By on December 21, 2006

front-again.jpgA few years ago, I found myself comfortably ensconced in the back seat of a German taxicab. I was luxuriating in what I thought was leather (it was MB Tex, the convincing faux hide) when the driver cranked-up the engine. Smoke and stench poured from the Mercedes’ diesel engine. I scoffed– until the driver blew straight through 180kph on the autobahn to Munich. Even from the passenger seat, the torque was more intoxicating than the exhaust wafting in through the window. I was hooked.

In 2005, dodging the arcane emissions rules of my home state of California, I became the fortunate owner of a used Mercedes E320 CDI (as they were then known). I loved the linearity of the sedan’s acceleration; it was as though the electronic throttle was hardwired to my brain. In 22k miles of ownership, I averaged 34 miles per gallon and enjoyed a nearly 700 mile range per tank. When I sold my Merc, it retained 85% of its value. I went from hooked to smitten.

side2.jpgAlas, my fellow Americans don’t share my enthusiasm for automotive oil burners. Perhaps they can’t shake the memories of being stuck behind a sloth-like diesel Caddy during the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, inhaling clouds of noxious particulates, listening to an endless mechanical clatter. To combat PDESD (Post Diesel Eldorado Stress Disorder), the clever folks at Mercedes have finally imported a quiet, clean-burning, California-compliant diesel engine that will increase American automotive fuel efficiency AND torque the torque.

Get this: it’s not a diesel. It’s a BlueTec! Yes, all the new Mercedes engine needs is a cute little blue logo to confuse consumers into thinking that their vehicle is motivated by some new hybrid-like technology– rather than a 100 year plus diesel design. Meanwhile, you can bet that Mercedes is in touch with Blue Man Productions for some incredibly clever ad campaign. The fact that Mercedes, VW and Audi will all use the same BlueTec branding simply seals the deal. Anyway…

engine.jpgInstalled in the E320, Ye Olde BlueTec converts up to 80 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions into nitrogen and water. When juiced with ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel, the BlueTec produces 97 percent lower emissions than the last generation CDI diesel engine. Needless to say, this isn’t clean enough for California’s tailpipe police. For these low CARB policy makers, Mercedes has developed an additional, urea-based exhaust treatment system, set for launch in March of 2007.

When you fire up the new Blue (sans glow plug), its bucket of bolts soundtrack certainly won’t be mistaken for a purring HEMI. Standing behind the E320 BlueTec as it revved, the sound didn’t touch the parts of my brain labeled AMG. But there was no noticeable diesel odor. One casual observer claimed she actually enjoyed eau de BlueTec; but then I’ve seen people snorting hi-test down at my local Shell station.

interior.jpgOnce underway, the E320 BlueTec pleases everyman and enthusiast alike. The turbocharged BlueTec powerplant is a typical oil burner: short on horses (208hp @ 3800rpm) but big on twist (388ft.-lbs. of torque @ 1600rpm). That’s fifty percent more torque than the gas-powered E350 or, more interestingly, roughly the same torque as an E550– delivered nearly 1000rpm lower in the rev range. No surprise then that the E320B pulls to 60mph in a completely satisfying 6.6 seconds AND provides far more on-demand driving pleasure than its petrol-powered cousin.

The switch to Merc’s silken seven-speed transmission helps make the E320B an oxymoronic wunderkind: an economy-minded bahnstormer. I hit 120mph without any undue stress. At the same time, due to the low axle ratio, I cruised at 80mph with just 2100rpmon the clock. And the winner is… 34mpg in mixed use. A hybrid gets better mileage, but what pistonhead wouldn’t trade a handful of efficiency for massive thrust?

front1.jpgWhat’s more, Mercedes has improved the previous oil burning E’s brake feel and added a quicker steering ratio. Unfortunately, while you can add satellite radio, keyless-go and a digital surround-sound music system, you can’t order an E320 BlueTec with Airmatic suspension or proper wheels/tires/brakes. In fact, the E320B sits on the same steely suspension, 16” wheels and all-season rubber as its German taxi counterpart. The hard-riding E320 BlueTec doesn’t feel comfortable during enthusiastic maneuvers. Turn-in is sloppy, grip is iffy and mid-corner bumps are deeply unsettling.

It’s an unconscionable compromise. To gain widespread domestic acceptance, diesel cars need to capture the hearts of America’s automotive alphas. Pistonheads will not be well pleased with the $52k E320 BlueTec’s handling– unless Mercedes develops a proper sport package. If they do, this could be the breakout vehicle that opens the floodgates for The Next Big Thing. If not that, then maybe it’ll be the ML320 BlueTec, the GL320 BlueTec or (if Mercedes realizes that sharing is caring) the Jeep Grand Cherokee BlueTec. Or… a taxi.

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97 Comments on “Mercedes E320 BlueTec Review...”


  • avatar

    I’m not interested in buying a Merc, but I might consider a diesel somewhere down the road, especially if the thing can do 30mpg+ and still go 0-60 in under 7 seconds. It is hard to argue with those numbers! That $52k price tag is more or less ridiculous, considering the brand’s fall from the quality penthouse, but there will always be Americans willing pay a premium for a cleverly marketed taxi. Subaru is supposed to have its own turbo-diesel coming in the next couple of years…a 30mpg STi sounds mighty tasty to me.

  • avatar
    doch

    Sounds nice. I’ll wait for the BMW 335 twin turbo diesel, though – I know that won’t handle like a taxi.

    It looks like every manufacturer will have a full line up of diesels soon. It actually makes sense as oposed to current hybrids – which really can’t justify themselves financially. At least diesels make plenty of power, won’t cost much more, will last longer and as a result hold their value better. As long as these Bluetec engines don’t have some early quality problems and get a bad rep, this will likely be the wave of the future.

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    When they are sold here with cloth seats, roll up windows and MB Tex seat covers with a price less than $35,000, then and only then will they have a diesel worth buying. Until then it doesn’t make economic sense.

    If I want a good taxi I will buy a Ford Crown Victoria. Do the numbers, a $52,000 taxi is ridiculous.

    As for the Hybrid(Civic or Prius) it barely makes economic sense and thats with a $3,500 tax credit. As long as we can buy under $20,000 cars and gas is less than $6 per gallon a diesel is a novelty.

  • avatar
    whippersnapper

    Modern diesels make intellectual sense (much more so than hybrids) and are far better than anything we can recall from our youth, but they simply don’t meet the emotional needs of a registered enthusiast. We’re not called “petrol” heads for nothing!

    I know my 3 liter BMW six is merely all talk in the torque department but I am not driven to give up its sonorous wail anytime soon for a bit of shove and clatter.

  • avatar
    virages

    Good to hear a glowing (pun intended) report on the BlueTec. I am kinda baffled about the marketing name for these deisels though. What image am I supposed to make with BlueTec. It sounds old to me. Like blue smog, or some kind of Jazz technology.

    Anyway that isn’t here nor there. This technology will be a perfect match for the american public and should be a good motor technology for those oversized SUVs. More torque than power, and fuel savings to boot. However, these things are certainly more expensive than your big volume pushrod v6’s or v8’s, but should at least give some good grunt.

