Tag Archives: Mercedes Diesel

One Owner Certified Pre Owned Barolo Red 2008 Mercedes R320 CDI Diesel 4matic w/ Premium 2 Package PARKTRONIC Panorama Sunroof 7th Seat Option and More!

Used Mercedes-R class diesel

This is a very rare R class indeed! We don’t even get many used R classes in these days, but when they do arrive, they aren’t normally as fully loaded as this one, and this one is an R320 CDI diesel to boot, the rarest of the rare… if you want to get close to 30mpg while carrying a lot of passengers on the highway, this is your vehicle. The color is Barolo Red with Macadamia interior.
Mercedes R320 diesel

This is a 4matic R class diesel with the Premium 2 Package which includes options such as Navigation, power tailgate, rear view back up camera and PARKTRONIC among other options in the P2 Package. Stand alone options include an iPod kit, the rare 7th seat option for more passenger capacity, the big Panorama sunroof, heated seats and more (see original window sticker / option list included below).
Mercedes R class diesel prices

This is a one owner vehicle that was purchased here at Sears Imports when new, it has been serviced here at Sears Imports throughout its life and was just traded in here last week on a new vehicle. It has a clean Carfax vehicle history report that you can see , for free, by clicking this link. This R class has just about 51,200 miles, it has been fully inspected and serviced and is now being sold as a Certified Pre Owned vehicle. It comes with a one year or up to 100,000 mile Certified Pre Owned warranty from Mercedes-Benz, you have the option of purchasing an additional year, or two of the same CPO warranty, all the way up to 135,000 miles if you want.

This is Sears Imports’ stock# 66062A, the price is $29,900. Please give me a call or drop me an email if you’d like to schedule a time to come in to see and drive this gem.

2012 Twin Cities Auto Show Mercedes Benz Sneak Preview! See the Mercedes Benz Show Cars Today at Sears Imports!

Minneapolis Auto Show Mercedes

Most of the cars that will be on display on the Mercedes-Benz stand at the 2012 Twin Cities Auto Show are currently here at Sears Imports in Minnetonka. We have a Cuprite Brown C300 4matic, Olivine Grey E350 Cabriolet, white SLK350 and a number of other vehicles that will be shuttled down tot he Auto Show tomorrow. Need more info about the 39th Annual Twin Cities Auto Show? Click this link for information including the Auto Show schedule, calendar, admission and location information.

2012 Minneapolis Auto Show Car

The most significant car, in my opinion, is the new 2013 SL550 that was dropped off by a transporter this morning. There are rumors of a new SLS AMG Gullwing that is due to arrive here, but it isn’t here yet, and that may just be rumor… the new SL is the car that will be new to most people at the show, as it was just released at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in February and then shown at the Chicago Auto Show a couple of weeks ago. You can see more photos of this car by visiting the article I wrote about it earlier today, just click this link for info and lots of photos on the new 2013 SL550 (equipped with the new Magic Sky Control feature) that will be at the Minneapolis Auto Show!
2013 Mercedes SL Magic Sky Control

We will also be taking a new S350 BlueTEC diesel to the show, the first S class diesel from Mercedes-Benz since they discontinued the W126 chassis S class in 1991. A new GL class SUV is cleaned up and ready to go to the show, as well as a new 2012 ML350.

Mercedes C300 Cuprite Brown Auto show
2012 Cuprite Brown C300 4matic with Almond Mocha interior.


Mercedes S350 BlueTEC diesel
2012 S350 BlueTEC diesel destined for the Twin Cities Auto Show.

