Despite more stringent diesel emission regulations that go into effect in 2007, Mercedes-Benz will introduce a new diesel version of the E320 diesel this fall. Dubbed the E320 BlueTec, the new Mercedes sedan is powered by a squeaky clean diesel engine that will be available in all 50 states and should provide mileage well in excess of 30 mpg. The 3.0-liter V-6 makes 221 horsepower and gets a sophisticated particulate filter which will allow it to pass emission requirements. The E320 BlueTec will be followed by an ML320 BlueTec, a GL320 BlueTec, and a Jeep Grand Cherokee BlueTec.
With the advent of common-rail direct fuel injection and four-valve cylinder heads in 1997, much of the clatter and smoke of older diesels was replaced with cleaner exhaust, more refined operation, and boosted power and torque ratings. Despite this upgrade, however, diesel engines have been unable to pass the most recent emissions regulations in the Northeastern U.S. and California. Bluetec technology will allow diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz products to be sold in those regions starting in the fall of 2006, and will meet the most stringest regulations worldwide through the end of the decade.
Bluetec arrives first under the hood of the 2007 Mercedes E-Class, but will be added to the company’s three SUVs shortly thereafter. The production version of the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec blends one of the nicest luxury sedans on the market with a 35-mpg highway fuel economy rating and the torque of a V8 engine. But the best news is that when the E320 Bluetec hits the road, it will do so in California and New England, regions of the U.S. that are currently verboten to turbodiesel engines in passenger cars.