  • avatar
    Sid Vicious

    The dawning of the age of diesel may be upon us in the US. It won’t be for everybody and will probably never achieve the market penetration it has in Europe, but it will likley be a significant piece of the motivation pie.

    The Bluetec seems like good technology, but in true German fashion it’s probably a little more complex then it needs to be. Having to fill a tank with urea on a regular basis is going to be a problem. That and it’s initial placement in mid-level Merc’s may limit it’s penetration. We’ll see what happens when the VW’s hit the street. Honda’s advertised solution to the emissions problem seems WAY more elegant.

    FWIW my 81 Caddy only smokes when I want it to – a smoky middle finger to the tailgaters. Max fuel screw turned up, floored to the rev-limiter in 3rd gear. In normal driving there’s zero smoke. That’s the beauty of the diesel – because they run lean (oxygen rich) as part of their nature, they’re super efficient unless you really put your foot in it. Maybe all those cars in the 70’s and early 80’s were just never tuned right. I don’t think many people knew how to tune them at all.

  • avatar
    ash78

    My first question is “can those of us not living in the five American nanny states remove the urea filtration system?” ;)

    I have been fascinated with this car for the past three years. Despite my best efforts to get my father-in-law to join the dark side when he was shopping new Mercs, he ended up with a new E350 sport package. Nice car, and really good highway mileage for its size and displacement…but it’s no 40+mpg. IMO, driving a diesel is not about price sensitivity to gasoline–that’s just an external benefit. It’s more about reducing total consumption and helping become an opinion-maker in your peer group.

    The great news is that people in my age bracket (say, under 35) have little to no recollection of the attempts by the Big 3 to sell us diesels after the oil crises. Sure, we know about the old, slow Merc diesel wagons that all the hippies and middle-aged college professors love, but anyone who spends 10 seconds reviewing the Bluetec knows this is a world of difference.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Nice article, I’m drooling… I’m a diesel enthusiast. I’ve been driving VW diesels since 1998. First an ’85 Jetta – no turbo. Not much fun on the highway, but it was peppy in the city. Then I moved to an ’89 Jetta Turbodiesel. That was a lot more fun, and it even had A/C.
    Now I’m driving a 2003 Jetta TDI. The TDI is like night and day compared to the older IDI engines. Even though it only does 90 hp, it will pull all the way up to at least 95 mph, and you can still go faster if there’s enough road. The Bluetec is the next evolution, and it sounds really promising for North America. I’m hoping VW puts their 2.0 litre Bluetec engine in a Golf, and prices it right. (Under $20000 US). If they do that, they should have people lining up…until they find out about the stealership service departments and their cluelessness when it comes to TDIs.
    I’m sure the new Mercedes diesels are very nice, but most people won’t ever be able to afford one. If Honda comes out with what they claim to have – a system that doesn’t need urea – Honda will probably have an even bigger line up at the dealerships.

    So are GM and Ford working on clean diesels for passenger cars and light trucks in NA? I’m guessing that they’ll put them in the trucks and just forget the car market. After all, who wants to buy a car that can get better than 40 MPG? That’s crazy talk. (My Jetta averages upper 40s if I drive it like I stole it. Low 50s if I drive it sanely.)

  • avatar
    tom

    This is a great engine. In Europe you can get it in almost any DCX car, for example in the Chrysler 300, where it also makes a lot of sense.

    They should really launch this engine on a larger scale in the States.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    or (if Mercedes realizes that sharing is caring) the Jeep Grand Cherokee BlueTec.

    DCX, forget the Grand for now and make a Jeep Wrangler BlueTec. Mondo torque for off road. It would be so much better than the new torque-wimpy V6 they are putting in the new Wranglers.

  • avatar
    whippersnapper

    to brettc:

    Shame on you, using diesel and enthusiast so closed to each other! The attribute fuel economy should not be that important to anyone that they have to put up with the start-up clatter, the soulless sound track and the low rev limit of diesels. Unless you are doing mega miles, add up the $ saving for having to make such a sacrifice. It isn’t worth it. I’d hate myself every time I slipped behind the wheel for being so inauthentic (in the Satre sense)

  • avatar
    ash78

    A powerplant is what it is, a source of power. We only attribute a lust for their sound and feel to them because of our longstanding habits. If diesel were the norm, maybe we’d be complaining about gas engines, what with their peakiness and lack of low-end grunt. And how can you even tell that they’re even running at idle, you can’t even hear them?! It’s all perspective.

  • avatar

    Two questions.

    1) How readily available is ultra-low sulphur diesel across North America ?

    2) How much is the AddBlue additive and how often does it have to be added?

  • avatar
    durailer

    Great review…

    Funny, if this BlueTec branding catches on, and the big 2.5 sign up (seeing as how they can’t resist a convoluded ad campaign) a new wave of diesel engines might prolong America’s love affair with the SUV.

    Anyhow, if you ask me, anything that hauls should be a diesel.
    When will the big 2.5 come to this realization?

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    If I had the bucks, id buy one of these things in a New York minute – I rented a 300CDI a few years ago and found it wonderfull. It carted four of us and our luggage around in supreme comfort for weeks, using so little fuel, i thought that the fuel gauge was broken! No shortage of power ever – smooth delovery – if this one is even batter i am also in love.

    But I aint got the bucks, so I will wait for VW, or maybe BMW to do this dance for me at a price i can get to! I cant wait! I want a VW golf deisel with little more uumph in it, and sporting asperations… i.e – tight suspension and steering – maybe lowered with fatt tires….

  • avatar

    So they haven’t fixed the handling? I test drove the old E320 CDI with a friend, and he likened the handling to that of an old Lincoln Town Car. The gas-powered E handles quite a bit better. What’s the reason? The extra weight on the nose? I honestly don’t know.

    The low-end torque was very impressive. Diesels are perfectly suited to American tastes in this regard.

    I personally don’t buy the diesel stigma. I think that if more cars were available with diesels then a significant number of people would buy them. A Honda or Toyota diesel would sell especially well, as people wouldn’t be concerned about their reliability.

    Real-world fuel economy information:

    http://www.truedelta.com/fuel_economy.php

    Alas, just one tank so far for the E320, and that one for the old CDI.

  • avatar
    whippersnapper

    ash78 – I reject the argument that we’ve trained ourselves to like the sound of a Ferrari V12 soaring through the rev range whereas a Jeep Liberty 3.7l six sounds like some bolts were left over when the engine was assembled. An audi V6 TDI sounds much nicer.

    If you look into the physics of sounds there are reasons why some sounds are pleasing to our ears and others aren’t and it simply isn’t due to learned behavior.

    Mind you, if you do have a method to re-train people to believe that a Hyundai sounds as good as a Ferrari I’m more than happy to help you monetize it

  • avatar
    ash78

    whippersnapper
    I suppose there are audiological reasons for certain sounds to be more pleasing, but I still think that on the whole, it’s more a matter of acceptance and acclimation. A 4-cylinder tdi sounds a little odd at idle, while I agree the sixes are much better (I’ve only heard a few of them, mostly in Europe, naturally). Remember, too, that Ferrari, Porsche, Harley, you name it–they spend loads of cash tweaking their sound to create an emotional experience, while diesel is still considered “the practical choice” for most of the world. Maybe with some more exhaust tweaking, we could find a sound everyone could agree on.

