The Mercedes Benz Media Efficiency Drive began in the basement of Bangsar Shopping Centre. That is where the new Mercedes charging station is located: a trio of sleek, futuristic wall-mounted chargers that can replenish an electric car quickly and effectively. Today, the car in question is the Mercedes E350e (RM392,888) — the iconic E-Class executive sedan that is now available as a plug-in hybrid.
As the name suggests, the showcase of efficiency is the aim of the day’s drive to the East Coast. The E350e has an advertised rating of an astounding 2.1l/100km. In reality, in order to get anywhere near that, you would need a well-practiced foot, a feather-light touch, tons of patience, and most horrifically to Malaysian drivers, no air conditioning.
Still, even without trying too hard, a relaxed drive around the city — with air-conditioning — could net you about 6.5l/100km, even without topping up the battery beforehand. By any real-world metric, that is an incredible figure. The entire round trip needed a just a single fill of about 40l, with plenty left in the tank upon arriving back in KL.
Hitting the open road confirmed the comfortable ride that one would fully expect from an E-Class. Befitting its position as a range-topper, the E350e is outfitted with such niceties such as Air Body Control adaptive suspension, Burmester surround sound speaker system, and a gorgeous panoramic sunroof.
The highways also allowed the other side of the electric motor to reveal itself: combined with the 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, the E350e has 286bhp at its disposal that can take it from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds. Activating the Sports+ mode sharpens the overall response, especially from the 9-speed automatic transmission — though even at its most aggressive the ride remains cushioned enough to remind you that yes, this is a Merc you’re in.
This latest iteration of the E-Class is at once something new and also not that much different from previous generations. Even with 21 st century hardware under the hood, the stately interior and dignified handling are classic Mercedes. It might be an electric future, but some things never change.