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by Tim Beissmann

The Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid has been spied undergoing testing in Germany ahead of its global rollout in 2015.

Snapped by CarAdvice’s spy photographers in both sedan and wagon body styles, the plug-in prototypes are easily distinguished from their conventionally powered C-Class siblings by the extra filler flap on the rear bumper that contains the electric charge port.

Harder to see are the active grille shutters, which open and close automatically to enhance the car’s aerodynamic efficiency.

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Mercedes-Benz announced the details of the C350 Plug-In Hybrid’s powertrain in January, confirming it would be the most fuel efficient C-Class in the history of the premium mid-sizer when it joins the line-up in 2015.

The C350 Plug-In Hybrid teams a 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a 50kW electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.

Mercedes-Benz claims the plug-in C-Class will use just 3.0 litres of fuel per 100km on the combined cycle, making it 40 per cent more efficient than the next best petrol variant, the entry-level 1.6-litre C180, and 21 per cent more frugal than the diesel-powered C300 Hybrid.

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Mercedes-Benz Australia says it is looking at the C-Class Plug-In Hybrid along with its big brother, the S-Class Plug-In Hybrid. It says a decision to introduce either model is unlikely to be made anytime soon, however, as it says the business case for the duo needs to be considered over a longer term.

The local division did confirm the C300 Hybrid is headed for Australian showrooms, however, and said it was scheduled to reach our shores in September, one month after the regular variants arrive in August.

The C300 Hybrid teams a 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with a 20kW electric motor, and claims combined cycle fuel consumption of 3.8L/100km.

Click the Photos tab for more Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid images.




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