    There’s something about that whistling turbodiesel windup that just does something for me. It’s an acquired taste, I guess. I also think big rigs and full-size pickups at idle sound cool, so I guess I’m weird.

  • avatar
    tom

    whippersnapper:

    I’ve actually heard an BMW sound engineer recently. One example he told us was that BMW (and everybody else) simulates the sound of misfires in their sports cars because people expect those sounds when they lift their foot. EVen though modern engines never misfire, people still expect that because they were used to hear them in their 1960s and 1970s sports cars.

  • avatar
    MW

    I’m hoping VW puts their 2.0 litre Bluetec engine in a Golf, and prices it right.

    I’d love that! In fact, I almost bought the last generation Golf diesel, but by the time I added the costs for the 4-door model, which required a luxury package, and the sunroof, which required another luxury package, I was looking at … a $22K economy car, at a time when you could get a nicely-equipped Ford Focus out the door for about $14K. Sure, the Golf was a nicer car, but not that much nicer. Based on VW’s inability to price things competitively, I’m much more hopeful for Honda’s upcoming diesel Accord.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    MW:

    yes, a diesel accord would be GREAT!

  • avatar
    finger

    I like the idea of diesel power. I recently was a passenger in a WW oil burner and I commented to the driver that it was a nice car and also pretty quick. When he told me that it was a diesel, I couldn’t believe it. As I understand it, new diesel fuel is at the pumps right now- side by side with older diesel. I also heard that this “new” diesel does not properly lubricate internals of 2006 and prior diesels. The hope is that by the time “old” diesel is no longer available, “new” diesel will have proper additives to comply with older diesel motors.

  • avatar
    finger

    I don’t think GM or Ford are investing in diesel technology (for cars).

  • avatar
    virages

    finger Sure GM and Ford have investments in diesel technology… but it is mostly kept safe in european hands like Opel or Ford Europe.

  • avatar
    tom

    I also heard that this “new” diesel does not properly lubricate internals of 2006 and prior diesels.

    I’m not an expert here, but I doubt that. If you look at Europe, there are the newest BlueTec Diesel, side by side with 30 year old oil burners and they all use the same low sulfur diesel without any problems.

  • avatar
    Sajeev Mehta

    Yes, you can use the new diesel on older models. There is an additive for older motors, if needed.

    I drove last year’s CDI model and found the ride quite nice and the handling good for a luxury car that has zero sporting intentions. The torque was thrilling.

    The BlueTec really needs an AMG style package: for suspension tuning, more aggressive wheel/tire package. The airmatic suspension would also be a nice option.

    I really liked the CDI I drove, but I still can’t get into Mercedes Diesels. Saving money at fill ups isn’t a big deal when you already shelled out $50k-63k to buy it. That, and the diesel clattering got old; you always hear it.

  • avatar
    matt.treiber

    I picked up a 20 year old diesel Benz (300 TDT) back in August and I absolutely love it. It’s different and if I drink enough hippy juice I can convert it over WVO or SVO. Though being in Minnesota makes that far more complicated in the winter.

    Every gas station that has diesel has the new

  • avatar
    bfg9k

    Honda has announced they will bring a diesel engine to the Accord in the next few years, and will use a V6 diesel in their larger models.

    As soon as a V6 diesel Odyssey is available, I will buy a new car for the first time in my life…

  • avatar
    ash78

    I rode in the Euro Accord (Acura TSX) diesel last summer. Absolutely awesome. Honda has their act together, they just need to hurry up over here. No urea needed, 50-state ready!

    I was convinced that DCX was going to hit a home run being one of the first-to-market with passenger car diesels here, but with the only slated launch being a fuel-hogging Grand Cherokee cdi, I’ve changed my opinion of them. That, plus the Sebring, I’m selling my DCX stock! The Germans could sell the Bluetecs in the US-brand lineups a lot better than their current halfhearted attempts. As another poster commented, it’s not Chrysler suicide watch, it’s homicide watch.

  • avatar
    finger

    With the new emission restrictions on diesels, supposedly the exhaust coming out is nearly as clean as the air going in! Or so they say. Duramax diesels for 2007 (2007i) use a particulate filter mounted in the exhaust system. They accumulate particulates and periodically super heat and burn them off) They are projected to have a life of 150,000 miles. Oh, they also add $3,000 and more to the price of a new diesel.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I don’t particularly dislike diesels, but it can appear to a casual observer that diesel is more of a religious faith than it is just another alternative. The fact that it seems to have developed a cult following that would make a Scientologist nervous does make me hesitant to ride the coattails of what could be the automotive equivalent of Dianetics….

    Let’s remember that a lot of that thrust is coming from the turbocharger, not so much from the engine. Put a normally aspirated oil burner side by side with a gas motor of equal displacement, and the gas motor will likely have a horsepower advantage of perhaps 30-50%. And that gas engine will produce less particulate matter, and will do so with a lot less rattle-and-hum (apologies to Bono notwithstanding.)

    I also don’t comprehend the diesel-hybrid dichotomy that invariably arises in these discussions. You could build a diesel motor with a hybrid system, which would allow the owner to achieve greater fuel economy, while getting membership privileges into two automotive religions all at the same time. Say Hallelujah!

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Jay,
    Great review. Nice engine, but I have to wonder if the Germans will continue to get away with 7 year cycle times.

    Sajeev,
    Think down the road. $50K *is* ridiculous for an economical midsize sedan, but in 5 years, you’ll pick up a used one in the low 20’s and with plenty of life left in it.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    Pch101:
    The issue with diesel-electric hybrids is one of cost. Right now, the additional manufacturing cost of a hybrid vs. conventional ICE is around $5K. A diesel that meets the new American Bin5 regulations has a similar cost disadvantage to gas. Not many people would pay an extra $7-10K for the priviledge of saving $500 a year.

  • avatar
    mikey

    With out glow plugs and the block heater not plugged in will it start at -25 f

  • avatar
    Pch101

    The issue with diesel-electric hybrids is one of cost.

    Not really the issue if the automaker sees the opportunity to build a market. Toyota advanced the hybrids in order to gain a marketing and market share advantage, with the expectation of amortizing the expense over a long period and generating enough long-term profits to justify that cost.

    Diesel has an uphill battle in the US because Americans don’t like it, and because the fuel is not available at a discount here, as is the case in most of Europe. It promises to be a niche player at best in a market where gas prices are the same and where diesel is less available. (If memory serves, only 20% of US filling stations carry diesel.) If I was an mass-consumer automaker, I wouldn’t be betting on diesel taking a foothold here.

  • avatar
    matt.treiber

    D’oh! My post was cut short.

    Every gas station that has diesel has the new <15ppm ultra low sulpher diesel, at least here in Minnesota. They’ve also inscreased the minimum amount of biodiesel to add back the lubricity lost with the removal of more sulpher. From everything I’ve read there haven’t been any problems and it’s been a smooth transition form the previous 500ppm low sulpher fuel. I certainly haven’t had any problems.

    I just love my old diesel. As long as it’s tuned and everything is working properly I don’t have any black smoke (that I can see in the rear view mirror at least) even under heavy load/acceleration.

