Mercedes-Benz Doubles Down On Diesels For U.S.

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Mercedes-Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid sedan

Mercedes-Benz E300 Bluetec Hybrid sedan

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Several automakers are finally realising that customers in the U.S. are warming to diesel--and Mercedes-Benz is one of those ready to bring even more models to North America.

The E-Class executive sedan and ML SUV are the latest to be granted diesel options.

Both, as you may be aware, are already offered as diesels--but as Car and Driver reports (via Motor Authority), each car is set to get a new four-cylinder unit, rather than the current six-cylinder units.

To many that may sound like a step down, but Mercedes is a master of diesel engines and the 2.1-liter 4-cylinder engines will still deliver Mercedes levels of refinement. It's the same engine found in the Europe-only E300 Hybrid, and we found it near-silent in that application.

Performance is important to modern diesel buyers too. So while output does drop from the current V-6 diesels' 210-horsepower and 400 lbs-ft of torque, the fall isn't far--the BlueTEC fours will make 190-hp and 369 lbs-ft.

The real benefit will be economy. On the European cycle, the E250 CDI diesel is 15 percent more efficient than the larger E350 CDI. If the U.S. versions perform similarly, economy could jump from 25 mpg in the current car to 28-29 mpg, and highway mileage could increase to 37 mpg, from 32 in the E350.

Those numbers may vary however, as the E250 BlueTEC will be all-wheel drive, which should at least make the car a popular choice in snow belt states.

The two models will join the smaller 2013 GLK crossover in offering the 2.1-liter unit. The new models will appear for the 2014 model year.

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