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The Mercedes E-Class now comes as a diesel hybrid

Diesel's not dead! This E-Class pairs a 2.0-litre diesel with much electricity

Mercedes clearly doesn’t think diesel is totally done for. Not yet anyway. Just look at this new E-Class. It’s called the E300de, and though it doesn’t look like much, it’s actually the rarest of the rare – a diesel plug-in hybrid.

The 194bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine from the E220d is paired with a 122bhp electric motor and 13.5kWh battery, giving a claimed 166.2mpg and thus making the 300de by far the most economical E-Class. And happily it’s not slow – 0-62mph takes 5.9 seconds (or 6.0secs flat for the Estate) and the top speed’s limited to 155mph. Hot hatch performance levels.

However, an electric-only range of 34 miles for the saloon and 32 miles for the Estate (plus CO2 emissions of just over 40g/km) mean the 300de still isn’t economical enough to qualify for the government’s plug-In car grant. The grant was changed last month, and now applies only to cars that can do at least 70 miles under electric power. No PHEV on sale in the UK is capable of such a feat. Yet.

But company car drivers will still get all the (reasonably hefty) tax benefits associated with running a PHEV, making this thing worth considering over a ‘normal’ E-Class. Prices start at £47,700 for the saloon - £2,000-odd more expensive than the petrol-electric BMW 530e.

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