The current Mercedes-Benz C-Class has won plenty of admirers with its prestigious looks and indulgent interior. When you choose the C350e, you also get something no other compact luxury sedan offers: the ability to drive on electricity alone for up to 20 miles.
What's New for 2016
The C350e is a new model for 2016.
Choosing Your Mercedes-Benz C350e
Like other C-Class models, the C350e carries a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and seven-speed automatic transmission. In this case, there's also an 80-horsepower electric motor with plug-in capability. Combined output is 275 horsepower, delivered to the rear wheels. On a full charge, the 350e can travel up to 20 miles on electricity alone at speeds up to 80 mph.
After that, it runs on a mix of gas and electricity, just like an ordinary hybrid. The system offers several different modes so you can tailor electricity usage to your trip length and charging availability. Bringing a depleted battery back to full charge takes about 90 minutes on a 240-volt charger.
The C350 comes only as a four-door sedan. All-wheel drive and a Sport package are not available (they're optional on gas-only four-cylinder models).
Standard features includes power leatherette seats with driver memory, Bluetooth audio, HD radio, 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition, and front collision mitigation with automatic braking. Leather upholstery is a standalone option, as are heated and ventilated front seats.
The available Luxury package outfits the C305e is a comfort-tuned suspension, a heavily chromed grille, a stand-up hood ornament, and 17-inch multispoke wheels.
Most other features are grouped into three progressive option packages. The Premium 1 package features a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, smart key access, and a 13-speaker Burmester sound system with satellite radio. Premium 2 adds a hard drive-based navigation system, a hands-free power trunk lid, power-folding mirrors, and ambient interior lighting. Stepping up to the Premium 3 package also gets you a bundle of advanced safety technology, including lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, rear collision mitigation, pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams. A cabin air filtration and fragrance system is also part of the deal.
Some package content are available separately if you don't want to spring for the whole bundle. Other major options include a panoramic sunroof and an automated parking system.
As usual, you get the most for your money when you pick the top option package. Although Premium 3 isn't cheap, it does provide you with an incredibly well-equipped luxury car without tipping into the price territory of the midsize E-Class.