Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mercedes-Benz to Bring 4-Cylinder Diesels to the U.S.?

Would a Mercedes-Benz luxury car that gets 44 miles a gallon interest you? Would your interest be tempered at all to know that car is powered by a 4-cylinder engine?

Those are the questions Mercedes-Benz would like to have answered before it decides whether to bring cars with that engine to North America. So, at the 2009 New York auto show, Mercedes is showing what it calls the Vision E250 BlueTEC concept.

Mercedes-Benz Vision E250 BlueTEC concept
Chris McGrath/Getty Images Dianne Reeves sang as the Mercedes-Benz Vision E250 BlueTEC concept was introduced.

“This is the world’s cleanest and most fuel-efficient luxury sedan,” said Klaus Maier, the Mercedes-Benz executive vice president who introduced it. “It has fantastic fuel economy of up to 44 miles a gallon, and it would be ready to run in all 50 U.S. states.”

The 2.2-liter diesel gets a boost from a two-stage turbocharger and direct fuel injection and is clean enough to meet emissions standards that won’t be in effect until 2014.

“In Europe, the press calls it the ‘wonder diesel,’” said Dr. Maier. “Besides clean, efficient operation, it also offers 6-cylinderlike smoothness and power.”

And its fuel economy is almost double that of a V-6.

New York is an important market for Mercedes-Benz, and the auto show here, which annually announces attendance in excess of one million people, is a prime location for getting feedback.

“We would like to see if people would accept a 4-cylinder engine in a luxury car,” said Geoff Day, a spokesman for Mercedes-Benz U.S.A. “It doesn’t have to be in an E-Class, of course. A C-Class or a GLK could be more likely choices for America.”

If the response here is positive enough, the engine could be made available for United States certification quite quickly, Mr. Day added. Sales would not be far off.

Original here

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