Click above for high-res gallery of the S-Class BlueEFFICIENCY

Mercedes-Benz really wants you to know how green its new line of diesel vehicles can be. To that end, the German automaker calls them Blue and capitalizes EFFICIENCY. Subtle, no? In an effort to earn the badge, MB has tweaked its largest and most luxurious model with a 3.0-liter diesel engine, a seven-speed automatic tranny that decouples itself at stops, a power steering pump that only operates when necessary and low rolling resistance tires. Those are pretty simple changes, no complex electric motors here. Fuel mileage, though, is rather good for such a large vehicle, coming in at nearly 31 U.S. miles per gallon. In contrast, the marque's upcoming S400 BlueHYBRID only manages about 29 miles per gallon. If this sounds to you like it makes a resounding case for diesel vehicles, you're right. It does. Unfortunately, MB only mentions German pricing for the S 320 in the press release after the jump, not indicating whether the big blue sedan will be sold on our shores anytime soon or not.

Related GalleryMercedes-Benz S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY

[Source: Mercedes-Benz]


PRESS RELEASE:

Mercedes-Benz S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY: The Most Frugal S-Class Ever

STUTTGART – October 1, 2008: From the end of 2008, Mercedes-Benz will be adding to its range one of the most fuel-efficient and therefore economical luxury saloons around in the form of the new S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY. Effective detailed modifications and advanced technology have lowered the fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of the new model variant by some ten per cent compared to its predecessor, which was itself very economical. Features of the first BlueEFFICIENCY model in the S-Class range include on-demand power steering, an automatic transmission with standstill decoupling, as well as tyres with reduced rolling resistance. All without compromising the high standards of comfort, performance and driving pleasure in any way.

By bringing out the new S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, Mercedes-Benz is carefully pursuing its strategy for developing environmentally sound premium models that also encompasses the S-Class. The latest variant of the luxury saloon, which is due to supersede the S 320 CDImodel from the end of this year, is more fuel-efficient and, as a result, even more economical than its predecessor. With fuel consumption of 7.6 litres per 100 km (a reduction of 0.7 litres) and CO2 emissions of 199 g/km (a reduction of 21 g), the S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY is set to achieve top marks in the luxury class. Mercedes-Benz has achieved such exemplary economy by incorporating a tailor-made BlueEFFICIENCY package. The package's key components:

# The power steering's hydraulic pump that is driven by an electric motor has an on-demand design, meaning that it only builds up pressure when the driver actually turns the steering wheel. This has the effect of reducing energy and fuel consumption when driving for long distances in a straight line – such as on the motorway.
# The 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission is equipped with standstill decoupling. With this feature, the torque converter interrupts the power flow as soon as the vehicle draws to a stop with the engine running, in much the same way as the clutch on a manual transmission. This eliminates the converter's hydrodynamic resistance, lessening the load on the engine and lowering fuel consumption. Standstill decoupling has the added benefit of reducing noise and vibration levels when stopped, and enables even smoother idling. The slip-controlled clutch engages the instant the driver releases the brake pedal, allowing the vehicle to move off without the slightest delay.

# The S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY rides as standard on 17-inch light-alloy wheels shod with reduced rolling resistance tyres, featuring a special carcass construction.

There has been no change in the V6 powerplant's superlative output and torque figures of 173 kW/235 hp and 540 Nm respectively. Thus equipped, the S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY completes the sprint from 0 - 100 km/h in 7.8 seconds and attains a top speed of 250 km/h.

The luxury saloon with fuel consumption and emission figures on a par with a medium-size car can be recognised from the outside by the "BlueEFFICIENCY" badge on the front wings. The S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY sees Mercedes-Benz further extend its line-up of models offering enhanced fuel efficiency and environmental compatibility.

The price for the S 320 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY in Germany is unchanged at €70,864.50 (incl. VAT). The long-wheelbase version costs €78,718.50 (incl. VAT).