Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec Test Drive and Report: The Road to Kennebunkport

By Christian Stampfer on 1 November 2011
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Situated along the Kennebunk River, the city of Kennebunkport is a small town just one mile away from the Atlantic Ocean. Although the city is home to only 3,474 inhabitants, it is particularly well known because of one resident, former president George H. W. Bush, who had chosen Kennebunkport for his primary summer residence. Many tourists choose Kennebunkport as a place to spend their vacation and to relax on the beach.

For the first U.S. road trip with the Diesel Driver’s new long-term test auto, the 2011 Mercedes-Benz E350 BlueTec, TDD Editor Jonathan Spira and I planned a trip to all states in New England, except for Rhode Island. Our first destination was Kennebunkport, where we stayed at the Hidden Pond Resort.

After several drives in Europe, the Mercedes already had 1585 km (985 miles) on the clock. The overall fuel economy after our drive to Maastricht was 7.4 l/100 km (31.78 mpg). Since the break-in period of the car was over, we expected slightly better fuel economy for this trip than we had seen in the past.

Our drive to Kennebunkport started the day after I arrived from Munich in New York. The weather forecast sounded great and we were able to enjoy the famous and beautiful fall foliage of the region.

We crossed the East River and left New York via the Throgs Neck Bridge, a suspension bridge connecting the mainland with Long Island and started our drive towards Maine on the New England Thruway, better known as Interstate 95. Near Port Chester we crossed the state border into Connecticut. After a drive of 66 miles (106 km) where we experienced quite a lot of traffic, we followed I-91 in New Haven in a northerly direction towards Hartford. (Had we continued on I-95 we would not have avoided passing through Rhode Island and the overall drive would have taken more time.) We exited the Interstate at Exit 16 because it was time for a break and a driver change, so I switched seats with Jonathan, who had driven the first leg of our journey.

For the next part of the drive to Kennebunkport, I got to know a bit about the American way of driving and found many drivers passing cars and trucks on the right (something which is strictly prohibited on the German Autobahn). The six-cylinder diesel engine of our E350 with its massive 400 pound-feet of torque made it very easy to pass slower traffic regardless of lane.

We continued on I-95, connecting to Interstate 84 and Interstate 90, entered Massachusetts and switched onto the I-290 near Worcester and I-495 near Marlborough. After a short drive through New Hampshire, we reached Maine and stopped at the Visitor Center in Kittery.

Click here to continue to Page 2 – The Drive Along US-1 and Virtual Drives

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