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Geneva: Mercedes-Benz diesel plug-in hybrids

The company's 9G-Tronic hybrid transmission will be mated to diesel engines in the C- and E-Class.

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed plans to employ its 9G-Tronic hybrid transmission with diesel engines in the C- and E-Class lineup.

As many automakers look to electric as a replacement for diesel powertrains, Mercedes hopes to bridge the gap with plug-in hybrids that accommodate lingering demand for oil burners during the transition.

The plug-in hybrid system will be paired with Mercedes' OM654 family of inline four-cylinder diesel mills. An electric motor will draw from a 13.5-kWh battery, enabling drivers to cruise for an estimated 31 miles (NEDC cycle) on electricity alone. The hybrid system also provides supplementary 121 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Combining the electric motor and diesel engine delivers 516 pound-feet of twist from as low as 1,400 rpm.

As an added bonus, the German automaker says the relatively small battery can be filled from a home charging system in just two hours. The third-generation hybrid system also takes into account information from the navigation system, camera and radar to optimize use of available electricity.

Pre-production examples will be presented this week in Geneva ahead of market arrival by late summer this year.