    Before I had my glow plugs replaced it was a different story. Plenty of billowing black smoke before she warmed up but now she starts down to single digits without a block heater. I also get 28 mpg in a twenty year old tank of Benz. Granted it drops down to 20mpg when traveling at 85+ but that’s a different story . . .

  • avatar
    ash78

    I’ve never been of the fundamental belief that “diesel vs hybrid” was an either-or proposition; it should be either, or, both, or neither. It’s just painful to see all the R&D and hype being thrown into a very new, somewhat unproven, and questionably cost-effective technology when quality Diesel is ready to go, and capable of virtually all the benefits. But Paris Hilton is famous, for some reason, so nothing shocks me any more when it comes to media attention.

  • avatar
    finger

    Here in NJ, diesel is usually .30 to .40 cents more per gallon than diesel. Take into account a new diesel engine will cost at least $7,500- $8,500 more than a gas engine and it will be quite difficult to justify the cost unless you drive more than 40,000 miles per year.

  • avatar
    rashakor

    Actually this model is no Taxi.
    The E-classes you can see drive and been driven in Europe are generally E200cdi which have a lot less displacement, a lot less oomph, a lot less gadget and cost somewhere around 32000 dollars. It would be not farfetched for Mercedes to offer a c-class at that price point though with a smaller engine to compete with the Accords and Camries of this world.
    Now to the comment of a gasoline vs diesel power vs displacement … Diesel engine are lean engines that virtually are only limited by the engine hability to dissipate heat. The more air and fuel you injected in that engine the more power it will produce until you reach destruction… a Diesel engine properly tuned WILL always beat any gasoline engine of the same displacement … The fact that automakers always tuned the diesel engine for economy and reliability is a very different matter.

  • avatar
    rashakor

    Finger,

    The bluetec only cost 1000 bucks above the E350.

    Your comparison is based on trucks and even there it does not compare the 6000-7000 dollar more expensive diesel engine are also superior in pretty much any specification you may care to look at versus the base gasoline engine. Do you know that a Cumming 7.4L can be tuned to more than a 1000hp and 1000ftlb for around 800 bucks… Try to do that with a gas engine…

    No! Dieselheads are not a new religious group. Their enthusiasm has to do something with reality.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Diesel fuel where I live is only $0.10 or so above premium gas. Long-term (pre-Katrina) it’s usually on par with midgrade gas. There is a lot of regional variation in diesel, for some reason.

  • avatar
    Cavendel

    I have a couple of issues with diesel engines.

    First is the idea that HP is useless and you really drive torque. That might be true if you never get out of first gear, but as soon as a diesel car shifts to second, the torque at the drive wheels plummets. The higher an engine can rev, the longer it can hold a lower gear.

    For relaxed driving with the occasional need for thrust, there is no replacement for displacement or diesel. If you are really into sporty driving, though, horsepower is a good measure of a cars capability. I’ve long thought that we really need a new measure of engine power. This would be the area under the torque curve. Peaky engines would suffer while flat torque curves would benefit. I suggest we call it the Cavendel.

    My other issue is what will happen to the price of diesel if a good percentage of cars begin to use it. I assume that when a load of crude arrives at the refinery, X percentage becomes diesel, Y percentage becomes gasoline and Z becomes a container for my pepsi. Seems to me that we will just be altering the supply/demand scenario.

  • avatar

    I am an auto enthusiast. A second generation car guy. I am the caretaker of a ’65 E-type Jaguar.

    I say the above to establish the credentials.

    I also love Diesel. I’m on my 6th Diesel powered vehicle. I got hooked as a college student driving a VW Rabbit oil-burner. The PERFECT transportation for the road-tripping student. I could drive 1000 miles on a little over $10. (back then Diesel was about .60¢ to .65¢ when gasoline was $1.20)

    The gasoline powered sports car is for weekends, rallies and roadtrips. For day-to-day transportation the choice is Diesel, hands down. My ride these days is a 2002 Jetta TDI. It drives and handles just as good as any gasoline car… it can cruise at autobahn speeds all day long, and get 50 MPG while doing it.

    I started making my own fuel about a year and a half ago, and it is liberating to unshackle myself from the outrageous prices at the pump. I’m spending less for fuel than I did in 1982!

    Diesel is also an excellent lesson in Econ 101. I bought my Jetta in September 2002, and back then there was no demand for oil-burners except from people like me.. long-time users. Back then I could pull off walking onto the lot and finding the Diesel that had been sitting there longest (in my case I bought in September a car that was built in February) and make a seriously lowball offer and drive away happy. I spent $17k in 9/02 to buy this car. Now that America has snapped to attention with regards to Diesel, these same cars new are selling for literally TWICE the price. Diesel cars are not magically more expensive, it is just that they are IN DEMAD right now. Mercedes and VW are the lone suppliers of a hot product and the dealers are milking it for everything they can.

    Why the rest of the manufacturers have allowed the CARB Nazis to scare them away from the Diesel market is beyond me. The profits are ripe for the taking folks.

    Nice review. We need more Diesels.

    As for the doubters, try it before you dismiss it.

    –chuck

    PS: Audi, put a TDI in a TT Roadster? I’ll be your first customer! Ditto Lotus with an Elise. ;)

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I was going to voice my dissent, but then I got to thinking. If we dieselize the entire country, demand for diesel goes up, demand for gasoline goes down, and before you know it, more gas for me, which is wonderful since I am a petrol head.

    Of course, I’ll still have a hard time reconciling with the notion that diesel is cleaner than gasoline, considering they’re still not 50-state legal (and if they are, they won’t be next year when even tougher standards kick into effect).

  • avatar
    finger

    “Do you know that a Cumming 7.4L can be tuned to more than a 1000hp and 1000ftlb for around 800 bucks”

    Yes, I ama aware that horsepower and torque can be increased on a Cummins or most other diesels. It is a software upgrade.

  • avatar
    doctorv8

    Great article, Jay.

    I’m curious as to whether you noticed any differences between the new V6 and the old straight 6 in terms of drivability, sound, or acceleration? Aside from the decreased emissions, they seem pretty similar from a performance/economy perspective.

  • avatar

    Cavendel:
    My other issue is what will happen to the price of diesel if a good percentage of cars begin to use it.

    We’ll be hearing about it on the news when nobody in the NE can afford fuel oil for heat in the winter.

  • avatar
    Jay Shoemaker

    I really did not find much difference between the old straight six and this new V6 diesel aside from the improved exhaust control in the new engine and the smoother delivery of power owed to the new 7 speed transmission.

  • avatar
    marcpunk

    First, the Bluetec is not certified in the 5 states that people complain about so much. We’re sorry for trying to clean up the air for current and future generations to be able to breathe.
    Second, yesterday I saw diesel at 40 cents higher per gallon than regular gas.
    Third, that engine is awfully slow for over $50,000.
    So basically it is expensive, slow, and dirtying the air for the chance to pay extra for the gas that gives you the decent mpg (which is the one good thing)

  • avatar
    ash78

    marcpunk

    What about Diesel’s much lower CO2 emissions compared to gas? While D does create greater particulate emissions that contribute to smog, that is a localized phenomenon. But that is nearly a moot point with the urea filter. CARB apparently seems more concerned with local air than that of the planet (CO2, as more commonly regulated in Euro compliance.)

