You may remember that despite a promise back in January of 2006 that its E320 BLUETEC would meet emissions standards in all 50 states, Mercedes-Benz announced eight months later that its new diesel sedan wouldn't be sold in California and the contingent of states that have adopted its stricter emissions standard. Mercedes went back and tweaked the BLUETEC design and today marks the first day that the E320 BLUETEC sedan goes on sale in California. It's the first diesel powered model that meets California's strict emissions standards and certainly won't be the last. Mercedes-Benz is offering the car only as a lease vehicle for 2 years/24,000 miles for roughly $600 per month.
Merc chose to lease the car because only about 100 units will be available. This will be expanded next year along with the rest of the diesel lineup when the M, R and GL Bluetec diesels arrive in August. By January next year the E320 Bluetec will be available in all of the other states that have adopted California's stricter emissions standards. These include New York, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
The E-class is expected to go in for a redesign for the 2010 model year and will also be offered with a Bluetec diesel option when it arrives in mid-2009. Click here to view several spy shots of the next E-class including a couple of its interior.
[Source: Automotive News. sub. req'd]