2021 Mercedes C-Class plug-in hybrid: range, charging times and practicality

The new Mercedes C-Class will also be available in plug-in hybrid form, with an impressive electric range of up to 62 miles per charge

James Allen
Mar 31, 2021

While all of the new Mercedes C-Class’ engines will be electrified in some form or another, the ones initially available will only be mild hybrids - meaning they are not able to run on electric power alone for any distance. That won’t be the case for much longer, though, as Mercedes has confirmed that a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid model is on the way.

Set to join the range shortly after the regular C-Class goes on sale, the plug-in hybrid option is set to be the option of choice for drivers who want an upmarket medium saloon that can cover a bit of ground on electric power alone - thanks to the addition of an electric motor and a battery pack. In fact, it should be possible to cover decent distances using just the motor to propel the car with a full charge, as Mercedes claims this plug-in hybrid C-Class has a battery large enough to store sufficient charge for up to 62 miles of electric range.

Full performance specs will be revealed closer to the car’s launch, though the combination of a turbocharged petrol engine and a 129hp electric motor suggests the plug-in hybrid C-Class will have a decent turn of speed. Likewise, there aren’t any details yet on fuel economy, but expect a very high figure that you’ll only be able to match in day-to-day driving by charging regularly and predominantly covering short journeys - so that as much of your driving as possible is carried out on electric power.

We do know that the plug-in C-Class will get the same high-tech cabin as the standard car, and those after increased boot space will be able to have a plug-in hybrid C-Class in estate form. Do bear in mind, though, that the plug-in hybrid car’s electric tech does mean that the luggage volume on both versions has taken a bit of a hit compared with their petrol and diesel counterparts.

Quick facts

  • Up to 62 miles of electric range
  • Full charge in 30 minutes
  • Petrol engine and electric motor combo
  • Reduced practicality
  • Goes on sale in 2021
  • Prices to be confirmed

2021 Mercedes C-Class plug-in hybrid range

When the petrol-electric C-Class goes on sale, it’s set to have one of the longest electric ranges of any plug-in hybrid car you can get. According to Mercedes, it’ll be able to cover up to 62 miles on a single battery charge - which means, on paper at least, you should be able to cover short return trips using just the electric motor to power the car.

The reason it can cover such a long distance is because it has a very big battery for a plug-in hybrid. At 25.4kWh it’s not that much smaller than the batteries you can find in some electric city cars. Mercedes also claims the battery can be fully charged in just 30 minutes - though only if you plug the car into a powerful 55kW public charging station.

Charging speeds will be slower at less powerful charging points, though as the battery is still smaller than in equivalent fully electric cars, you should still be easily able to have a fully topped-up battery if you’re able to charge the car overnight using a wallbox charger at home.

Do also bear in mind that how close you’ll get to the claimed range figure will depend a lot on the type of driving you do. As driving at lower speeds requires less energy to be drawn from the battery by the electric motor, you’re more likely to match the quoted range when driving in towns and cities than you will on the motorway or other faster roads.

2021 Mercedes C-Class plug-in hybrid performance

Mercedes hasn’t yet confirmed how much power the plug-in C-Class will have, though the details we do have suggest it’ll be pretty punchy. The car’s 2.0-litre engine is a variation of the one used in the 258hp petrol-powered C-Class (though it may have a different state of tune on the plug-in model), and is complemented by an additional 129hp from the electric motor.

Whatever the exact amount of power this plug-in hybrid Mercedes C-Class ends up having, therefore, you can expect it to accelerate pretty quickly. As with petrol and diesel versions of the C-Class, the plug-in hybrid sends all of its power to the rear wheels via the same nine-speed automatic gearbox.

2021 Mercedes C-Class plug-in hybrid dimensions

In order to fit the big battery pack and electric motor, the plug-in C-Class has had to lose a fair chunk of boot space. The saloon version has a luggage volume of 360 litres, which is 95 litres down on what the conventionally-powered C-Class can manage, though that is still 45 litres more than what the old plug-in C-Class offered. Mercedes hasn’t yet quoted luggage volumes for the C-Class estate with the rear seats up, but the car’s 1,375-litre capacity with the rear seats down is a step down from the regular car’s load area of 1,510 litres.

The rest of the car’s interior dimensions also haven’t been revealed yet, though they should be fairly similar to the regular C-Class. As a result, the plug-in version should be a bit more spacious inside for passengers, thanks to the car’s larger size than its predecessor. Rear seat legroom in particular should be much better this time around, though - as the new Mercedes C-Class is only marginally taller than the one it replaces - taller passengers may be left wanting for headroom.

2021 Mercedes C-Class specifications

As with the standard C-Class, Mercedes hasn’t confirmed full tech specs for the plug-in hybrid version yet. There almost certainly won’t be many major deviations in the kit list. Like the petrol- and diesel-powered versions, the plug-in hybrid model will get a pair of large digital displays up front, a plush cabin and a suite of advanced safety assist systems.

One extra the plug-in C-Class has over the regular versions, though, is its suspension. Whereas the regular C-Class has conventional springs and shock absorbers, this plug-in hybrid model has more sophisticated air suspension for the rear that should, in theory, provide a smoother ride. The air suspension also has an automatic self-levelling system that can stop the car bobbing up and down - which will likely be very handy on the plug-in hybrid C-Class, considering there’s a big and heavy battery pack under the boot floor.

2021 Mercedes C-Class plug-in hybrid prices

Other than saying the car is due on sale before the end of 2021, Mercedes hasn’t yet confirmed when the plug-in hybrid C-Class will arrive on UK roads. Prices haven’t been revealed yet either, but - if the petrol-electric versions of the old C-Class are anything to go by - expect it to cost a fair bit more than the conventional petrol and diesel models.

 

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