    Slow? When this car came out alongside the E320 gas, it was actually quicker. Merc quickly brought out the E350 with no change to the cdi version. Obviously there’s marketing at work here.

  • avatar
    Cavendel

    Ash78 Wrote:

    While D does create greater particulate emissions that contribute to smog, that is a localized phenomenon. But that is nearly a moot point with the urea filter

    As long as people replace the Urea when it is used up. Not likely to happen when the car is older and the cost is not covered under any sort of warrantee.

    I’m not against diesels. I just don’t see them as being any sort of environmental savior.

    Production of diesel requires 25% more crude oil than does the production of gasoline. so while the 30% improvement in fuel economy might seem good, it doesn’t help to reduce a countries reliance on foreign oil.

    Diesel engines are also heavier than gasoline engines, and diesel engines cost more to produce than gasoline engines.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Cavendel,

    I particularly liked you power measurement in Cavandels. But I think that might require an understanding of calculus that would confuse an awful lot of people. Great idea, though.

    That’s the first time I’ve heard anyone state that diesel requires more crude to create, so I’m skeptical. I have heard and read, though, that it requires far less cost and energy to refine than gasoline (ie, further up the refinement chain) in addition to the finished product containing more energy. I have no idea how a mass adoption of diesel might affect supply/demand and price, but I’m sure OPEC will keep us by the balls just as they did 25 years ago. But at least the options are open–rapeseed, soybean, peanut (Rudolf’s original intended fuel!).

    I would never call Diesel an environmental panacea, but America’s fuel options definitely need some diversification.

  • avatar
    Luther

    To combat PDESD (Post Diesel Eldorado Stress Disorder)

    There is only one “disease” left to conquer… SHFPDS (Stink Hand from Pumiping Diesel Syndrome).
    (Is there ADA money available for these diseases?)

    I owned a MB 300D which is a cockroach-in-nuclear-winter mobile. I had to turn off the air-conditioner to get the thing to move on a really hot day. Great to see that is no longer a problem.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    the cost of fuel is an issue…. when i was in france, gas was like 35% higher then diesel. here its more expensive. I wonder how that will play out if the costs of operating are about the same during an average year

  • avatar
    Luther

    Have you priced the new-and-improved ULSD ?
    It is still a cost effective alternative though.

  • avatar
    Cavendel

    Ash78, I found two sites that stated that it takes 25% more crude to produce diesel. They did have important sounding names, so I trusted what they said. :)

    here is one site:

    http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/fuel_economy/the-diesel-dilemma.html

    They don’t really say where the numbers come from and I couldn’t back it up with other sites, so maybe you are right.

    As far as knowing calculus to calculate the Cavendel, you’d only need that to actually calcuate the figure. Let an engineer figure that out. How many people actually know how to calculate Horsepower or Torque?

    From a Saturn commercial (I think): “I don’t know what torque is, but I like it!!”

  • avatar
    ash78

    Cavendel,
    I wonder how many people are like “My torque and hp are exactly the same at 5,250 rpm, what is UP with that?”

    Regarding sources…you never know in the Internet age. Everyone has an agenda :D

  • avatar

    From wikipedia:

    “The density of diesel is about 850 grams per liter whereas gasoline (British English: petrol) has a density of about 720 g/l, about 15% less. When burnt, diesel typically releases about 40.9 megajoules (MJ) per liter, whereas gasoline releases 34.8 MJ/L, about 15% less. Diesel is generally simpler to refine than gasoline and often costs less (although price fluctuations sometimes mean that the inverse is true; for example, the cost of diesel traditionally rises during colder months as demand for heating oil, which is refined much the same way, rises).”

  • avatar

    Diesel is ~15% more dense(heavier) than petrol, so yes it does take more crude to make a gallon. But that gallon takes ya 30-40% further. Diesels are not for everyone, nor are they trying to be. Probably best in constant driven, at least over 60mpd.
    Ill stick with the obselete $28K front drive,
    passive rear-steer 03 Saab 93 35-45mpg diesel. Rick, Bob…sell me another!

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    The manufacturer’s incremental cost for either proper gasoline hybrid (a la Toyota) or for the new Blue-tec and similar CARB compliant diesels is approxiamtely the same ($2,500-$3,000 ball park) over a conventional gas engine (What they charge is based on marketing factors). Interestingly, the current cost trend is heading up for diesel, and down for hybrid, as Toyota wrings out costs and increases volume.

    Both technologies offer ballpark similar efficiency gains. They both have an important place in the drive to lower CO output. It will not be a one or the other race.

    I think gas hybrid has the greater development potential, because it is a natural technology progression to the likely all-electric car of the future, whether plug-in/battery ot fuel cell. That is why it is critical the manufacturers have hybrid technology as well as diesel. Nobody wants to (or should) put all their eggs in one of these two baskets.

  • avatar
    Luther

    How much additional energy is required to produce the [Hydrocracked] ULSD ? Is the thermodynamic advantage nullified by this process ?

    Technically, Smog is NOx… Particulate emission is carbon dust.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    I think it’s great that there are diesels coming to the US that don’t take more than 10 secs to get to 60. Personally, I’m a fan of anything that costs me less at the pump. Diesel only costs about as much as premium or a few cents more around me. The big problem that I have is that most of the gas stations around town don’t carry diesel. It’s the spotty ability to find a diesel station that worries me. Though it is always grea tfor long trips with plenty of diesel stations of the highway. Now, when are they making a GTI or Cooper S diesel that is as fast as the gasoline versions?

  • avatar
    rashakor

    Sanman111

    I own 3 diesel vehicles. I have never not been able to fill up. Yes diesel is not at walmart but it is pretty much in each and every pump a least a mile from a highway, state road, county road… the argument that diesel is dificult to find does not hold in reality.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    The basic issue with diesels and handling is that the engines are heavy. And for those of us who like high revs, we get less horsepower out of diesels than out of gasoline engines.

    But most Americans don’t rev, don’t shift, don’t turn hard, want a stable front end, and want torque. Now that there are solutions to CA’s smog issues, I think these will take off.

  • avatar
    wsn

    ash78:

    What about Diesel’s much lower CO2 emissions compared to gas? While D does create greater particulate emissions that contribute to smog, that is a localized phenomenon. But that is nearly a moot point with the urea filter. CARB apparently seems more concerned with local air than that of the planet (CO2, as more commonly regulated in Euro compliance.)

    Slow? When this car came out alongside the E320 gas, it was actually quicker. Merc quickly brought out the E350 with no change to the cdi version. Obviously there’s marketing at work here.

    1) CO2 is most acceptable form of pollution. Actually, I am not sure if it is pollution. It doesn’t harm humans (assuming current density). It’s also know as the gas of life. Plants breath CO2. Scientists look for CO2 and water vapour when searching for life on other planets (as indicator of organic mechanism). It’s the particle that cause lung cancers and sulfer or nitro oxides that cause acid rains.

    2) It is indeed slow. The closest competitor in the US (that I can think of) would be the Lexus GS450h. Classical German vs. Japanese and diesel vs. hybrid. The GS450h, as a CVT automatic, goes from 0-60 in 5.2s.

