Mercedes, deeply entrenched in its strategy to try and win back the world sales crown lost 10 years ago to BMW is attacking the latter with and interesting model, a plug-in hybrid C-Class variant.
Set to be unveiled in front of the audience of the Detroit motor show, the latest C-Class model will swiftly make its sales debut this March in Europe and in September in the US. The plug-in hybrid powertrain is the latest attempt to secure an edge for the best-selling Mercedes nameplate in its relentless battle with BMW AG’s 3-Series – this time in the field of fuel economy. Coming down from the flagship S-Class, the plug-in technology has been made available on the C-Class to tackle the already available conventional hybrid version of the 3-Series. Audi chose to do the same though in a more affordable price bracket, starting deliveries at the end of 2014 of the 37,900-euro ($45,580) A3 E-Tron plug-in hybrid compact – and the Inglostadt-based manufacturer will add a plug-in hybrid model each year, beginning with the variant of the Q7 sport-utility vehicle in 2015.
The C-Class can be electrically driven for 31 kilometers (19 miles) and the electric motor can join forces with the internal combustion engine when lots of power is needed. The plug-in hybrid also compliments the already Germany-available model with a more conventional, but nevertheless interesting, diesel-hybrid drivetrain. Mercedes is also planning a plug-in hybrid offensive for the next years, with 10 plug-in models out by 2017 in an effort to meet global emissions rules and combat emerging luxury rivals such as America’s Tesla Motors.