Mercedes pulls PHEVs from production to make way for third-gen tech

by Sam Sheehan, Autocar UK 25 Jun 2018


Mercedes-Benz has pulled plug-in hybrid versions of the C-Class, E-Class and S-Class from production, as well as all GLE models, to make way for their successors.

The trio of PHEVs, plus the one GLE PHEV that departs along with the rest of the range, will be replaced in the coming months by models utilising Mercedes' most advanced electrified powertrains, described by the company as “third-generation” technology and marketed under the EQ banner.

The new EQ system, first announced in the spring, comes exclusively with Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic gearbox, which is packaged together in the same unit with the clutch and electric motor.

The electric drive from this tightly packed unit has been updated so it now contributes 121bhp and 325lb ft of torque alongside each model’s respective combustion engine. Mercedes said the top speed in electric mode for its third-generation system is now 87mph, up from 81mph for the second-gen system.

The pure-electric range is also up to as much as 31 miles for each model — a gain of around 10 miles on the previous generation.

A Mercedes spokesman confirmed to Autocar that the first car to benefit from the new tech will be the S-Class. Already on sale in other markets, the updated luxury model will arrive in Britain in the autumn with a new S560e variant that uses a six-cylinder petrol engine with the electric drive unit, replacing the outgoing S500e.

Soon after that, two E-Class PHEVs, one with a four-cylinder diesel engine and one with a four-cylinder petrol unit, will be announced. The first customer cars are due on road before the end of this year.

In spring 2019, a C-Class PHEV with the same four-cylinder diesel as the E-Class PHEV will arrive. It will be shortly followed by an all-new plug-in A-Class that will be a new rival to the Audi A3 e-tron.

Although Mercedes has yet to officially announce the GLE’s successor, Autocar understands that the next-generation car is due later this year and will be offered with a GLE 560e, utilising the same plug-in powertrain as the S-Class PHEV.

Demand for hybrid Mercedes models has grown substantially in recent years. The firm’s top-selling PHEV in Britain is the electrified C-Class. Last year, PHEVs accounted for 9.2% of C-Class saloon sales and 14.2% C-Class estate sales.