  • avatar
    TomAnderson

    Just so you know, Cavendel, the Union of Concerned Scientists is easily the most openly and unwaveringly anti-diesel non-government organization on the face of the planet. Nary a single story on diesel is published or broadcast by the mainstream media that doesn’t include some knee-jerk, toe-the-line rebuttal by some UCS tool. They have repeatedly said stuff like diesel engines will never be as clean as gas engines (even after numerous manufacturers had announced they had built engines that were just that) and that it is stupid to put any more effort into refining a technology that was developed in the 1890s (even though Dr. Diesel’s first publicly exhibited engine ran on pure peanut oil, decades before renewable fuels became a hot topic).

    Even CARB has gone on record saying that clean diesel will likely play a key role in reducing CO2 emissions. In other words, I’d take the information on that site you provided a link to with a baseball-sized grain of salt, as the only thing these “scientists” seem genuinely concerned about is stuffing their holier-than-thou agenda down the throat of John Q. Public, even if that means bending and spinning the facts in the process.

  • avatar

    Because diesels can’t rev, I don’t see them as suited to enthusiasts. But, as I said in my first comment, they’re very well suited to the way most Americans drive. Most Americans would prefer to never have the tach go beyond 3,000, or even 2,000. Not that they pay much attention to the tach.

    Diesels do best in those European countries that heavily subsidize the fuel. It’s not just the play of the free market.

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    Then, diesels
    – were slow and powerless.
    – were polluting and stinking.
    – didn’t start in winter.
    – required a “glow” procedure at start-up.
    – did blacken the area close to the exhaust pipe.

    Now, diesels
    – have significantly more power (torque) than gas cars, especially at low revs (jetliner take-off feeling).
    – are cleaner than gas cars with new clean diesel fuel and particle afterburners.
    – are easy to start at all seasons, just like gas cars.
    – are noisier, especially at start-up, but no difference to gas cars when driving.
    – are more expensive to manufacture, but:
    – are significantly more fuel effective.
    – are perfect with automatic transmissions.
    – are long lived because of low revs (VW 250k, Mercedes 500k miles with frequent oil changes).
    – are perfect for Uncle Sam’s long roads and heavy loads.

    The only valid disadvantages I can think off is that you have to refuel at the truck pump, and you know what it’s like there. Your hands will smell of diesel fuel until you find a washbasin and bar of soap. Gloves? And the startup noise can be disturbing if you are sensible. A gas engine sounding like that is on its way to the wrecker.

    But BMW, VW/Audi, Volvo and Mercedes make excellent modern powerful diesel engines, not to mention the runner-ups, like Toyota, Ford, GM etc.

    In Sweden, diesel fuel is not subsidized, but penalty taxed.

  • avatar
    CAHIBOstep

    People are starting to think critically about energy.

    A friend’s ’91 Passat is currently at 275K, with the last 15K running on biodiesel. If a raggedy old Passat diesel can run on food byproducts, the diesel engine is a legitimate alternative.

    If my current Volvo 4 cyl. ran diesel I would get 32 mpg in the city easy. And it would have more torque. Right now I get 21 mpg, with good torque but lousy mileage. You won’t hear that bulls–t after Honda brings their new engine(s) here.

    I say Honda because I figure they’ll make it affordable. If anyone wants to beat them to the punch, then there is some $ to be made.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Interesting is that in the US nobody is aware that Toyota has technology similar to BlueTec already in production for European market since 2003. Its simpler without any additional urea tanks, but works as efficiently. Its called D-CAT (177hp and 400Nm(295 lb.ft) from a 2.2L diesel engine, better Nm per litre figures than any of the competitors in this engine class). Reduces NO (nitrous oxide) emissions by using DPNR technology (diesel particulate and NOx reduction system).

    quote: Toyota Motor Co. Ltd has already developed DPNR technology for simultaneous reduction of both NOx and PM from diesel exhausts. This technology is based on the NOx storage reduction (NSR) catalyst system for lean burn gasoline engines. The NSR system is performed with an engine that operates alternately under lean or rich conditions and is characterized as a time-resolved HC-SCR over an evolved three-way catalyst. The catalyst contains NOx storage materials, such as BaO, which store NOx as nitrates during lean conditions. The stored NOx is released from the storage materials and reduced over noble metals by hydrocarbons and CO when turning the engine to rich conditions for a short period. In the DPNR system, stored nitrates also oxidize deposited PMs trapped on the wall of ceramic filter. This technology has been applied to commercial passenger cars from the end of 2003. (source: http://www.rsc.org/delivery/_ArticleLinking/DisplayHTMLArticleforfree.cfm?JournalCode=CP&Year=2006&ManuscriptID=b601794k&Iss=Advance_Article)

    Diesels have better fuel economy on highways, hybrids shine in urban driving. Simple as that. By 2010 Toyota will have a diesel hybrid in production :) In Europe a very large percentage of diesel buyers are choosing diesel engines because of the market hype, not because they really need them or because it is more economically sensible. Diesels cost much more to produce (intercooler, turbocharger, complex high pressure injection system) and they cost more for the customer to buy compared to gasoline counterparts. To become economucally sensible to choose a diesel over a gasoline powered car you’d have to have high annual mileage(and you have to drive the car for 3-4 years), much more higher than a average driver has.

    thecarconnection.com is a source for diesel hype in the US (and hybrid dissing), they always compare the market situation to Europe not really knowing what is the actual background behind European sales numbers.

    Best diesel vs hybrid test I have seen is done by one of the biggest German car magazines: Auto, Motor und Sport.

    Audi 4.2 V8 Quattro, MB E420CDI, Lexus GS450h.

    Real life test results of the german magazine were:
    Lexus vs MB (mpg)
    City 27 vs 21.3
    Country road 25 vs 26.42
    Autobahn (81mph) 27.3 vs 27.6

    Final figure was Autobahn (fast) – which in real life is about 110-120mph. Constantly driving with those kind of speeds is highly illegal and very difficult anywhere else but in Germany, so for the rest of the world those numbers are irrelevant. It’s the only time when MB had an slight advantage over Lexus (14.2 vs 17.1 mpg). But MB 4.2 V8 CDI (314hp, 730Nm – 538 lb.ft) superdiesel had worse real life acceleration (0-62mph) than GS450h in this test, the bigger the speeds got (up to 0-110mph) the more MB lost to Lexus.

    Looking at those numbers I really can’t see any diesel advantages in this car class.

    What is really stupid are those monster SUV diesels – VW V10 5.0 TDI and upcoming Audi 6.0 V12 TDI. I have driven the Touareg V10 – in urban conditions I got 12-13mpg average. What is the sense in that? Only nice thing about the drive was feel of the huge torque. In reality acceleration is 7.8sec 0-62mph, nothing special compared to other gasoline V6 3.5L SUV-s that get better acceleration numbers with better mpg.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Criticize the Touareg TDI’s all you want. Can you pull a Boeing 747 with that fancy Bluetec?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnkZHB5N0u8

    No, I don’t need a vehicle that’s stout enough to pull a 747, but it’s sure nice to know that it can.

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    The particulate filter (looks like a muffler) originated in Peugeot some years ago, but is now standard equipment in most European diesels.

    And monster cars are stupid in all aspects out of the army.