Vacation Find! Mercedes Cab: A Fleet of Vintage Mercedes Benz Diesel Taxis Serving Lower Cape Cod Provincetown Truro Wellfleet and Eastham, MA

Mercedes Cab Cape Cod
My wife and I flew out to the East Coast recently, for a week long vacation. We have some friends in Truro, MA who invited us out for a few days before they were scheduled to go to Europe for their vacation. The plan was that we’d fly to Boston, take the fast ferry to Provincetown on Cape Cod and spend some time with them until they left for Europe. We would stay in their house while they were gone, take care of their two dogs, go to the beach, eat good seafood, and generally enjoy ourselves and relax for a week. Who knew a hurricane would crash the party during our stay? In the end, Irene was pretty much a non event on lower Cape Cod. We didn’t lose power, it didn’t even really rain in Truro… but was there wind… sustained 55 mph winds with gusts a lots bigger than that for about a day. Anyway… upon our arrival on the ferry from Boston into Provincetown  I immediately started to see Taxis, in fact, Mercedes Benz Taxis… surely a blog article was brewing.

mercedes cab provincetown
One of the "Mercedes Cab" W123 wagons trolls Commercial Street in Provincetown.

These weren’t shiny new E classes or high end car service S classes like you might see in Manhattan. No, I’m talking late 1970s and early to mid 1980s vintage 280D and 300 turbo diesels. The old school Mercedes diesels that clatter along forever slowly belching black smoke from their tail pipes. They were mostly sedans, but I saw a couple of wagons as well. It felt more like I was on the Italian or French Riviera back in college than in Cape Cod. They looked so right cruising deliberately through the narrow 250+ year old streets of Provincetown and Wellfleet, MA. “What a great idea” I thought, whoever came up with this idea was a genius, of course, like so many other things, it happened a bit by accident, that this company ended up driving a fleet of diesel Mercedes Benz cars around.

After a week enjoying ourselves, walking around, exploring the beaches of Cape Cod, when our time was up and it was time to make our way to the ferry terminal in Provincetown from  the house in Truro there was only one cab company to call… a call I was looking forward to making all week… to “Mercedes Cab.” The ferry left at 10:30am so, the night before I called Mercedes Cab and requested the car for 9:30. I was secretly hoping for one of the W123 wagons to pick us up, I had only seen two around town and I wasn’t about to request a specific car, I mean, who does that? But I hoped it was one of those cool old wagons. At about 9:25 the next morning I actually heard the cab pull up from inside the house. When I went outside I was happy to see…

mercedes cab provincetown
Our driver and bassist for local band "Squidda" Jesse Cartwright.

This wasn’t going to be just another cab ride, this was going to be an experience, we figured, with some local flavor, and maybe some diesel fumes. Cape Cod native Jesse Cartwright was our driver for the short 15 or so minute drive from our place in Truro into Provincetown. As soon as we got in the cab I started asking him about the company. I told him I worked for a Mercedes-Benz dealer and that I would just have to write a blog article about the Mercedes Cab company. “We’ve got about 10 cabs right now, two wagons and the rest are sedans” Jesse said, “the company’s been around since 1983, the owner started with one car, a Mercedes diesel, and it just grew from there.”

The company serves what’s known as the ‘lower cape’ from Eastham in the south, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown on the upper most tip of Cape Cod, not a huge distance, but where the bulk of the tourist traffic is concentrated I would guess, it’s just such a great niche. The wagon we were in was no show winner, this car was, like many of the fishing boats in the Provincetown marina, a working machine. Chipped paint, some surface rust here and there, but it’s not about a perfect vehicle, it’s about the best tool for the job, and I’d be hard pressed to think of a better tool for this job.

“We’re coming up on one of our old cabs here, off the the left, you’ll see it here, coming up, there it is.” Jesse pointed off towards a maroon colored W114 chassis Mercedes diesel from the early to mid 1970s parked in a gravel lot next to a warehouse building just as we were leaving Truro, “That one finally died” he said sadly as he took another sip from his coffee cup. “Yeah, I grew up here, when I was a kid we’d be on our bikes all day, riding around, my parents would just tell us to be back by dark, this was a really safe place to grow up, it still is.”

Jesse has a Mercedes-Benz diesel himself, as his personal car we learned. As we entered Provincetown he announced, “You know, I’m gonna take a little detour to avoid a busy intersection up here.” We hung a left off the main drag into town, “Well, it wasnt’tthat backed up today, sometimes this is all backed up” he waved his hand back and forth, “This way I can show you my car, it’s on the way.”

