Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec 18-Month Review and Report

By Jonathan Spira on 15 May 2013
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Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec

Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec

The 18-month mark of a long-term test car is a bittersweet moment.  In one respect, we’ve gotten to know the car really well over the past year and a half.  On the other hand, we know its time with us is coming to a close.

Our 2011 Palladium Silver Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec sedan recently hit that mark and it still feels brand new to me, as if it were just yesterday that I was at the Mercedes-Benz Kundenzentrum in Sindelfingen picking it up. (Sindelfingen is a town near Stuttgart and the site of the automaker’s assembly plant.)

Since that day, the E350 has gotten around quite a bit.  It’s only been in three countries (Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S. but has made it to many cities in those countries.

Fuel economy started off with excellent numbers on its maiden voyage, Sindelfingen to Maastricht, 7.4 l/100 km (31.78 mpg).  Once the Benz arrived in the U.S., we took it on a 9-state tour plus the District of Columbia, covering 2,508 kilometers (1,559 miles). In the 35 hours of actual driving over that two-week period, the E350 BlueTec attained 6.7 l/100 km (35.1 mpg).  The tour covered Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.  The drive also included the steep ascent up Mount Washington in New Hampshire.

THE MERCEDES-BENZ E350’S ENGINE

DSC_0075Mercedes-Benz is credited not only with having invented the passenger car over 125 years ago but also the diesel-powered passenger car in the 1930s.  While diesels represent as much as 50% of new-car registrations in Germany and the United Kingdom, the percentage in the U.S. is tiny.  Diesel-powered automobiles in the U.S. have remained solely in the domain of the Germans in recent years (think Audi, BMW, Porsche, and Volkswagen, not to mention Mercedes-Benz) although 2013 will see offerings by U.S. automakers (Chevrolet Cruze, Jeep Grand Cherokee) and the Japanese (Mazda Mazda6 Skyactiv-D).

Mercedes-Benz added the E350 BlueTec to its U.S. roster in 2010 (for 2014, the E350 BlueTec is being replaced by the E250 BlueTec, with a freshened-up body style).

The E350 BlueTec is a standard E350 sedan in every regard save one: the engine.  Compared to the gasoline variant, it comes with a smaller V-6 3.0-liter 72° engine.  This engine also appeared in 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 petrol model ekes out 258 pound-feet between 2,400 and 5,000 (the diesel tops out at 4500 rpm), and, until recently, the diesel beat the E550’s massive V-8, which last year received an increase from 391 pound-feet of torque to 443, perhaps to avoid diesel envy.

Click here to continue to Page 2Driving the Mercedes E350 BlueTec, Safety Features, and Virtual Tour

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