Mercedes-Benz E 300 de Saloon Review
The Mercedes E 300 de Saloon is an executive plug-in hybrid model that brings the best of both worlds – the long-distance cruising efficiency of a diesel and the emissions-free running of electricity.
- Elegant styling and quick-fire performance
- Comfortable and packed with the latest technology
- Available as a saloon or estate
- Limited boot capacity
- Can be noisy under heavy acceleration
- Official fuel economy figures are hard to realistically achieve
The diesel-hybrid E 300 de follows hot on the heels of the petrol-hybrid E 300 e model and is the ideal vehicle for anyone who clocks up high mileage, but still needs to travel through city centres in a low-emission mode.
It’s a premium-styled car with all the on-board technology you could wish for and delivers all the driving dynamics expected from a high-end Mercedes while emitting low CO2 figures, making it a great choice for company drivers.
Customers can choose between saloon or estate body styling along with a range of trim levels. Optional extras are, of course, available to fully spec up the car.
On the Road
The Mercedes E 300 de AMG Line Saloon is powered by a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre diesel engine which produces 194hp and 400Nm or torque, along with a hybrid unit with 122hp of electric power and 440Nm of torque. The combined outputs are 306hp and a whopping 700Nm of torque and that translates into a 0-62mph sprint time of just 5.9 seconds and a top speed that is electrically-limited to 155mph. Not bad for a four-door saloon weighing in at just over two tonnes.
The car has a fully electric range of 34 miles and this charge can be saved at any time for use when driving through congestion charge zones.
Like all the other models we’ve tested in the E-Class line-up the E 300 de is a beautifully composed cruiser that goes about its business in a confident manner without being too flashy. The acceleration is instant as the car fires its way through the perfectly timed nine-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel mounted paddles for extra control.
There road-holding is ultra-grippy and there is no sign of body sway even when pushed hard into bends. Various drive modes called Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual alter the way the car handles by adjusting the steering, suspension, transmission and braking.
The E 300 de AMG Line has been developed to eat up the motorway miles with ease and it is a very accomplished cruiser. It’s perfectly balanced and even sharper bends can be attacked with confidence. Features such as the Agility Control Suspension result in sublime comfort levels and, unlike some rivals, it is not in the least bit bouncy or wallowy into corners. It feels very cushioned.
Clearly, the different drive modes affect the way the car behaves and most customers will spend the majority of their time behind the wheel in Comfort mode which is just that. The steering is precise with ample driver feedback and even when driven in an ‘enthusiastic’ manner, the E 300 de feels composed and well controlled.
There is a constant supply of power on tap and then when a more composed order of play is required, the E 300 de AMG Line copes well with slower stop/start traffic. The ease of manoeuvrability also impresses making light work of twists and turns in city driving.
The test car was sitting on 18-inch wheels which seemed to perfectly suit the vehicle. The over-sized wheels may look impressive, but they generally have a detrimental effect on the handling, comfort and efficiency of a car.
Drive any E-Class model and the levels of refinement cannot fail to impress and like its siblings, the E 300 de, ticks all the right boxes. Its comfortable for four adults on long journeys and the highly effective suspension smooths out the road undulations. You will notice a rumble from the diesel powertrain under really heavy acceleration, but generally the cabin and its occupants are well protected from the intrusion of any engine, road surface or wind noise.
But it’s not just the performance that is refined, the E 300 de is a head-turner thanks to its dynamic styling. Our test car, in AMG Line trim level, oozed class with its streamlined curves, tinted windows, twin oval exhaust pipes and five-spoke alloys. The car included AMG bodystyling plus a Night package costing £595 that added the high gloss black wheel upgrade, a diamond radiator grille housing the Mercedes star, high gloss black mirror casings, a front apron in high gloss black, along with a rear bumper and waistline trim in, you guessed it, high gloss black.
The interior is equally impressive with heated leather seats, black open-pore ash wood trim, 64-colour ambient lighting and a generous collection of techno treats to explore.
In the car
Finding the perfect driving position inside the Mercedes E 300 de AMG Line takes just a matter of seconds thanks to the power adjustable steering wheel and powered seats. Memory settings mean your favourite driving position can be stored which is ideal if more than one person uses the car.
There are two 12.3-inch colour screens stretching two thirds of the dashboard length and this is where all the infotainment systems along with the car’s vital data readouts are housed. They can, of course, be personalised to taste and the E 300 de features the latest Mercedes technology to navigate all the systems. These include a touchpad and controller, voice control and new Touch Control buttons on the steering wheel.
