2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec Diesel Three Month Review and Report

By Jonathan Spira on 12 November 2011
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Last November, I drove the Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec sedan from New York to Boston and back and promptly fell in love.  The trip of 331 km (206 miles) took three hours and my fuel consumption was 6.7 l/100 km (35 mpg).  The return trip of 335 km (208 miles) took a little longer but my fuel consumption was only 6.3 l/100 km (37 mpg). These figures were on par with the fuel economy we saw with our BMW 335d long-term test car, yet the Benz was bigger.

This year Mercedes is celebrating its 125th anniversary and is credited not only with inventing the diesel-powered passenger car in the 1930s but with having invented the automobile as we more or less know it in 1886.  In the U.S. in recent years, diesels have remained solely in the domain of the Germans, while others automakers experiment with hybrids and electric vehicles.

Mercedes’ diesel offspring have done it proud.  It’s not uncommon to see a W123 240D or 300D still on the road, even though the last one was produced over 25 years ago.  The resale value of diesels remains high and that is reflected in the very high residual value of the car for leasing customers.

Mercedes-Benz is currently tied with Volkswagen for offering the most diesel models in the U.S. (each has five). The E350 BlueTec model was added to the list of available E-Klasse models in the U.S. last year, rounding out the automaker’s U.S. diesel lineup with a four-door sedan.  A second four-door sedan, the larger S350 BlueTec , is first going on sale now at dealerships and was recently in our short-term test fleet.

The 2011 E350 BlueTec sedan was completely new for 2010 and it is a standard E350 sedan in every regard save one: the engine.E350 BTEC engine  Compared to the petrol version, the E350 BlueTec comes with a smaller V-6 3.0-liter 72° engine, which powered an earlier E-Class in the U.S., the 2006 E320 diesel. Today that engine is fitted with Mercedes’ AdBlue urea-injection system that scrubs the exhaust, eliminating almost all of its NOx emissions and making the car legal in all 50 states.

The diesel engine does, however, make a world of difference.  While the diesel only produces 210 hp, it does produce 400 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 2,400 rpm.  The E350 gasser only manages 258 pound-feet between 2,400 and 5,000 (the diesel tops out at 4500 rpm incidentally, but that’s fairly typical for an oil burner), while the E550’s massive V-8 only manages to produce 391 pound-feet of torque (although this figure will be increased in the 2012 model).

Click here to continue to Page 2 – Driving the E350 BlueTec and the E350’s Interior plus Virtual Drives

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