Mercedes-Benz CDI engine fuel efficient in coast-to-coast comparison
24 August 2005
Although many may think hybrid technology is the only answer to rising
fuel costs, a real alternative is actually the diesel engine, as the
German car magazine Auto Bild reported in its latest issue.
The magazine conducted a comparative test drive from the east coast to
the west coast of the USA with two new Mercedes-Benz ML 320 CDI
vehicles and a Lexus RX 400h with a petrol hybrid system. The test
result showed that the advanced diesel engine is far more fuel
efficient than the hybrid.
In Auto Bild's coast-to-coast marathon, the cars were driven about
3210 miles (around 5200 km), from New York to San Francisco. The
results showed that while the ML 320 CDI (165 kW/224 hp) returned an
average fuel consumption of 31.04 miles per gallon, the hybrid SUV (155
kW/211 hp) averaged
The difference of 3.35 mpg (10.8 per cent) underscores the superiority
of state-of-the-art diesel engines compared to hybrid drives. The
endurance test also showed that hybrid technology is only marginally
more fuel efficient in urban traffic, where it is most effective in
reducing consumption. At 24.14 mpg, the diesel car returned only 0.42
mpg greater fuel consumption in city driving than the hybrid vehicle.
"The M-Class performed admirably under diverse conditions during the
entire 5,200-kilometre trek," says editor Jörg Malzahn of Auto Bild.
"I hadn't expected such a big advantage in fuel efficiency."
Underneath the bonnet of the ML 320 CDI is an all-new six-cylinder
engine with third-generation common-rail technology, which enables
further improvements in fuel consumption, emissions and performance. At
510 Nm, the V6 has one of the highest torque outputs of any engine in
its displacement class, and this performance begins at only 1600 rpm.
The Mercedes-Benz coast-to-coast test cars were also equipped with
diesel particulate traps, helping to further reduce the M-Class's
emissions. The 320 CDI engine meets Euro IV regulations even without