    And how often do you use your car’s ability to accelerate 0-60 in 6-7 seconds? It’s a good way to wear out the tires, transmission and passenger (wife?) and to drain the fuel tank. Normally, you take it easy and go 0-60 in 15-20 seconds, right? Otherwise, what is the debate of fuel efficiency and saving the environment good for?

  • avatar
    roadracer

    With my commute (45 miles each way, all highway) I need this car. With no available manual transmission, I don’t want this car. I’ll wait for the 335 diesel to come over.

    Normally I don’t take 15 seconds to 60. The fuel efficency is for when I reach cruising speed.

  • avatar
    nichjs

    Dear GM,

    Diesel is almost the same crude oil fraction as JetA1 fuel. Therefore, commercial airliners *almost* run on diesel. How ’bout you use this to win the “heats and minds” of the US Diesel auto market? Saab? Welcome to the Jet age, America!

    Sincerely
    James (a vauxhall driver)

    ps, my “finders fee” for this nugget of inspiration is a miserly $25k. cheques only please.

  • avatar

    Michael Karesh:

    Because diesels can’t rev, I don’t see them as suited to enthusiasts.

    Tell that to Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Dindo Capello, Tom Christensen, Allan McNish, and the rest of the Audi R10 TDI team. I have a feeling they’d have a somewhat different point of view.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    And by the way, in US MB and Audi/VW want to establish themselves as leaders in diesel technology. But by far the most sophisticated and most hp/per litre diesel engine is manufactured by BMW. It is the 3.0d twin turbo 286hp/580Nm (427 lbft) found in the new facelifted X3. It has no turbolag and spools up in an instance in first gear because of the two turbo sequential setup. With MB and Audi/VW (and BMW single turbo diesels) even the most modern diesel engines you can feel a slight turbolag during gearchange and off the line in first gear first few seconds can be really slow before the engine rpm spools up the turbocharger. Comparable size 3.0d MB engine makes 224hp and 510nm (376 lbft) and best Audi 3.0d engine is with 233hp and 500Nm/368 lbft (Q7). From those numbers I cannot see any evidence of MB Audi/VW diesel leadership. BMW engine is more powerful almost by 25%. BMW should spread this engine across the range.

    PS! Modern powerful diesel engine needs an automatic transmission. Handling such amounts of torque in a narrow rpm range especially in lower gears is really frustrating and difficult for average driver.

    And people should realize that Audi diesel Le Mans victory is purely a marketing campaign. Nothing to do with actual production cars – as my BMW comparison clearly illustrates. Any of the big diesel manufacturers – BMW, MB or even Toyota could have pulled it off if they would have invested so heavily in Le Mans diesel project as Audi did.

  • avatar

    Brock_Landers: And people should realize that Audi diesel Le Mans victory is purely a marketing campaign.

    And what racing program isn’t nowadays? But these wins are showing the world – and especially the American market – that diesel isn’t just for slow moving taxicabs and lane-clogging semis any more. Every manufacturer who makes diesel cars will benefit from the good press Audi is bringing to diesels.

    Any of the big diesel manufacturers – BMW, MB or even Toyota could have pulled it off if they would have invested so heavily in Le Mans diesel project as Audi did.

    But they didn’t, so why even bring it up?

  • avatar
    gfen

    I just replaced a totaled ’02 VW GTi (1.8t) with a ’05 Golf GLS TDi. I’m not going back.

    Going from 180hp to 100hp may mean I’m not as fast, but there’s just as much torque a little lower down the curve in the TDI, so it gives me almost as much pleasure, plus I’m far less a danger to myself and others with the slower car.

    What I’ve read is that the LSD/ULSD loses some lubricity compared to the old stuff, but if you buy a BioD blend, its pretty much restores it (and lets me feel a little more enviromental). Since I don’t know where to find BioD yet, I add a couple of fluid ounces of Power Service, and supposedly that’s all I need to do (plus, its an antigel for the winter).

    Unlike the GTI, I don’t notice the turbo lag.. I know this is apples to pears, but none the less… And the last thing I’ve got to say is that while some petrolheads may abhor that distinct diesel chatter, I love the sound of it. First two days I had it, I drove with the windows as far down as the weather permitted and the radio off. Heh.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    quasimondo:

    i just saw the video of the toureg towing the 747!

    WOW, ya know i tried to tow a 747 with my VW Golf III, and was UNABLE! I cant beleive that I could not tow it!! What kind of car is this anyway!! I IMMEDIATELY put in an order for a new 5 litre diesel Toureg, so I can can tow one. I feel better already!!! In my opinion, a car is not a car unless it can tow a 747!!

    Incidentally I got a ticket for towing a 7 ton combine on I95 (DAMN THE GUMMENT RULES). I have a court date! THEY CANT STOP ME FROM TOWING WHATEVER THE HELL I WANT!!!

  • avatar
    noley

    I spent 2 weeks in France a couple years back driving my family around in a Nissan wagon/minivan with a turbo-diesel. The car was mediocre, but the motor was great, delivering about 30 mpg at 150 to 160 KPHm along with the lovely elasticity turbos give a diesel.

    I looked for a good diesel when I came back but realized the best was yet to come on this side of the pond. Now, with BlueTec, maybe it’s coming. I’m not in line for one yet, since my gas Saabs gets 28 to 30 mpg at 80 (which is fine in the US), but I suspect there’s a BlueTec engine in my future.

  • avatar
    C.D.Weir

    The reason the brakes feel better is that Mercedes has abandoned the Ebrakes for ’07! They are now conventional hydraulic units.

    If I am wrong I will drink brake fluid.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I think that would be a good choice, jerseydevil. As an added bonus, since it is a diesel, it’ll have a better fuel economy rating than the regular V6 or V8 Touaregs. It’s like having your cake and eating it too.

    Okay, I just talked myself into getting a diesel SUV. Size, towing capacity, economy performance, what’s there not to like about this?

  • avatar
    webebob

    i just finished my ovr the rvr and thru the woods trek up 95, a thousand miles worth. Diesel was everywhere. I need premium gas, (not always advertised on the roadsigns) so when I wanted to know what the premium gas price was, I knew it would be less than the price of the diesel advertised.

    And that was just for the good old bunker oil type diesel, Exxon Mobil on the tv tonight was licking its chops at the prospects for all the “ultra-clean” diesel fuel they were planning to sell, (at a lil ole premium, i’m sure)

    pay more to go slow, worry about fuel solidification after the car sits at night outside in the snow belt, and spend 15 minutes in the john cleaning diesel stink off my hands after every fillup. Yeah boss, sign me up.

  • avatar
    roadracer

    Brock_Landers:

    I don’t consider myself an average driver. I’ll wait for a stick shift diesel, that’s quicker than a Jetta TDI and rear drive to boot.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Frank Williams:

    Tell that to Dr Wolfgang Ullrich, Dindo Capello, Tom Christensen, Allan McNish, and the rest of the Audi R10 TDI team. I have a feeling they’d have a somewhat different point of view.

    IMO, those people just don’t count. What’s the MSRP for an R10? Did they offer it in dealers?

    Oh they didn’t, so why even bring it up?

