E 300 de

Have you ever heard of a diesel Plug-In Hybrid? 

If not, it's understandable. Hybrids are a revolution of their own, and diesel variants are few and far between. 

The E 300 de is an executive saloon that offers the high levels of Mercedes class and combines them with low-level emissions. Could this E-Class Plug-in Hybrid be the perfect Mercedes lease for drivers looking to drive more economically? Let’s see what we think.

E-Class Saloon

A little bit about the car we drove...

E 300 de EQ Power

Model Line: AMG Line

Upholstery: Black Leather with Black open-pore ash wood trim

Paint: Designo Selenite Grey Magno

Wheels: (18-inch) AMG 5-twin-spoke light-alloy wheels

Performance: 194+122 horsepower.

0-62: 5.9 seconds

OTR from £47,480

*Prices and model lines correct at the time of publication

Front grille e 300 de

Hybrid Technology

The E 300 de gets a 1,950cc, 4-cylinder diesel engine and a 90kW electric motor. 194 horsepower comes from the diesel engine, with an additional 122 horsepower coming from the electric motor. Mercedes of course also offer a petrol variant, which gets a 2.0L, 4-cylinder petrol engine with 211hp to combine with that 90kW motor.

But lots of companies offer petrol hybrids. Or at least they're starting to. In the last few weeks alone we’ve test-driven the Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 and the Volvo XC60 T8 Recharge PHEV

So why is the ‘de’ special compared to its rivals or a standard Mercedes E-Class lease? Let's find out.

E-Class parked in woodland

Well, for many drivers the lure of the diesel comes from the unrivalled economy, mpg and even suitability to towing or overtaking. Lower CO2 emissions are synonymous with diesel engines, and therefore also represent themselves as a great option for company car drivers looking for low BIK rates. This is combined with a 13.5 kWh battery-powered electric motor that allows for up to 34 miles of completely emission-free driving.

E-Class parked in front of gate

The Drive

The idea of the PHEV is it offers the option for those regularly doing short commutes of 30 miles or less (around 90% of all journeys, according to Mercedes) to do so without using any fuel at all. As well as the conventional plug method, the ‘de’ also charges while you’re driving, further improving the fuel economy.

Acoustic ambient protection below 30km/h changes pitch whether you’re accelerating or reversing, therefore squashing any ‘silent but deadly’ fears. Over 30km/h, the E 300 de's regular tyre and wind noise will alert vulnerable road users to its presence. 

driving the e 300de

For any reader worried that the hybrid would drive any differently to the beloved combustion engine E-Class Saloon, those worries are wasted. The 9G-TRONIC Automatic gearbox is as seamless as ever, and this car glides along the road just as elegantly as we’d expect. I would say for those wishing for acceleration akin to something fully electric, we’re not quite there.

This car is heavy. But don’t get me wrong, it still shifts. I just found that it was at its happiest picking up speed on the motorway. It’s one of those cars that cruise at speed so leisurely, you have to make an even greater effort to ensure you don’t exceed the speed limit. It is easily as enjoyable to drive as the Audi A6 or BMW 5 Series.

EQ Power

The E 300 de gets a choice of dynamic driving modes, which have different functions as to how they use, reserve or charge the car while driving.

  • HYBRID: This is the default setting and allows all functions, such as electric driving, boost and energy recovery, to be used.
  • E-MODE: This is electric driving.
  • E-SAVE: The charged battery is held in reserve to allow driving in all-electric mode later.
  • CHARGE: The battery is charged while driving.
e 300 de AMG Line Wheels


The car comes as standard with a 4m charging cable that allows you to charge at a wallbox or public charging stations at up to 7.4kW. You also get an 8m cable for a Mode 2 household socket.

Official figures give a claimed electric range of between 31-34 miles. But as many seem to report, the real-world mileage seems to be around 25-30 miles. For some drivers, this might last for a few days. But for those who travel more regularly and want to have the most efficient drive possible, having a home wallbox would provide the easiest charging solution.

AC charging times for a 10–100% charge range from one hour and 30 minutes at a wall box to five hours at a domestic socket. It’s worth noting that Rapid charging is not available on this car.

