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Mercedes E Hybrid and E CDI in the test: Is the hefty surcharge worth it?

Karl-Heinz Augustin
Mercedes E 300 Hybrid and E 250 CDI T in the test
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N oh dem Studying the hybrid instruction leaflet that comes with the Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid, the developers cannot deny a healthy dose of Mike Krügerchen humor: “Press the Sys button. The clock is shown in the Comand display. Slide the Comand controller up until the Full Screen option is highlighted. Press the Comand controller and slide or turn it until the desired (hybrid) display appears '. All that's missing is the nipple and tab.

But what does that really tell us? Mercedes had not previously specified a hybrid option in its operating menus - which used to be considered intuitive and simple, by the way. It was wrapped in later. The drive electrification operation is apparently still as new and unfamiliar to the world's oldest car manufacturer as an underground main station - S 400 mild hybrid or not.

There is no intensive lean operation with diesel engines

Nonetheless, with the diesel hybrid E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid, Mercedes is entering a previously unoccupied and difficult island, because diesel engines are so efficient by themselves that you gain little with an additional electric motor. The particularly effective working point optimization through intensive lean operation - Toyota is making this explicitly in Prius and Co. - is omitted with the diesel engines. They almost always run with excess air, i.e. in lean operation, do not require a throttle valve due to their power control (quality control), which is only dependent on the fuel quantity, and with their turbos they hardly show any weak torque that an electric motor has to fill up with power. Added to this is the more than ten percent higher diesel energy content, with which the consumption level is generally lower and savings are less impressive.

That the apparently simple formula “economical diesel plus economical hybrid equals super saver” therefore did not have to work also experience the diesel hybrid pioneer Peugeot. So far, the PSA models have not been impressively frugal, because a diesel hybrid saves primarily through two points: the purely electric drive with the recovered kinetic energy and the electric power assistance (boost) when accelerating. A large battery enables a lot of electrical support in both cases.

The battery in the Mercedes E 300 Hybrid is small

But Mercedesputs the lithium-ion battery in the Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid rather small with 0.8 kilowatt hours of energy content. Nevertheless, the Mercedes E-Class strives to convey an electric driving experience. With very gentle use of the accelerator pedal, it accelerates purely electrically up to 35 km /h and also maneuvers quietly when parking, which pedestrians strolling past like to approve of with a politically correct nod after looking at the nameplate. Up to a significantly higher speed, sailing operation (engine disengaged and injection switched off) is supported with an electric power injection of up to 20 kW (27 hp).

This is also necessary to cope with the over 100 kilograms extra weight of the diesel hybrid Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid at least equal to its OM 651 brother Mercedes E 250 CDI T: Full zero to 100 km /h in eight seconds, the twin-hearted Mercedes runs away from the pure diesel by 0.7 seconds , but misses the factory specification by 0.2 seconds (7.8 s). The heavier hybrid is even more agile and precise when it comes to cornering, thanks to its standard Continental Sport Contact 5 tires. In terms of longitudinal dynamics, both of them are not lacking in relaxed power delivery with more than 500 Nm torque, whereby the pure diesel growls more rustic in brisk drive. Its start-stop system also seems rougher when the engine is restarted. Here the powerful electric motor of the E 300 flatters, which directs the Mercedes E 250 CDI T into the combustion process with gentle, only gently shaken power.

Mercedes E 300 Hybrid with lower minimum consumption

But nobody will look into the Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid just for these marginal advantages. Ultimately, its raison d'être is only generated from the actual under-consumption. In order to determine this, auto motor und sport sent the brothers, outwardly identical except for the nameplates, on a comparison drive that was carried out with a focus on economy.

Minimum consumption: on the 280 kilometers long, particularly gently driven With 4.7 liters per 100 km, the Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid is only 0.4 liters apart. Most of the route is in the suburban area above 35 km /h, so that the fuel consumption advantage is quite small. The additional two quintals of hybrid weight also result in a consumption penalty of around two tenths of a liter.

Diesel needs two liters more in city traffic

City consumption: Here the Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid hums in its element. Frequent stops at traffic lights and very low speeds keep the electric drive happy, especially since the topography of the Stuttgart basin, with an altitude difference of up to 200 meters, allows for hard-working recuperation downhill. So hard-working that the small battery does not take up any more power at an early stage. The Mercedes E 250 CDI lookshere with 7.8 L /100 km two liters deeper into the diesel measuring glass.

Motorway consumption: Yes, there is the state in which the Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid after an additional pull on the right steering wheel Paddle goes into a particularly low-resistance sailing mode supported by the electric motor. But that alone brings little, so that the difference to the 7.7 L /100 km of the Mercedes E 250 CDI is only 0.1 liters. A rather sobering hybrid consumption balance.

Mercedes E 300 Hybrid for better social acceptance

And the two biggest disadvantages of electrification were not mentioned. The basic maximum braking power is due to the tire choice a tad better than with pure diesel, but the pedal feel is extremely spongy and inharmonious. Inexperienced people even experience moments of shock in stop-and-go traffic because the transition from the purely electrical (retarder) deceleration to the mechanical brake simply does not fit. For this, the cost-saving customer has to pay more than 6,000 euros more. After all, the NOX catalytic converter is included as standard. But seen soberly, the Mercedes E 300 T Bluetec Hybrid is only worthwhile because of its better social acceptance.

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