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With the oil crisis of the ‘70s many predicted the death of the V8 engine, but it has continued to solider on. With Chrysler and Infiniti execs recently commenting that there’s no place for eight-cylinder cars in the future of their respective brands, this time, are the V8 engine’s days finally numbered?
For what seems like forever, North America has been left behind when it comes to diesel cars. Sure there are a few options, but nowhere near as many as our friends in Europe. In fact, according to the Automotive Industry Data Newsletter, 52% of all new car sales last year in Western Europe were diesel powered.
Diesel engines offer unique advantages, with plenty of torque making tiny power plants more useable in small cars, while making modest size engines a functional alternative to much larger gasoline ones in SUVs. Towing, after all, is not something hybrids are known for. Additionally, diesel engines can provide fuel economy closer to that of a hybrid, without any of the worries surrounding new technology; plus, there’s no battery pack compromising passenger or storage space.
With those advantages, not to mention a push by automakers to meet increasingly strict corporate average fuel economy standards, a slew of diesel models are set to arrive on our shores in the near future. If you’re considering the switch to diesel power, here are a few options you’ll soon be able to consider.
It’s happening again. Last year, Mercedes-Benz had to issue a recall on its diesel models over a leaking fuel-filter, and now they have to address this issue all over again.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), certain 2011 and 2012 Mercedes BlueTec diesel may have a possible fuel leak, which can actually lead to fires.
2011 E-class, 2012 S-class, plus 2011 GL-class, ML-class and R-class models are affected by the recall. In total, 6872 vehicles are affected.
If you believe you might have a faulty Benz, you can either contact the NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236 (reference recall campaign number 11V496000) or Mercedes-Benz at 1-800-367-6372.
The third generation of Mercedes-Benz’s wildly popular M-class has been unveiled, and it sports a wider, cleaner new grille and a new V6 diesel engine.
The ML350 BlueTEC gets a newly massaged 3-liter V6 diesel engine that’s 50-state compliant and features 55-lb/ft more torque than the last engine, bringing that figure up to 455. It also has 240 horsepower, an increase of 30hp over the previous engine. As far as mileage goes, the increase is far more subtle: 20/25 instead of 18/25 city/highway mpg, but the torque is a far more entertaining trade-off.
The other engine is a 3.5-liter V6 engine with direct injection, which features 302 horsepower and 2743 lb/ft of torque. Both of these are available with a seven-speed automatic transmission with a new oil thermal management system. Underneath, the M-Class features what Mercedes calls AGILITY CONTROL, but what normal people call active damping: the shocks can firm up based on current driving conditions, enhancing stability.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but it shouldn’t be too far off the mark of the current M-Class’s starting MSRP of $47,365.
Gallery: 2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that its E300 Bluetec Hybrid is on the way and will hit showrooms in Europe by the end of 2012. While it hasn’t been confirmed for a U.S. launch, execs also haven’t ruled it out.
The first capable diesel hybrid from Stuttgart available for public use debuted at this past March’s Geneva Auto Show. It combines the latest generation 2.2-liter four-cylinder diesel with a 20-hp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack to deliver a sedate 204-hp. Torque, however, is significant at 428 lb-ft at some very low revs. The fuel economy advantages are impressive with an estimated 57.4 mpg average on the European test cycle. The EPA rating is a less impressive, but no less significant 45-mpg.
What hasn’t been confirmed is the cost, but you can bet it won’t be cheap, with both diesel and hybrid technology certain to tack on significant premiums to this already un-cheap luxury sedan.
Fans of old school Mercedes-Benz diesels can rejoice, as M-B is adding yet another oil-burner to its North American lineup. The 2012 S350 BlueTec 4MATC will bow at the 2011 North American International Auto Show.
Featuring Mercedes’ stellar BlueTEC V6 turbodiesel engine and the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, the S350 will put out 210 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque with an estimated 29 mpg on the highway.
Although the S350 is being positioned as the “entry-level” S-Class, beneath the S400 Hybrid and S550 V8, is there any real reason, aside from vanity, to buy one of the more powerful variants. Unless you’re going for an S63 AMG or the ultra-opulent S600 V12, it’s hard to see why one would opt for anything but the BlueTEC.