Mercedes-Benz E 300 de AMG Line

Benefits for Business Drivers

The benefit of economy levels synonymous with diesel engines has always been a huge draw for company car drivers. The hybrid technology in this car makes it even more appealing. As the E 300 de offers an electric range, the vehicle's emissions are even lower than those in its standard combustion counterpart. Reduced emissions equal lower BIK Rates and are therefore a much more financially attractive option for companies and drivers.

Cabin and mats

The Experience

Pretty much everything comes with this AMG Line. The only thing we’ve added is Designo Selenite Grey Magno paint – a pricey cost option of around £1,500, but one that really does elevate the car.

Inside the attention to detail is undeniable. The E-Class cabin is arguably the best in its class and is certainly the most ostentatious – in the best way. Flowing lines, giant sweeping displays and plush black leather interior make the driver feel like a pilot in a cockpit. There’s so much technology in this car that you could say it’s perhaps as advanced as one too!


The seats offer plush support with four-way lumbar support for the driver and front passenger. This, combined with the comfort suspension, makes for a drive so comfortable you’ll not want to go back to sitting in anything else. AMG Line models, unfortunately, don’t get electric memory seats and, with the simplification of the Mercedes range, it’s not available as an optional extra. But for those who feel it’s a must, it is available on AMG Line Night Edition Premium Plus models.


The star of the show on the E-Class is the widescreen cockpit display, which includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen. It features the acclaimed MBUX system, which allows the multimedia to be controlled via touch, voice or touchpad.

This system is exemplary. And a real bonus for me is it removes the need to try and use the touchscreen while driving. Simply say ‘Hey Mercedes’ followed by a command, and it’ll do it for you.

Make a call, change the radio, cancel route guidance, you name it. You can also customise the cockpit with one of the 64 different ambient lighting options or set the tri-zone climate control.

Centre console and climate control

There’s a second widescreen display for the driver, which (broken record, I know) is fantastic. It is so ridiculously clear and customisable, with brilliant graphics and a range of options selectable via the steering wheel. This latest steering wheel from Mercedes is high gloss and uses touch control rather than buttons. Something it might take you a little time to get used to.

As there are so too many features to go through in detail. Here’s a summary:

  • Apple CarPlay Android Auto
  • Reversing Camera
  • Blind Spot Assist
  • Parking Pilot
  • Auto dimming rear view mirror
  • Traffic sign assist
  • Electrically folding mirrors
  • MBUX
  • Automatic climate control
  • LED headlights
  • Adaptive mainbeam assist
  • AMG Styling
  • Privacy glass
  • Heated front seats
  • Ambient lighting
  • Wireless charging
  • USB ports in the front and the rear
rear seats

For the most part, the de remains as spacious as the standard E-Class Saloon. There is ample head and legroom for adults, climate control and a centre armrest with cup holders to make the whole experience even more comfortable. Isofix points are easy to access. However, they feature those pull off covers which, I for one, know I would immediately lose.

Boot and boot space

The main and only real issue I have with the practicality of this car comes when you open the boot. And you see, well, a lack of it. The 300 de gets a 400-litre boot space, which all in all doesn’t sound that small until you compare it to the regular E-Class which has a 540-litre boot. Unfortunately, this is the price you pay for choosing the hybrid variant. And the result is a quite intrusive obstruction caused by the battery.

View of E 300 de from side

Final Verdict

The E-Class Saloon in itself is a really impressive piece of technology and design. It’s more understated than the sporty Coupe or Cab models, and if you want a hybrid your options are narrowed down to the conservative Saloon or Estate. That’s not to say the Saloon doesn’t look good. It does. It’s classy, refined and streamlined. And inside it’s as premium as it is comfortable – very.

The hybrid technology is a real seller for those wanting improved economy and electric range with the option to travel further distances if they need to. And this is where it’ll be more efficient than its petrol counterpart.

The technology is exemplary, albeit a little tricky to get used to in some cases (the steering wheel controls), and the widescreen display is simply superb.

Will it impress? Yes. Is it the most exciting Mercedes? No. Would we have one? Totally.