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Rival carmakers are in a race to develop the most efficient practical alternative powerplant solutions, with some Japanese carmakers focusing on hybrid technology, while their European rivals concentrate on developing efficient diesels. French carmakers have their advanced diesel particulate filters, while Mercedes-Benz has been leading the German advance with BLUETEC, the technology that enables the use of fuel-efficient diesel engines while reducing the comparatively higher emissions that have traditionally kept diesels out of the green books.
Mercedes was the first to bring BLUETEC to the American market with the E320 BLUETEC, soon after joined by BLUETEC versions of the R-Class, M-Class and GL-Class sport-utility vehicles, that can arguably stand to benefit from environmentally-conscious, fuel-efficient powertrain solution most. The latter was previewed at the Detroit show in January with the Vision GL 420 BLUETEC concept. Following on the same formula, Mercedes showcased its new C-Class with the Vision C 220 Bluetec at last week's Geneva show.
The "Vision" moniker designates this as a production preview showcar, as opposed to the design studies and styling language concepts displayed by other carmakers. This concept, details of which we brought you in advance of the show, slips a new four-cylinder diesel into the new C-Class, which has already sold over 55,000 units since its introduction in January. The smart money is on Mercedes putting the concept's 2.2-liter diesel engine, with its 170 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, behind the sportier grille in the new C-Class sometime after it hits the US market in September.
Follow the jump for the full press release, and be sure to check out our high-resolution image gallery below, including shots of the Vision C 220 BLUETEC concept from the Geneva show floor, and the freshly-updated gallery of the new C-Class below that.
Vision C 220 BLUETEC
First four-cylinder BLUETEC model:
well on the way to complying with the EURO 6 emission standard
Mercedes-Benz is unveiling its highly environmentally-compatible BLUETEC technology in combination with a consumption-optimised four-cylinder engine for the first time at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show. In terms of ensuring compliance with the even stricter EURO 6 emission standard, applicable to all new vehicles Europe-wide from 2015, the Vision C 220 BLUETEC shows the way ahead. Boasting an output of 125 kW (170 hp) and a peak torque of 400 Nm, the Vision C 220 BLUETEC consumes 5.5 litres of diesel per hundred kilometres.
With the Vision C 220 BLUETEC, Mercedes-Benz is providing a taste of things to come as part of its BLUETEC initiative which was launched in the US last autumn. The initial impetus came from the market launch of the E 320 BLUETEC in North America in October 2006, which was timed to coincide with the introduction of low-sulphur diesel in that part of the world. A fuel consumption figure of 6.7 litres per hundred kilometres makes the E 320 BLUETEC one of the most economical vehicles in its class in the US.
For the US market, Mercedes-Benz will be offering three further V6 BLUETEC models – R Class, M-Class and GL-Class – with BIN-5 certification for all 50 states from as early as 2008. At the Detroit Auto Show in early January, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer demonstrated just how suitable the clean, economical, high-torque engines are for large cars and SUVs: the V8 diesel engine in the Vision GL 420 BLUETEC that was on display at the show has an output of 216 kW/290 hp, a peak torque of 700 Nm and an expected fuel consumption of just 9.8 litres per hundred kilometres.
With the first four-cylinder BLUETEC model, Mercedes-Benz illustrates just how versatile this innovative technology can be. Following the US launch, Mercedes Benz will also introduce BLUETEC in other markets. The technology is currently being adapted to European market requirements and further Mercedes Benz models, the aim being to also offer BLUETEC for European customers, starting in 2008.
BLUETEC – high-tech for the cleanest diesels in the world
BLUETEC is a DaimlerChrysler-developed technology designed to effectively reduce diesel vehicle emissions, especially nitrogen oxides – the only exhaust-gas constituents that are still higher in diesel engines than they are in their petrol counterparts due to the design concept involved. One of the key requirements is to effectively minimise the nitrogen oxides before they are produced. This is why the Mercedes-Benz engine specialists focus on optimising the engines and their combustion processes.
In terms of "hardware", the sophisticated four-cylinder powerplant in the Vision C 220 BLUETEC, like the standard-production engines, includes four valves per cylinder, third-generation common-rail direct injection, a turbocharger with a variable nozzle turbine and exhaust gas recirculation. A highly sensitive electronic engine management unit reacts precisely to an extremely wide range of operating conditions and, in so doing, optimises the combustion processes.
The BLUETEC technology in the Vision C 220 BLUETEC still includes an oxidising catalytic converter, which reduces emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC), as well as a particulate filter. A modified NOx storage catalytic converter with a substantially extended service life, including patented on-board ammonia generation, is combined with an additional SCR catalytic converter to minimise nitrogen oxides. This process of exhaust-gas aftertreatment requires no additives.
Vision C 220 BLUETEC combines environmental awareness, driving enjoyment and comfort
The results are impressive whichever way you look at them: on the one hand, the concept car equipped with a 6-speed manual transmission consumes just 5.5 litres of diesel per hundred kilometres (NEDC 2000); on the other hand, it delivers the same impressive output and torque figures whilst providing a unique combination of efficiency and driving enjoyment. By way of example, the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes 8.5 seconds and the top speed is 229 km/h.
The Vision C 220 BLUETEC is prepared for future emission standards, even the considerably more stringent limits imposed by EURO 6, which will apply to all new vehicles Europe-wide from September 1, 2015. For instance, particulate emissions must be reduced by a factor of five by the time the EURO 5 standard is introduced on January 1, 2011 whilst EURO 6 stipulates nitrogen oxide limits that are only around 30 percent of the current limits. All Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles with a particulate filter fitted as standard already undercut the particulate limits that apply from 2011 onwards.
BLUETEC technology has already proven itself thousands of times over
BLUETEC technology is based on Mercedes-Benz' vast pool of know-how and expertise in the construction of emission-optimised commercial vehicles. This now tried-and-trusted technology, first made available in early 2005, is today fitted in all the brand's commercial vehicle series. DaimlerChrysler has already delivered some 45,000 Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses featuring this innovative technology.