Mercedes-Benz continued its diesel initiatives in the US with the presentation of the Vision GL420 at the recent Detroit Motor Show.
With its powerful V8 diesel engine, which develops 290hp and a massive 700Nm (515 lb-ft) of torque, the Vision GL420 Bluetec offers the very highest level of performance. Yet this same compression-ignition engine complies with the stringent US BIN 5 emissions standard, just 9.8 liters per hundred kilometers.
These impressive figures underline yet again that Bluetec vehicles are ideally suited to the American market where strong customer demand (especially in the SUV segment) for vehicles with torquey, large-displacement engines is coupled with the need to comply with stringent exhaust-emission regulations. Furthermore, higher fuel prices mean that models with better fuel economy are becoming increasingly popular.
WHAT IS BLUETEC?
Bluetec is a modular emissions control system that reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels in particular. These are the only exhaust components from diesel engines which, as a result of the constraints inherent in the diesel combustion process, still exceed the levels generated by gasoline engines.
Mercedes-Benz has developed two versions of Bluetec: in the E-Class an oxidation-type catalytic converter and particulate filter are combined with an improved, extremely durable NOx storage catalytic converter and an additional SCR catalytic converter. The second Bluetec version is even more efficient. Here, AdBlue, a non-toxic aqueous solution, is injected into the exhaust gas flow and allows the downstream SCR unit to convert up to 80 percent of the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water.
##### ULTRA LOW-SULFUR DIESEL FUEL
In order to be wholly effective, Bluetec technology for passenger cars and light trucks requires ultra low-sulfur diesel with a sulfur content of less than 15 ppm. This clean fuel, which became available in the US in fall 2006, immediately reduces the emissions from all diesel engines currently on the market and so plays an important role in cutting emission levels in general.
SYSTEMATIC EXPANSION OF THE BLUETEC MODEL RANGE
The latest JD Power study ‘Global Outlook For Diesel's forecasts that diesels will account for more than 15 percent of new registrations in North America by 2015. Therefore, Mercedes-Benz aims to systematically expand its Bluetec range.
The company has announced that it intends to offer three further Bluetec models in the R-, ML- and GL-Class, meeting the even more stringent BIN 5 standard, in the US as early as 2008. However, Bluetec vehicles are not just the cleanest diesel models in the world. They also consume 20 to 40 percent less fuel than comparable vehicles with spark-ignition engines.
With the innovative modular Bluetec technology package, Mercedes-Benz is turning the diesel engine into a high-tech drive unit with the potential to satisfy the most stringent exhaust emission limits in all 50 US states and around the world too. With Bluetec, the particularly economical Mercedes-Benz CDI vehicles also become the cleanest diesel vehicles in the world in every class and consume 20 to 40 percent less fuel than comparable vehicles with spark-ignition engines.
The E320 Bluetec, the first series-production vehicle to feature this technology in the North American market, has been on sale since fall 2006. It is the first and only diesel vehicle in the world which is already able to better the US BIN 8 exhaust emissions standard, which is extremely stringent – particularly with regard to nitrogen oxide emissions. With fuel consumption of up to 12.2kpl in the highway driving cycle, the E320 Bluetec, which is on sale in the US (45 states) and Canada, uses some 30 percent less fuel than comparable vehicles with gasoline engines.
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