“What is it?” I asked.

“A 1979 300SD, a friend of mine had it, I traded him a Subaru and a surfboard for it” he announced as we rounded a bend… there it was, I got out and took some pictures while Jesse and Michele waited in the cab.
mercedes cab provincetown

“I found the original hood emblem for it in the trunk, the star was broken out of it, but I put it on there anyway, I thought it looked cool” Jesse added, “and I put on that turbo badge, ’cause it’s one of the first turbo diesels they made.”

Mercedes 300SD Diesel
Cool emblem, turbo badge.

As I got back into the wagon I realized our ride was almost over. Jesse told us about the band he plays Bass in, Squidda. Judging from their Facebook Fan Page they’re pretty prolific on the Cape, it doesn’t look like too many weekends go by where you can’t catch them playing one of the bars along Commercial Street in Provincetown or somewhere else on the cape. (Check out the band and ‘LIKE’ Squidda on Facebook by clicking this link)

How cool is that? Jesse drove this 300SD all the way out to Lake Tahoe for the Winter season last year, put chains on the tires and drove it everyday he was there. How’s that for adventure? “Yeah, it made it up the mountain, everyday, no problem. My buddy was mad when I came back and he saw I was still driving it, he never thought it would make it, but it did, it was a good trade” he concluded.

A Mercedes-Benz film crew actually traveled to Cape Cod to shoot a short movie about “Mercedes Cab” for the Mercedes-Benz.tv website. This video, like all things Mercedes-Benz, it’s extremely high quality. It tells the story of “Mercedes Cab” in about 4 minutes with great photography and commentary. Click the image below to watch this great video on YouTube.

Mercedes Cab Movie
Click the photo to watch this great short film about "Mercedes Cab"!

It’s no secret, these diesels, even these 25 and 30 year old models get very good gas mileage and their longevity is, of course, legendary. You might have seen my article about the Mercedes Benz High Mileage Award Program, the current highest mileage record, according to MBUSA is a Greek Taxi Driver with a 240D from the 1970s with over 2 million miles. See a photo and more info about this Greek Taxi driver and the MB High Mileage Program here.

Thanks to Jesse and Mercedes Cab for getting us where we needed to go in style, see you next time.  And thanks to our friends Oren and Rick for the best place to stay we could imagine and the fun dogs to walk and feed and play with while we bummed around Cape Cod for a week!

See more photos below of our trip to Cape Cod and some of the other Mercedes vehicles we encountered while on the cape.

Cape Cod Farmhouse
The early 18th century farmhouse and barn (converted to guest cottage).
Truro Farmhouse
Not too worried about a hurricane in a 250+ year old farm house on the hill above the ocean.
Mercedes Provincetown
An R class Mercedes makes its way down Commercial Street in P Town.
Mercedes 300SD
A 300SD from Virginia parked on Commercial Street, the same as Jesse's car.
Our car for the week, our friend's BMW X3... they drove their 2011 C300 to the airport!
Cape Cod Dogs
Our charges for the week, Adelaide (Corgi) and Louise (Bassett Hound), great fun these two ladies.
Bassett Hound
Louise, not at all worried about a potential hurricane.

Why Some US Toyota Owners Are Swapping Their Engines For a Mercedes Diesel

Why Some US Toyota Owners Are Swapping Their Engines For a Mercedes Diesel

While the number of shade-tree mechanics in the USA may be dwindling rapidly due to the increasing complexity of the modern automobile, there are still quite a few vehicle owners who like to tinker with their cars. In the United States, some of the more sophisticated tinkerers are replacing the gasoline engines in their older Toyotas with a used Mercedes diesel engine. Here’s why it’s happening, and what anyone thinking about making this kind of swap needs to think about.

Why Swap a Gas Motor for A Diesel?

Toyota is well-known in the United States for quality and reliability, and an older Toyota gasoline engine is no different. Even if an older engine breaks down, there are plenty of older OEM Toyota parts available online, so there’s really no reason to swap a gas for a diesel as far as reliability is concerned. In fact, we have to look off-road to find the answer.

