If you’re after a zero-compromise plug-in hybrid, then look no further than the Mercedes C 300 e. Snatching its second win in a row in this category, the classy German compact executive saloon continues to impress with its low running costs, exceptional electric range and slick in-car tech.
Thanks to its 25.4kWh battery, the C 300 e can travel a claimed 70 miles (WLTP) on electricity alone. That’s not only greater than almost every rival, it’s also the sort of distance that allows you to cover nearly all daily driving duties without having to stir the 2.0-litre petrol engine into life. As a result, you’ll spend far less time forking out at fuel stations, while business users can revel in a Benefit-in-Kind rate of just five per cent, which means an annual saving for higher earners of more than £4,000 when compared with a C 220 d.
Yet despite being far easier on your wallet, the C 300 e looks and drives just like a standard C-Class. That means you get the same understated looks and an interior that feels almost as luxurious and beautifully built as an S-Class limousine’s. It also features the firm’s excellent advanced safety kit and brilliantly intuitive MBUX infotainment, with its ‘Hey Mercedes’ digital assistant.
A plush ride and strong refinement mean the Merc will be stress-free, no matter how bad the traffic. Yet with a combined output of 309bhp, the C 300 e will dash from 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds, while the handling inspires confidence.
Any niggles? Well, the boot is a little cramped at 315 litres, but if you need more space, there’s always the versatile estate option.
Mercedes C 300 e AMG Line (£52,025)
The comprehensively kitted-out AMG Line gets all the equipment you’ll need, including the smart-looking 11.9-inch infotainment screen with augmented-reality sat-nav instructions, heated seats and reversing camera. And while £52,025 is a lot of cash, you’ll reap plenty of financial reward at the pumps and in lower tax bills.
It can’t match the Merc’s impressive electric range, but the recently refreshed BMW is the first choice for keen drivers. Not only are its petrol and electric motors beautifully integrated, the 330e handles with the same agile and engaging balance as the standard car. As with the C 300 e, there’s a choice of saloon or estate bodystyles, too.
Lexus NX 450h+
Our Mid-Size Premium SUV champ scores a well deserved runner-up spot here. Head-turning looks, a lavishly equipped cabin and excellent infotainment are real highlights, but it also rivals the Merc for easy-going comfort and refinement. Better still, with an electric range of around 40 miles, the Lexus should save business users a packet in BiK bills.