it “not only very efficient but also decidedly sporty”.
It can operate on electricity alone at speeds of up to 87mph and can be charged in as little as 30 minutes with a 55kW fast charger (although an 11kW device is fitted as standard). It also benefits from an adjustable energy recuperation system that can top up the battery at up to 100kW when coasting or decelerating.
This PHEV also gains a hybrid-specific route-planning function that uses the sat-nav, topography and traffic data to map out the most efficient route, enabling, for example, automatic prioritisation of the electric motor in urban areas.
The influence of the latest S-Class on the new C-Class is evident, chiefly in the shift from a horizontal, ‘free-floating’ infotainment display to a portrait-orientated, tablet-style central touchscreen between the front seats.
This measures 10.25in as standard, while an 11.9in item, which is fitted as standard in the S-Class, is optionally available. The screen is angled slightly towards the driver for ease of use and visibility on the move. A high-definition LCD digital instrument display, which appears to float above the dashboard, can be specified in 10.25in or 12.3in forms.
The two screens offer three display styles with different colours and motifs: Discreet shows only “what is essential”, Classic is said to use a “familiar” display layout and Sporty switches to a red theme, swapping the usual rev counter for a more “dynamic” display.
There’s a choice of Navigation, Assistance or Service operating modes, while optional ambient lighting with optical fibre technology can be specified.