The late 80’s and early 90’s Toyota 4Runner and Toyota Tacoma are incredibly popular off-road vehicles in North America, mostly because of their world-class reliability combined with their factory-tough off-road ability. Yet the weak-point of these older 4Runners and Tacomas is that their relatively small 4 cylinder gas engines lack low-end torque.

For this reason, many older 4Runner and Tacoma owners are swapping their Toyota gas engines for 4 or 5 cylinder diesels from the Mercedes 240D and Mercedes 300D. The engine from the 300D – also known as part of the OM617 Mercedes diesel family – is particularly desirable because it can often be found with a turbocharger. However, any older Mercedes diesel will offer more of the low-end torque that off-road enthusiasts favor than the stock Toyota gasoline engines.

Another popular reason that people swap out Toyota gasoline engines for Mercedes diesels has to do with a desire to be “green,” or environmentally friendly. Older Mercedes diesels can be configured to run on bio-diesel (there are quite a few commercial kits available), and running on bio-diesel is something that is very important to many vehicle owners.

Finally, older Mercedes diesel engines are well-known for reliability (500k+ kilometers of use isn’t unheard of) and they’re fairly inexpensive in the US. A used Mercedes 300D or 240D with 200k kilometers of use can be purchased for as little $500 US, and then the diesel engine can be harvested while the rest of the vehicle is sold for spare parts.

Mercedes OM617 diesel engine after installation in a 1989 Toyota 4runner.


What’s Involved In A Mercedes Diesel -Toyota Truck Engine Swap?

The short answer is, a lot more work than one might think. First, you have to think about how the engine is going to mount to the engine bay as well as how it will attach to the transmission and/or how you’ll make the Mercedes transmission attach to the Toyota transfer case.

Next, you’ll need to think about connecting Toyota’s engine management systems (everything from throttle cables to oil pressure sensors) to the MB diesel. Making fuel and cooling systems work together can be a challenge too, many Toyota owners elect to use as much of the stock Mercedes diesel engine system as possible to minimize complexity.

Finally, you’ll need lots of time to adapt the MB diesel to work around it’s new home. The bell housing and oil pan usually need to be modified to work within the constraints of the suspension system and frame mounts, for example.

However, despite all the effort required to make this swap, the rewards can be excellent. An early 80’s OM617 turbo-diesel has much more low-end power than a 1990 Toyota 22R – 180 lb-ft at 2400 RPM vs. 187 lb-ft at 3,400 RPM – and that steeper torque curve makes a big difference off-road. Add in the incredible reliability of the Mercedes diesel and the uniqueness of the swap, and Toyota truck owners who take the time to make the swap have something they can be very proud of.

About The Author: Jason Lancaster works with ToyotaPartsCenter.net, a website dedicated to providing cheap Toyota parts online.
Photo: Courtesy of “defiant4wd’s” PhotoBucket album.

Used 2008 Mercedes GL Diesel 320 CDI Capri Blue with Macadamia Interior Now Available!

Wow! We don’t get used diesel GL SUVs in very often. While many people don’t understand diesels and aren’t interested in them, the Mercedes-Benz diesel faithful will probably scoop this one up in a hurry. If you ever need to town soemthing and want to get much better gas mileage than with any domestic SUV while doing it this is your answer. The GL class from Mercedes-Benz is generally thought to be the best vehicle in the full sized SUV segment, along with its super high torque diesel engine, this is the ultimate SUV.

This is a one owner vehicle originally purchased here at Feldmann Imports in a color combo you don’t often see on GL diesels, Capri Blue with Macadamia interior (fancy word for tan). Loaded with options (original window sticker below for your reference) and ready for long highway trips while returning respectable gas mileage. The engine used in this vehicle is the same as the engine used int he ML diesel of the same period.