These Touch Control buttons can be used to access the instrument cluster and multimedia systems by swiping the finger vertically or horizontally. The left button controls the left screen and the right button the right readouts. So, without taking your hands from the wheel, it’s easy to access the likes of phone contacts, playlists, navigation directions as well as finding information such as journey details and electric-only driving range.
Our car featured a Premium Plus Package as a £4,395 option and this introduced a Memory package, parking package including 360-degree camera, COMAND online system, ambient lighting, the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, multi-beam LED intelligent light system, wireless charging, Keyless go, a Burmeister surround sound system and a panoramic sunroof.
The saloon version of the Mercedes E 300 de AMG Line has a boot that is power operated and can hold 400 litres of luggage. But for anyone that requires more space, the estate model priced from £49,700, has a limit ranging from 480 to 1,660 litres. This is slightly lower than the standard E-Class models due to the housing of the battery packs. There is also a weight increase of about 300kg.
But when it comes to passenger space, the E 300 de AMG Line is most impressive. Two six-foot-plus adults have ample leg, head and shoulder space in the back of the car even with the front seats pushed well back.
The wide opening rear doors and easy access make this car ideal for anyone needing to carry youngsters in a child seat or who regularly transports anyone with mobility issues.
There are plenty of storage options scattered throughout the car, including a lockable glovebox, a central bin with USB and SD ports, practically-sized door pockets, a wireless charging tray, front and rear cup holders, pockets in the seat backs and a drop-down sunglasses compartment.
The Mercedes E 300 de AMG Line has a fully electric range of 34 miles for the Saloon and 32 miles for the Estate. The battery capacity of 13.5 kWh can be charged from 10 to 100 per cent in under two hours with a 7.4 kW charger.
There are four different modes of operation called Hybrid, E-Mode (electric only), E-Save (engine only, battery levels retained) and Charge (engine only, battery fully charged). These are ideal for any driver that covers lots of motorway miles but wants to save the electric-only, emission-free motoring for when they reach a city centre.
Mercedes is a premium manufacturer so it comes as little surprise that its cars carry a premium price-tag. The E 300 de is available at entry level priced at £47,700. Our test car in AMG Line specification was priced at £50,195, but the optional packs bumped up the final asking price to £60,860.
Obviously, the running costs and fuel efficiency will very much depend on the way the car is driven as well as how much EV-only driving is completed. The official combined mpg figure of 210.8-176.6mpg (WLTP) would only ever be achievable if the car spent the majority of its life running on pure electricity.
So, if your commute to and from work each day adds up to no more than 34 miles, then the E 300 de could achieve this without burning any fuel and so that 200-plus mpg figure would be possible. But in the real world this car is designed for someone who clocks up long hours on the motorways, but maybe lives or regularly visits cities where congestion charges apply.
The carbon emissions figure of 41g/km would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty charge of just £10 rising to £145 the following year. But there are more charges to consider because under the recent restructuring of the tax system, owners of cars with a list price above £40,000 pay a £320 supplement for five years. After five years, the vehicle is taxed at the standard rate.
The insurance group rating for the test car is 43.
The Mercedes brand has a decent reputation for developing reliable cars that are designed for longevity and the E 300 de hybrid model should follow suit.
All the switchgear feels sturdy in its design, the doors close with a reassuring thud and the leather upholstery is not only very upmarket, but is well constructed so should still be looking pretty dapper after the car has been round the clock.
The soft touch dashboard and black open-pore ash wood trim can easily be wiped clean and with all the various ways to access the on-board technology, the infotainment screen will remain fingerprint-free.
The car comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, along with four years’ Mercedes Mobile Roadside assistance across Europe.
The Mercedes E 300 de AMG Line gains the same maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating that was awarded to the E-Class when it was tested and boasts a wealth of technology to protect occupants and pedestrians alike.
Standard equipment on the vehicle includes parking assist with front and rear sensors, an active bonnet, adaptive brake lights, attention assist, cruise control with variable speed limiter, active brake assist, pre-safe anticipatory system, traction control, hill hold, stability control, ABS, Isofix child seat fixtures and a full suite of airbags.
An optional Driving Assistance Plus package was added to the test car at a cost of £1,695 and this introduced active braking assist, active distance assist, active lane change assist with lane keep assist, evasive steering assist and Pre-Safe Plus, which initiates occupant protection measures if a rear-end collision is imminent. This includes activating the hazard lights, reversible belt tensioning, adjusting the passenger seat positions and closing the windows.