2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec Diesel Review and First Look

By Jonathan Spira on 8 November 2010
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Mercedes-Benz invented the diesel-powered passenger auto in the 1930s (as well as the passenger car itself a few decades earlier) and some of the Mercedes diesels sold in the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s, such as the 240D, are still on the road.  Indeed, some have reached several hundred thousand miles, a testament to the quality and durability of the design.  There’s a reason German taxi drivers (among others across the globe) tend to favor Mercedes diesel sedans and this is it.

After an absence from the market of several years, Mercedes-Benz is reintroducing a diesel sedan in its U.S. lineup. For the past few years, the automaker has only offered diesel enthusiasts a choice of two SUVs, the ML350 BlueTec and the GL350 BlueTec.  The new Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec sedan is a 50-state diesel, meaning it meets emissions requirements in all 50 states by injecting AdBlue (urea) into the exhaust, which renders Nox harmless.

The E350 BlueTec comes in the E-Class body that was completely redesigned for 2010.  The crisp and elegant styling makes for a great looking car and the design idiom is clearly meant for the second decade of the twentieth century.

Solid and firm, the E350 BlueTec is a standard E350 sedan in every regard save one: the engine.  The E350 BlueTec comes with a smaller V-6 3.0-liter 72° engine, as opposed to the 3.5-liter 90° V-6 that comes with the petrol version.

The engine  however, does make a world of difference.  While the diesel only produces 210 hp, it carries a big stick, namely 400 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 2,400 rpm.  The gasser only manages 258 pound-feet between 2400 and 5000 (incidentally, the diesel tops out at 4500 rpm, but that’s fairly typical for an oil burner).  For the sake of comparison, the Mercedes-Benz E550’s massive V-8 only manages to produce a rating of 391 pound-feet.

Despite the massive torque, acceleration is not the car’s strong point. While it’s no slouch, and Mercedes publishes a 0-60 figure of 6.6 seconds (compared to the petrol E350’s 6.5 seconds), the latter feels faster, which is not the way it should be with all that torque under the hood.  In part, this could be due to the extra 200+ pounds that the diesel carries around, thanks to the extra equipment required for the exhaust system.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – Fuel Economy and Performance

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