Driving report: Mercedes C 350e and 190 E 2.5-16 Evo II

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Mercedes C 350e and 190 E 2.5-16 Evo II in the driving report
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We like to pretend that the sporty car world used to only consist of six-cylinders passed upwards. Everything used to be as good as it can never be today. You already know: At that time fuel was free and the cars lasted forever - at least until the next replacement engine. So we persistently rant, often rightly, about the miniaturization of the engine in the course of downsizing. How could BMW downgrade the M3 from an eight to a six cylinder? Why is the new M ercedes C 63 AMG 2.2 liter displacement? Why is there no bubbly in my office? And forget: a lot of four-wheeled sports heroes started their careers with four cylinders.

Do you remember how magical the abbreviation 16V sounded in the 80s and 90s? Four valves per cylinder, this epitome of the achievable sports engine with such grandiose machines as the one in the Opel Kadett GSI 16V with Cosworth cylinder head. Or the Mercedes 2.3-16, also edited by the English racing specialist. The 2.3 was not yet the culmination. It came in 1990 with the 2.5-16 Evo II and a rear board as wide as a beer bench. So 2.5 liters of short-stroke space that fights for 235 hp at high speed. What a number back then! And what duels against the BMW M3, when the DTM did not yet consist of a pearl necklace of output monsters processing on the ideal line. This made the Evo II, limited to 500 copies, by far the most powerful four-cylinder in the 190 series

Mercedes C 350e with 279 hp

He proudly carried this power to the outside like an ass's horn: ' The Mercedes in the days of bodybuilding shows itself to the world as a plastic motor vehicle for sports use, ”auto motor und sport wrote in 1989 about the Evo I. Today, bodybuilding is still as in teased hairdos. So the now most powerful four-cylinder in the C-Class program looks like a Swabian acolyte. The finest understatement for a power package that is not only real in comparison to the time: 279 hp and 600 Nm. Values ​​for which a Ferrari 348 tb was required in 1990. Incidentally, with a rather cute 317 Nm. But while both the Ferrari and the Evo II ran like Chianti at a Tuscan country wedding, the plug-in hybrid Swabian C 350e is content with a stingy 2.1 liters per 100 km. Loud -hawk - EU standard.

DTM sound and the transformation into Bernd Schneider

The norm is a statistically possible consumption construct with industrious two-hour charging at the socket. In practice, adjust to values ​​between zero and ten liters per 100 km - depending on the route.

So the two four-cylinder star cruisers are now like monuments of their automotive era on the Portuguese racing circuit Portimão near Faro . On the one hand the extroverted high-revving monster with pleasure in drinking, on the other the sport-eco-hybrid-can-do-everything-just-not-knit motor vehicle. Both have an almost meditative calm at the start. With the C 350e it is the logical consequence of the e for electric drive. A 60 kW (82 PS) synchronous power disk between the internal combustion engine and the transmission ensures a purely electric range of up to 31 km from a net 6.4 kWh energy content of the lithium-ion battery. Easily achievable with a little tail wind and a gradient. In the pure E mode of the four possible hybrid modes, the double-coupled C-Class pushes forward wonderfully smoothly, quietly and at 340 Nm. Valerian for noise-stressed inner cities. Probably the most pleasant side effect of electromobility.

But there is still peace in the old warhorse. The Evo glides at low speed with an acute lack of steam, humming quietly like any four-cylinder. “Flawless running smoothness”, was the rating of auto motor und sport at the time. That's exactly what a sports engine wants to hear. For the modern generation of turbo torque, the first encounter with the chubby Mercedes is as sobering as an alcohol-free bachelor party. It's the calm before the storm. Because from 4,500 tours there are schnapps on the house. Then the Evo roars the old DTM anthem with fervor from its tailpipes. A defiant lecture about roaring, hissing and sawing. During the concert, the pilot maneuvers his way through the typical H shift with reverse gear on the front left, almost without jerking. The asphalt is finally burning - according to the dimensions of the time. You feel like Bernd Schneider from Portimão. At least until this inconspicuous silver thing stares through your rear wing with its LED burners.

Then the driver in the plug-in casually pushes the kickdown threshold of the machine and lets the 2.1 liter turbo ventilated Four-cylinder ran too. Another 211 HP and 350 Nm are now also cranking the shaft. For all those who now suspect a calculation error with a total output of 279 hp: An electric motor has a lot of steam underneath. An internal combustion engine on top. Both together but not the maximum at the same speed.

Mercedes C 350e from 0-100 km /h in 5.9 seconds

Even when accelerating to 100 km /h h with 5.9 instead of 7.1 seconds lies a world between the C-Class and the 190; when it is pulled through it is a complete galaxy. The plug-in hybrid chases past the Evo without stopping and with the finest of manners, and later brakes on theHairpin approach, only to accelerate out again with a subtle grunt. You take off your hats to this impressive achievement of Swabian engineering. This bridging act between saving and sport. Depending on the mode, the accelerator pedal, which alternates between direct and soft, and the inclusion of the topography in the hybrid operating strategy. This comfort. Only your pulse will surprise you a bit.

It's calmer and slower than when driving in the old star. It grabbed and challenged you with one and the same accelerator pedal pressure when the stern board, smoking tires, starts your excursion into Portuguese botany. Sometimes you love, sometimes you hate the Evo, but it never leaves you emotionally alone. He can't do the balancing act, but he can do a lot of tension.

In Mister Hightech there are no wings and no wide drifts, because the ESP can never be completely switched off. He is just not for the affair. A sensible guy, perfect son-in-law type. You should take both home with you.

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