Click on the image for a gallery of high-res images of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec.


Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Dan Neil has a good piece about the California Air Resources Board adopting the EPA's Tier II, Bin 5 emission standard two years before most of the U.S. leaving the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec as out of reach for Californians. Neil points out that the new E320 Bluetec does meet the Bin 8 emissions standard and gets 45 percent(!) better fuel economy than the equivalent petrol-powered E350.

Bluetec of course is Mercedes-Benz's branding for their clean diesel technology which sees the E320 Bluetec equipped with a NOx adsorber-catalyst, exhaust gas recirculation and a particular filter. Like your average modern oil burner, the off-the-mark times and power ratings aren't all that noteworthy, but the torque is massive. Neil describes the E320's pull well, "[it] has torque like a nuclear attack sub."

As I described in my recent Volkswagen Passat TDI review, all that torque results in amazing overtaking ability, "Even while driving up a reasonable gradient doing 100 km/h with the engine ticking over at 1,500 revs in sixth, there is torque on tap to blow past other cars without the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) even needing to switch down if you bury your foot."

Neil describes a similar sensation in the E320, "In the passing lane, this inoffensive burgher of the interstate pulls like a BMW M3."

Analysis: The only problem with buying a huge saloon with a clean diesel engine and great fuel economy is that you probably should have bought a smaller car anyway. Switching to diesel vehicles to maintain an unsustainable love affair with big vehicles is false economy.



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