- Mercedes-Benz projects the diesel-engine variant of the redesigned 2014 E-Class midsize sedan will achieve a 45-mpg highway fuel economy rating.
- The 2014 E250 Bluetec 4Matic goes on sale in September.
- Mercedes' all-new 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel is the first Mercedes-Benz four-cylinder diesel for the U.S. market in almost three decades.
ANN ARBOR, Michigan — The German luxury-vehicle makers do magnificent business with diesel engines in Europe and now they're quickly ratcheting up diesel's profile in the U.S. as aggressive new fuel-economy regulations loom.
The upside for consumers is a raft of new diesel-powered luxury models with potentially game-changing fuel economy — and perhaps precious little sacrifice in on-the-road performance.
Such is the case with Mercedes-Benz's diesel-powered version of the restyled and reengineered 2014 E-Class midsize sedan. The 2014 E250 Bluetec 4Matic, which goes on sale in September, reputedly will deliver a rather stupendous highway fuel economy rating of 45 mpg according to the company's "pretesting." What's more, the E250 Bluetec comes standard with all-wheel drive.
The 2014 E250 Bluetec is fitted with Mercedes' all-new 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel — the first four-cylinder diesel the company has used in the U.S. in nearly 30 years. The new 2.1-liter diesel hit the U.S. with the 2013 GLK250 Bluetec 4Matic, which went on sale last month.
In the GLK250 Bluetec 4Matic, the 2.1-liter turbodiesel develops 200 horsepower and an almost incongruous 369 pound-feet of torque, while offering a fuel economy rating of 24 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg combined; behind it is the company's seven-speed automatic transmission. Those fuel economy figures easily place it at the top of the luxury compact crossover segment, where some competitors fall as much as 10 mpg in arrears to the diesel-engined GLK and the closest challenger is Audi's 2013 Q5 hybrid and its 24/30/26 ratings.
But a 45-mpg highway rating for the diesel-powered 2014 E-Class is even more likely to impact consideration for new-age diesels, as the figure comfortably beats the fuel economy for every other diesel-powered model — most markedly smaller than the midsize E-Class — in the Environmental Protection Agency's current database save one: the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel, which is not yet on sale but already has been certified by the EPA at 46 mpg on the highway.
The 2.1-liter diesel four-cylinder as used in the E250 Bluetec 4Matic makes 195 hp, 5 hp less than in the GLK, but torque is the same at 369 lb-ft, which peaks from 1,600-1,800 rpm. The torque figure is a substantial 96 lb-ft healthier than the gasoline 3.5-liter V6 used in the 2014 E-Class.
Although Mercedes-Benz has yet to establish the official rating, at its projected 45 mpg on the highway, the 2014 E250 Bluetec 4Matic beats the 2.0-liter diesel 2013 Volkswagen Passat (43 mpg highway) and 2013 Jetta (42 mpg highway) and any number of smaller diesel-engine models, as well as most hybrids except for the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrids.
When it goes on sale in September, the 2014 E250 Bluetec will replace the 2013 E350 Bluetec, which uses a 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel that develops just 6 hp and 31 lb-ft of torque more than the new 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel. And at fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, the outgoing diesel V6 is markedly less efficient than its four-cylinder replacement.
Edmunds says: Big torque and a fat 45-mpg highway rating might help put the diesel engine on the map for an increasing number of luxury-car buyers.