Introducing The Diesel Driver’s New Long-Term Auto: the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec

By Ben Rossi on 5 August 2011
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A Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec is now part of The Diesel Driver’s long-term test fleet.  37% of Diesel Driver readers correctly guessed that the new auto would be a Mercedes.   26.4% said VW, 20.8% said Audi, and 15.1% voted for BMW.

We’ve liked the new E-Class since we drove one last fall.  Completely redesigned for 2010, the E-Class body sports an elegant, sleek look that marks a major departure from the exterior design of previous models while still embodying classic Mercedes styling.

Outfitted with a V-6 3.0-liter 72° engine, the E350 BlueTec’s powertrain is slightly smaller than the petrol version’s 3.5-liter V-6, but it packs a wallop. While the engine produces only 210 hp, it develops a remarkable 400 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 2,400 rpm, compared to the petrol version’s 258 pound-feet between 2,400 and 5,000 rpm. That brings the car from zero to 60 mph (zero to 96 km/h) in 6.7 seconds (versus 6.6 seconds for the petrol version).

The E350 is a 50-state diesel, meaning it meets emissions requirements in all 50 states. To meet the more stringent emissions requirements in some regions, the pollution control system injects AdBlue (urea) into the exhaust, rendering Nox harmless. This rather complex exhaust system puts an extra 200+ pounds (90+ kg) on the diesel, but despite the added heft the E350 BlueTec gets 30% better fuel economy than its petrol equivalent. It is rated at 22 mpg (10.7 l/100 km) in city driving and 33 mpg (7.1 l/100 km) on the highway.

We test drove the E350 from New York to Boston last fall, averaging 34.5 mpg (6.8 l/100 km) at an average speed of 67.7 mph (109 km/hour).

Our E350 comes well-equipped with a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, rear view camera, 12-speaker Logic7 Surround Sound system with Bluetooth interface, HD and Sirius radio and iPod connectivity, 17” aluminum sport package wheels, Comand GPS navigation system with voice control and real-time traffic data. Other features include Bi-Xenon headlamps, Parktronic parking guidance, Drive-Dynamic multicontour driver seat with active cornering support and massage, LED daytime running lamps, leather upholstery, and Burl Walnut trim. The Driver Assistance Package includes Distronic Plus with Pre-Safe Braking, Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping Assist. The Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec has a base price of $51,175. Compared to the petrol E350, the additional cost of the diesel is only $1700.

TDD editors Jonathan Spira and Christian Stampfer picked up our E350 at the Mercedes-Benz Kundencenter that is adjacent to the automaker’s Sindelfingen, Germany plant near Stuttgart, taking advantage of the carmaker’s European Delivery program. As part of this program, Mercedes-Benz offers a number of incentives and perks, including a 7% discount off MSRP, one night’s lodging at a choice of luxury hotels, free insurance for 15 days, and waiver of destination and delivery charges.

From Stuttgart,  our editors will drive to Maastricht in the Netherlands, then Cologne (Köln) in Germany, then Arnhem in the Netherlands, and then Bremen and Bremerhaven, which is the port city in Germany from which the E350 will embark on its trip to the United States.