Review: Mercedes-Benz E350e hybrid

We take the environmentally-conscious hybrid on a scenic drive to the idyllic East Coast.

The idea of a Mercedes-Benz saloon equipped with plug-in hybrid technology may have been hard to fathom a decade ago. However, with the launch of the Mercedes-Benz E350e, the intelligent hybrid is now a reality. Aside from the new green and efficient feature, the E350e maintains all the luxurious details and aesthetics associated with the German automotive manufacturer.

The locally produced Mercedes-Benz E350e is available in two variants — the AMG Line and Exclusive — as well as the limited model E350e Edition 60. To put the E350 Exclusive to the test, a special media efficiency drive was organised. Our starting point was the car park of Bangsar Shopping Centre, which features Mercedes-Benz’s first three charging bays as part of its energy-efficient vehicle (EEV) strategy to provide more charging infrastructure in certain locations. Designed specifically for Mercedes-Benz models, the stations ensure quick, safe and convenient charging.

“We are proud to present the locally-produced E350e as a continuation of our hybrid offensive supporting the government’s initiative in becoming an energy-efficient vehicle hub,” says Mark Raine, vice-president, sales and marketing passenger cars, Mercedes-Benz Malaysia. “With the launch of our newest technology leader, we underline our leadership position in the premium market and reach yet another milestone in superior hybrid technology, further creating benchmarks in innovation and future mobility.”

We set off eastwards on a clear Thursday morning. Thanks to its hybrid technology, the car’s electric driving mode ensures a noiseless journey — ideal for those who prefer a quiet ride. The scenic roads and changing weather conditions on the way to the East Coast gave us a chance to try out its features.

The car’s electric driving mode ensures a noiseless journey

Exuding a commanding presence, the E350e Exclusive promises exceptional driving performance with an impressive range of features. Equipped with a revolutionary plug-in hybrid technology, the car has a total system output of 210 kW (286hp) and a torque of 550Nm, with the ability to go 33 kilometres in all-electric mode, with fuel consumption as low as 2.1 l/100km. That gives it a performance equivalent to a sports car but consuming less fuel than a small, compact-class car.

The car offers four operating modes — Hybrid, E-mode, E-save and Charge. The hybrid mode is the default setting and all you have to do is select your preferred one, depending on the driving condition. E-mode enables full electric driving, while the battery charge is preserved on E-save.

A winding, uphill stretch between KL and Bentong gave us the opportunity to experience the Air Body Control air suspension with adjustable damping, guaranteeing driving comfort and dynamics. The damping on each wheel allows the car to adapt to any driving situation easily. The Dynamic Select system allows the driver to easily switch driving modes — Comfort, Sport and Sport+.

For the unadventurous, Comfort mode is the best option, when the vehicle is at the normal level.

To increase ground clearance, the vehicle’s ride height can be adjusted 25mm above the normal level with rear-wheel drive and up to 35mm with all-wheel drive. Switch to Sport mode and you immediately feel the difference, with the vehicle lowered to the normal level again once the speed exceeds 80kph.

The road was mostly clear from Bentong to Kuala Dungun in Terengganu, although we had to drive through a heavy thunderstorm in Gambang, Pahang. I alternated between Comfort and Eco to see if there were any noticeable changes. The vehicle is immediately lowered by a further 15mm to reduce aerodynamic drag and improve driving stability when Eco mode is engaged.

The E350e has multibeam LED headlamps, with each headlamp having 84 individually activated high-performance LEDs instead of 24 — automatically illuminating the road with precision-controlled light while not blinding other road users.

For lovers of luxe, the interior of the E350e Exclusive takes on the quintessential Mercedes look, featuring high-grade materials such as a Nappa leather upholstery, a Burmester surround sound system and widescreen cockpit.

The interior features high-grade materials such as a Nappa leather upholstery, a Burmester surround sound system and widescreen cockpit

It is equipped with Command Online — the gateway to infotainment, communication and navigation, with information shown on the media display. Command Online also extends to the steering wheel with touch controls on the steering wheel and multifunction telephony, which allows mobile phones to be charged and connected to the vehicle’s exterior aerial. For maximum listening pleasure, the Burmester surround sound system drives 13 speakers via a 9-channel DSP amplifier.

Parking is made easy with Parking Pilot, which has a 360° camera and all-round vision, thanks to reversing cameras and three other additional cameras. The information relayed by the cameras is shown on the widescreen cockpit.

In all, the E350e Exclusive does not stray from Mercedes-Benz’s traditional aesthetic in terms of appearance and driving comfort. With new hybrid technology, we may expect more environmentally conscious cars from Mercedes-Benz in the years to come — all a sheer pleasure to drive, naturally.


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