An updated Mercedes-Benz C-Class petrol plug-in hybrid (PHEV) sedan will arrive in Australia during the first quarter of 2019 – about six months after the 'regular' updated line-up – with an improved pure-electric range of 50km.
This is up from the 30km on offer in the current C350e PHEV, giving the new version a significantly better zero-local-emissions driving window before petrol power kicks in.
The petrol PHEV version of the MY18 C-Class update will use the same updated electric architecture as the brand new plug-in diesel model revealed this week, only with a petrol-fired internal-combustion engine instead of a diesel.
Clearly, in a bid the give the new diesel plug-in some oxygen, Mercedes is keeping its ‘official’ powder dry on the petrol-based model, but its engineers were happy to spill the beans.
The upgraded mid-cycle PHEV successor to the current C350e will get a bigger 13.5kWh capacity lithium-ion battery (up from 6.2kWh in the current C350e) and a more powerful 90kW/440Nm electric motor, up from 60kW/340Nm.
The new onboard charger doubles in capacity to 7.2kWh, meaning a Mercedes wall box will fully recharge the battery inside two hours. It’ll take about seven hours at a domestic power socket, so overnight house charging is doable.
While the current pre-facelift C350e’s petrol engine is a 155kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbocharged four, we’d speculate on the new version’s internal-combustion power unit potentially offering an uprated 180kW/370Nm. This would take the combined system output to about 250kW/700Nm. Maybe.
When the updated C-Class PHEV lobs in Australia around February 2019, don’t expect pricing to change much from the C350e’s $75,814 (sedan) and $78,400 (wagon) figures.
This figure at present is about $5000 more than the BMW 330e iPerformance PHEV, though the Bavarian offering has a pure electric range of about 35km.
Interestingly, the upgraded C-Class plug-in hybrid is only one aspect of Daimler's steady electrification of its core cars.
The new base C200 gets an additional 48V onboard network with a belt-driven starter/alternator, a system Benz has dubbed EQ Boost. This model will launch with the 'regular' MY18 C-Class range in August 2018.
The new petrol model will be launched with a displacement of just 1.5 litres, with a 2.0-litre variant to follow later – maybe in C300 form.
When accelerating, EQ Boost can assist the 135kW engine with an additional 10kW/160Nm, bridging the moment until the turbocharger has built up its full charge pressure.
This boosting is also used to reach the engine's ideal rpm as quickly as possible during gearshifts. The shift time of the automatic transmission is shortened as a result.
During deceleration, the starter/alternator recuperates kinetic energy and charges the battery. There is also a gliding mode with the engine switched off - when the speed falls below a certain level, the powertrain is decoupled and the engine is switched off.
The start/stop system operates particularly comfortably thanks to the belt-driven starter/alternator, as the engine restarts almost silently, Mercedes-Benz says, with low vibrations and very rapidly.
Read about the other 2018 Mercedes-Benz C-Class upgrades here. In short, you get new digital instruments, a bigger 10-inch centre screen, multi-beam LED headlights, a new steering wheel and active safety tech dripped down from the S-Class.