If you’re interested in an owner’s real world experience driving and towing with a Mercedes-Benz diesel SUV, have a look at this link to a couple of Feature Articles I wrote last year about MB diesels.  This vehicle is available today at Feldmann Imports, it’s got 38,000 miles and is for sale for $49,871.

Auto Week Magazine Drivers Log: 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec says “Impeccable road manners for a vehicle this big”

I found this Drivers Log piece over at Autoweek Magazine’s website, AutoWeek.com. I hear this sentiment over and over again from Mercedes-Benz GL owners, it was nice to see the guys at Autoweek out in the GL diesel. They get to drive a lot of cars, and they are so often critical of the vehicles they drive, I was glad to hear good things about the GL350 BlueTEC.

Have a look at the article below.. and if you’re not already a subscriber, head on over to Autoweek.com and sign up for a subscription, it’s worth it! I’ve been a subscriber for more than ten years and have had a number of letters and comments published.

From Autoweek.com:

2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec, an AW Drivers Log

EDITOR WES RAYNAL: The thing I keep thinking about when I drive a GL is the impeccable road manners for a vehicle this big. The steering is on the money, and this thing just sails over road imperfections. It’s probably not as sporty as an Audi Q7 and won’t tow as much as a Chevrolet Suburban, but it’s tough to argue with the Benz’s on-road performance.

I love the authoritative view of the road from behind the wheel–there is definitely a feeling of being in command. And it’s so quiet out on the freeway. Stow the third row of seats and there is just a ton of cargo room, which was helpful over the weekend break. The power tailgate worked perfectly and was also helpful.

There is little to no diesel rattle and I never caught even of whiff of diesel smell. The automatic transmission’s shifts were imperceptible. The power and torque are terrific and there is almost no turbo lag. That the GL gets fuel economy in the near-20-something range is a bonus.

The front buckets are firm and comfortable and the interior uses high-quality materials. The center console is a bit busy, but I got used to it (though I still think it takes too many steps to get from, say, AM to FM or from FM to satellite radio).

Overall, this is a great luxury SUV. It’s roomy, comfortable and with the diesel, it’s efficient.

2011 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec

Base Price: $61,825

As-Tested Price: $74,635

Drivetrain: 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6; 4WD, seven-speed automatic

Output: 210 hp @ 3,400 rpm, 400 lb-ft @ 1,600-2,800 rpm

Curb Weight: 5,423 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 19/19.6 mpg

Options: PO2 package including auto-dimming mirrors, COMAND including HDD navigation and restaurant ratings, voice control for audio/phone/navi, media database, HD radio, iPod/MP3 interface with cable, driver’s seat/steering wheel/mirrors with memory, power folding mirrors, power liftgate, rearview camera, satellite radio with real-time traffic, 4GB hard drive, Music Register, 115V AC outlet, premium sound with Dolby Digital 5.1, keyless go ($6,330); rear-seat entertainment ($1,950); three-zone automatic climate control with rear CC and air conditioning ($1,450); lighting package including bixenon headlights with active curve illumination, LED daytime running lights, headlight washing system ($985); steel grey paint ($720); blind-spot assist ($600); 7,500-pound trailer hitch ($550); heated steering wheel ($225)

Mercedes Benz to Offer GLK Diesel C class Diesel and S class Diesel in the U.S. by 2014!

Word on the automotive street is that Mercedes-Benz will add to their clean BlueTEC diesel offerings available for sale in the United States over the next few years. I found the article I’ve posted below at CAR AND DRIVER dot com. The Dave Knows Cars blog also has a link to their Mercedes-Benz buyer’s guide… CAR AND DRIVER magazine contacted me last year for a link exchange, some good info there, you can check it out in the”Automotive Links” section at the bottom of the DKC home page.

The article below sheds some light on the upcoming clean diesel offerings from Mercedes-Benz… they they represent great gas mileage from efficient vehicles, a lesson they learned long ago in Europe. In this country we seem to prefer ignoring the future problems we are sure to run into with the disposal of toxic batteries that are expensive to make and even more expensive to throw away after the hybrid they were taken out of is ready to be taken off the road. Electric cars should prove to be interesting… as the coal that we burn to get the electricity isn’t great for the environment either.

