The Mercedes S400 Bluetec diesel hybrid concept making its North American debut at the LA Auto Show this week isn't the company's first hybrid idea, but it is one of the best-looking, and the combination of diesel and electric power gets this luxury machine up to 40 mpg. Considering the size and power of the S400, that's a great number. Tell me again why automakers are so afraid of the 35 mpg CAFE standards when cars like this are (at least in concept form) possible.
Mercedes promises the V6 BLUETEC diesel engine under the S400's hood can deliver "the performance of a V8 with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder." If you're intrigued by the look and the performance of this car, hang on to your cash, as it won't be available until "after 2010." More after the jump.
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S400 BLUETEC HYBRID Capable of 40 Miles Per Gallon with V8-Like Performance
LOS ANGELES, CA - Mercedes-Benz is holding the North American debut of a bold new powertrain at the Los Angeles Auto Show, open to the public November 16-23, 2007 at the L.A. Convention Center. The new S400 BLUETEC HYBRID combines both clean diesel and hybrid technologies by using the latest BLUETEC diesel instead of the gasoline engine that usually helps power a hybrid.
Since hybrids use a conventional engine in concert with an electric motor, it's not surprising that a state-of-the-art hybrid is making use of the world's most fuel-efficient piston engine - the diesel. In its latest form, the exhaust emissions from the Mercedes-Benz BLUETEC diesel are as clean as a modern gasoline engine.
A Hybrid Concept With 40 Miles per Gallon AND V8-Like Power
Arriving after 2010, the S400 BLUETEC HYBRID with be available with a high-torque electric motor that works together with a V6 BLUETEC diesel engine to provide the performance of a V8 with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder. A total 265 horsepower and 465 pound-feet of torque is on hand - more pulling power than many conventional V8 engines - for zero to 60 mph acceleration of about 7.2 seconds, while the car is still capable of 40.5 miles per gallon (based on a European driving cycle) in highway driving. These figures are even more impressive when considering that the S-Class is a large luxury sedan.
The E320 BLUETEC is Here Now
Mercedes-Benz recently unveiled a version of its E320 BLUETEC, a diesel sedan that is available to California customers on a special two-year/24,000-mile lease through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. The E320 BLUETEC is lease-priced on par with its gasoline-powered sibling, the E350.
The special lease program is the first step in the company's plans to offer consumers diesel alternatives in all 50 states. Late next year, the Mercedes-Benz M-, R, and GL-Class will be among the very few SUVs that can be sold in all 50 states. These vehicles will utilize AdBlue injection, a process that adds precisely measured quantities of urea into the exhaust stream that enhances long-term emissions performance sufficient to meet stringent BIN5 (50-state) standards.
California's stringent emissions requirements have kept new diesel automobiles models off the California market for the better part of a decade. The new E320 BLUETEC changes all that.
Distinguished as "2007 World Green Car" by an international panel of journalists earlier this year, BLUETEC denotes state-of-the-art engine and exhaust technology which produces the cleanest diesels available on the market today. Utilizing this technology, the V6-powered E320 BLUETEC diesel is able to provide the low fuel consumption of a four-cylinder compact with the torque of a V8.
Diesels - An Ideal Solution
Mercedes-Benz USA, which has sold diesels here in the United States for 40 years, believes diesels are an ideal solution for today's luxury car buyers because they yield a significant increase in fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance or interior room. The E320 BLUETEC can go nearly 700 highway miles on a single tank of fuel.
"We're breaking new ground here as we pave the way for the return of the diesel to California," said Ernst Lieb, president and CEO of MBUSA. "BLUETEC is the most promising technology for customers who want to get up to 20-40 percent higher fuel efficiency without sacrificing the performance and the driving characteristics they're used to." According to Lieb, the California market plays a critical role in the comeback of the diesel: "In addition to being one of the top automotive markets in the world, California has tremendous influence. We know we have quite a few loyal diesel buyers there who have been waiting for the opportunity to get back into a diesel, but we also want to tap into a new group of buyers who are interested in making their dollar go farther without compromising performance or their personal style."
Beyond their fuel efficiency, from an environmental standpoint, BLUETEC vehicles are the cleanest diesels available in the world today. Since diesels inherently burn less fuel than gasoline vehicles, they also produce significantly lower emissions of carbon dioxide (C02). Also, in BLUETEC vehicles particulate levels are reduced to levels comparable - or better than - that of gasoline-powered vehicles. Similarly, NOX emissions are reduced to meet the most stringent exhaust limits in the world.
The California lease program will function as a bridge as MBUSA prepares to begin phasing in 50-state BLUETEC vehicles nationwide starting in 2008. The first step will be the extension of the special lease program to other states which do not currently allow sales of new diesel automobiles in January 2008. Later in 2008, Mercedes will introduce another BLUETEC system on its M-, R- and GL-Class vehicles.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA, headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. In 2006, MBUSA achieved an all-time sales record of 248,080 new vehicles, setting the highest sales volume ever in its history and achieving 13 consecutive years of sales growth. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found on the Internet at www.mbusa.com and www.maybachusa.com.
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