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Mercedes announces C350 petrol plug-in hybrid

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Hybrids have gone from being a choice for only the most environmentally-minded of motorists to a mainstream alternative to frugal diesel models. The latest plug-in model – which can be charged using the mains as well as topped up with petrol – comes from Mercedes in the form of the C350 Plug-in Hybrid.

Available in saloon and estate form, this new hybrid packs a total of 275bhp, courtesy of a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol motor and a bank of batteries. Thanks to the 100kg of lithium-ion batteries these new models can cover up to 19 miles on electric power alone. In saloon form the new C350 Plug-in Hybrid returns a strong claimed fuel economy figure of 134.5mpg and CO2 emissions of just 48g/km – low enough for free car tax and Congestion Charge exemption. Meanwhile, the estate shares the same economy figure with emissions of just 49g/km.

Acceleration is equally impressive, with the saloon springing to 62mph in a speedy 5.9 seconds, while the estate requires just 6.2 seconds. Both models include a slick seven-speed automatic gearbox and in electric-only mode can get up to a motorway-friendly top speed of 81mph for short distances.

Charging up the batteries takes one hour and 45 minutes using a wallbox, while charging at home typically takes around two hours according to Mercedes. One side effect of the batteries is that boot capacity shrinks – down to 335 litres in the case of the saloon and 350 litres in the estate. Fold the seats in the estate down, however, and there is still a useful 1,370 litres to play with.

Arriving in the UK from summer 2016, the new models are some of the 10 new Mercedes plug-in hybrids to arrive by 2017. Prices for the latest C-Class variants will be revealed later to the launch date.

Author: Christofer Lloyd

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