    BTW, even if they did offer it. Audi is still negligible. It’s current ranking in US luxury car sale is what? 9th or 10th? They may hope to sell 3 R10s at most.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    If Honda really pulls of their plan to market diesel passenger cars in the US which are emissions legal without the urea tank it will be a rule changer. A Honda Accord diesel at a $1-2k premium over the standard 4 cylinder would make all kinds of sense.

    A $52k MBZ diesel … not making much sense.

  • avatar
    Jan Andersson

    Here in Scandinavia, the diesel fuel is adapted to the seasons, i.e. a little thinner in the winter. If you don’t you use your car in the fall, you may have a problem if you try to run on summer fuel when it’s very cold.

    And by the way, that’s what they do to gas fuel also. In the winter, they add more 99 % ethanol which takes care of the air humidity condensate (or just rain/snow) in the fuel tanks in your car and at the gas station. Otherwise this water, which enters the tank from tank breathing will freeze and could plug the fuel line in your car. In the open air, 99 % ethanol will absorb (if that is the correct word for it) 3 % water, down to 96 % liquor content.

  • avatar
    ChartreuseGoose

    _CO2 is most acceptable form of pollution._

    Ahem….global warming. Greenhouse gas? Heard of it?

  • avatar
    Luther

    What does CO2 have to do with greenhouse warmth?
    Again, just more broadcast media Goebbels-esque mind-screwing.

    Dihydrogen monoxide kills far more people than CO2.

  • avatar

    Now here’s a proper diesel.

  • avatar
    magnus

    >aatos: wow that one is a bit plus-sized. might just fit right into the Expedition EL, right?

  • avatar

    Marcpunk says:
    We’re sorry for trying to clean up the air for current and future generations to be able to breathe.

    Sorry Marc, those states are just misinformed. Diesel emits particulates that essentially vanish at the first rainfall. They are not harmful, except as particulate. Gasoline engines on the otherhand emit Carbon Monoxide, which is the stuff doing serious damage to the atmosphere.

    As for Diesel being “slow” you obviously weren’t paying attention at Le Mans, or the entire season of the American Le Mans series. The TDI powered Audi’s kicked everyone’s gasoline powered asses.

    You can drive all day at autobahn speeds, what more do you need?

    Cavendel says:
    Production of diesel requires 25% more crude oil than does the production of gasoline. so while the 30% improvement in fuel economy might seem good, it doesn’t help to reduce a countries reliance on foreign oil.

    Diesel fuel essentially is crude oil, barely refined. But unlike refined gasoline any combustible oil will work, and ironically makes all these complicated particulate filters redundant. I use anywhere from a 5% to a 50% mixture of filtered waste veggie oil in my Diesel powered cars every day. This does many things:

    * Recycles a substance that was destined for a landfill
    * Cuts my fuel cost down to as low as $1.25 per gallon
    * Reduces my particulate emissions
    * Gives my exhaust a pleasant “eau du pomme frittes”

    * oh yeah… cuts down my dependance on Foreign Oil.

    What are you doing to reduce our dependance on Foreign Oil?

    Sanman111 says:
    It’s the spotty ability to find a diesel station that worries me. Though it is always grea tfor long trips with plenty of diesel stations of the highway. Now, when are they making a GTI or Cooper S diesel that is as fast as the gasoline versions?

    I have been driving Diesel powered cars since 1982. I have never had a problem sourcing fuel. Ever. In fact the only time I’ve ever had a fuel-related problem in my life was the last summer when, in the middle of Montana my vintage Jaguar which really wants 100 Octane leaded was running on fumes and the only available fuel was 87 octane “low test”. The thing has been running crappy ever since.

    In a serious pinch you can pour straight veggie oil (“I’d like 5 gallons of Canola please!”) or even used motor oil into a Diesel and keep driving. Try that with a gasser!

    As for speed, I can break the law in my VW TDI just fine, and have the court records to prove it.

    We need more Diesels!

    –chuck

  • avatar
    Luther

    Aatos:

    great engine! Talk about low-end torque! I want one!

    Gasoline engines on the otherhand emit Carbon Monoxide, which is the stuff doing serious damage to the atmosphere.

    Carbon Monoxide it not a stable bond however and will eventually split with pressure, temperature, time in the atmosphere. Same holds true with Oxides of Nitrogen (Smog) since Nitrogen is a lone-wolf type with an A-type personallity and loaths the concept of marriage. I like Nitrogen… Its my favorite element. Carbon on the other hand enjoys a threesome with 2 Oxygen hotties which Oxygenated Nitrogen is more than eager to dump onto Carbon since Nitrogen does not like drama/complication/pettyness/boredom in its life. Carbon Monoxide and Oxides of Nitrogen have been naturally occuring from the Earth crust for…Oh… A couple BILLION years now without any obvious problems to life on the planet. Mother Nature does not mandate catalytic converters being the “irresponsible” ultra-right-wing radical bitch that she is.

    Gives my exhaust a pleasant “eau du pomme frittes”

    Does McDonalds Corp. pay you a royalty for this? The smell of your exhaust no doubt increases their sales.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    Any serious car enthusiast campaigning for diesels shouldn’t even bring up the Le Mans diesel victory as example of diesel advantages. For example if FIA rules had permitted then even Hyundai would have had recources to build a winning car which for example runs on natural gas. So that would mean natural gas is the best fuel on the planet, and best/fastest/most economical cars on our roads all use(should use) natural gas? My point is that Audi Le Mans diesel victory proves absolutely nothing, except that with huge budget and with all the competitors being small private teams you can win any race with anykind of fuel you want (2006 Le Mans entry list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_24_Hours_of_LeMans). I bet Audi Le Mans diesel victory press release didn’t mention the team budget compared to the competitors in the LMP1 class (the fastest class in Le Mans). And I bet it didn’t mention the development cost diffrences compared to the previous gasoline powered Le Mans Audis. Even the entry list is excluded from all the news and press releases concerning Audis victory. Wow Audi beat private cars/teams called Pescarolo, Judd, Lola, AER, Creation, Dome and Courage! Not much news value in those names uh? All the serious players right now are in Formula 1. No one from the big manufactures except Audi is interested in Le Mans because everybodys efforts are directed towards F1.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    Thanks for the responses, I wasn’t worried about the availabilityof diesel everywhere. In my area though, only a few stations carry diesel and they aren’t particularly close to my home. Just seems like a bit of a pain to have to drive that far to fill up for most people. It is certainly doable though. Good to know about the canola oil. I’ll have to keep some in the trunk if I get a diesel.

  • avatar

    roadracer sais:
    I don’t consider myself an average driver. I’ll wait for a stick shift diesel, that’s quicker than a Jetta TDI and rear drive to boot.

    How about this one roadracer?

    –chuck

  • avatar
    westhighgoalie

    I LOVE IT!!!

    I wanted a Merc 300D for my first car but it needed it’s battery case or something else ( what ever it was it was simplistic and less than $100.00) like that. My parents, wary of a diesel refused to help me buy the poor stricken dinosaur who was born in 1985.

    I did take it for a test drive though, and perhaps it was the noxious fumes suppressing oxygen to my brain. But I fell in love with that car right then and there. I didn’t care how slow it was, it was balls to the wall torque!!!

    2 years later and in my senior year of high school I am still broke, still sour over not buying it and most of all, still in love with that 4 cylinder purr machine!


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