Look for more on the S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC Monday, January 10th with AutoGuide’s coverage of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Until then, get more on all the debuts at our Detroit Auto Show Preview here.
GALLERY: 2012 Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC
The Mercedes-Benz GLK will get a diesel option in 2012, making it the lone compact luxury SUV to be offered with an oil-burning powertrain. Mercedes-Benz will also offer a diesel C-Class at launch in 2013.
Mercedes will also re-introduce the E-Class diesel for 2011, after a one year hiatus. Ernst Lieb, Mercedes USA’s President, said that the take rate for their Bluetec diesel engines ranges from 12-20%, with the E-Class on the low side, and the GL enjoying more diesel-oriented customers.
Lieb said that he would like to see the take rate grow to between 15-20% in the United States, but higher vehicle and fuel prices have kept consumers wary of buying diesel. By contrast, the take rate for diesels in Canada, with even pricier vehicles and fuel, approaches 80% consistently.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
Mercedes-Benz diesels have a fearsome reputation for being some of the toughest cars on the road. While most vintage German machinery has been sent to the scrap heap due to astronomical repair bills or oxidization, there are a number of diesel powered Mercedes-Benz cars from as far back as 1972 still kicking around, thanks to a cult following and bank-vault build quality.
There hasn’t been a diesel S-Class sold here since the mid-1990′s, but in 2011, Mercedes is set to bring it back a big diesel-powered sedan, with the S350 Bluetec. Packaged with Mercedes-Benz 4Matic system, the S350 will put out 210 horsepower and 400 lb-ft, with AdBlue urea injection cutting down those legendary diesel emissions.
Americans haven’t been too enthusiastic about diesels in passenger cars, but a majority of the Mercedes-Benz SUVs in Canada are diesel powered, and we suspect that the S350 Bluetec, combined with standard all-wheel drive, will be very popular north of the border, and possibly the Snow Belt states.
[Source: Car and Driver]
Possibly the safest car on the road
Presented to the media were three different E-Class models – none of which will be available in the U.S. For the record, however, they were the E250 CDI, the E350 CGI and the E350 blueTEC.
Mercedes claims that its four and six-cylinder engines will consume 23 percent less fuel than before – due mostly to the use of direct injection across the model range. Fuel consumption is also aided by an incredibly low drag coefficient of just 0.25.
The 250 CDI, which uses a twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine makes 204hp and 369 ft-lbs of torque – an increase of 25 percent over the previous V-6 diesel engine. It also uses 23 percent less fuel for an incredible rating of 44 mpg.
As for the rest of the new E-Class, the chassis is 30 percent more rigid than the previous model. Also new for 2010 will be dynamic shock absorbers that can adjust to road conditions. These shocks will also work with the Mercedes air-ride suspension.
The big point that Mercedes wanted to get across, however, is how safe the new E-Class is thanks to a host of safety features including Adaptive Main Beam Assist. This new system uses a camera to view the road ahead and adjust the headlights accordingly, ensuring the lights reach as far as possible, but not as far as the car in front of you. It also monitors oncoming traffic and if the road is clear transitions to hi-beams.
Blind Spot Assist is also available as is Lane Keeping Assist, which will notify the driver through vibrations in the steering wheel if the vehicle detects it is drifting off the road.
Mercedes’ Brake Assist Plus system, uses the car’s radar to view the road ahead. If the car sees that a driver is about to hit something then he will be given a visual and acoustic warning to act. If no action is taken then partial braking is first applied by the car’s computer, followed by emergency braking if the driver continues not to respond. This is similar to a system Volvo recently developed.
Another, although not the final, safety device in the new E-Class is the Attention Assist system that detects when a driver isn’t paying attention and will notify him with an acoustic and visual warning. This warning on the dash is symbolized by a coffee cup. “It’s the next best thing to handing the driver a cup of espresso,” said Mercedes-Benz Chairman Dr. Dieter Zeich.
More on the new E-Class and all its many safety features after the jump