The Germans… Audi and Mercedes-Benz in particular… BMW too, look to continue their investment in clean diesel as they hope the U.S. market sees the benefits of the efficient machines they’re engineering.

Here’s the article from CAR AND DRIVER:

Mercedes to Sell Eight Diesels in the U.S. by 2014 Including C-Class, GLK

Those Europeans, they do love their oil burners. And so far they’re really the only ones who’ve made serious attempts at selling diesel powered passenger vehicles stateside.

Mercedes-Benz wants to sell eight diesel-engined models in the U.S. by 2014, according to recent remarks made by Philipp Schiemer, the company’s vice-president for product management. Presently, the Stuttgart-based automaker offers us oil-burners in its E-, M-, GL-, and R-class models, with a diesel S-class on the way. The S350 BlueTec, which is powered by the same 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 that’s in the company’s other American diesel models, will be offered exclusively with 4Matic all-wheel drive when it arrives in showrooms in the fall of 2011.

At the same time, we’re told, U.S. Benz dealers will also begin selling a diesel GLK. Likely wearing GLK250 BlueTec badging, the little crossover will receive the firm’s well-regarded 2.1-liter turbo-diesel four, which makes 204 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque in the European GLK250—those numbers, as well as the ones on the car’s badge, could change slightly in the Americanization process. Still, the prospect of a GLK that could return fuel mileage in the high 30s on the highway while still ripping off a mid-seven-second 0-to-60-mph time is enticing.

We’ll also be seeing a lightly face-lifted 2012 Mercedes C-class at dealers in September, but it will be at least another year until shoppers can opt for an oil-burning powerplant underhood. The diesel sedan would arrive sooner, but Mercedes is still trying to keep up with strong worldwide demand for its four-cylinder diesels in markets where those engines are an absolute necessity for sales. When it does hit our shores, we suspect it’ll do quite well. Although sales of BMW’s oil-burning 335d have been slow as a result of its high sticker price, modest fuel economy, and superfluous torque, the four-cylinder diesel in the C-class should steer clear of most, if not all, of those issues.

If you’re keeping count, adding the S-, C-, and GLK-classes to the diesel mix adds up to only seven models. When asked about where that eighth diesel will end up, a Mercedes spokesperson coyly tells us, “there’s a lot of calendar between now and 2014.” We take that to mean vehicle number eight will be a new model, quite possibly one of Mercedes’ planned small front-wheel-drive cars, with the GLC small crossover being the most likely candidate. Either that or a diesel SLS. (We kid.)

Mercedes Benz High Mileage Badge – Award Requirements and Application Information for Your High Mile Mercedes

Do you have a high mileage Mercedes-Benz vehicle? I see a lot of cars with more than 250,000 kilometers (155,000 miles) on their odometers that are eligible for a cool grille badge from Mercedes-Benz, many owners don’t realize these awards are available, a neat ittle trinket to dress up your car and show some pride in your ride.

Mercedes-Benz first introduced the High Mileage Award in the 1960s to recognize the Mercedes-Benz vehicles still on the road that reach well over 100,000 miles, with some even passing the 1 million mile mark. The program continues on today.

If your car is over 155,000 miles, you are eligible for a 250,000km grille badge, there is a list of each milestone below. You can download a High Mileage badge application here at MBUSA. Part of the process is having your mileage verified, any Mercedes-Benz dealer can do that, then you send in your application. The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center will send you a certificate and grille badge.

Award Milestones
155,000 miles (250,000 kilometers)
312,000 miles (500,000 kilometers )
466,000 miles (750,000 kilometers )
625,000 miles (1,000,000 kilometers)
1,000,000 miles (1,610,000 kilometers)

Mercedes-Benz High Mileage champ is Gregorios Sachinidis, a Greek taxi driver.

According to MBUSA: “The current Mercedes-Benz High Mileage champ is Gregorios Sachinidis, a Greek taxi driver who holds the known record of more than 2.8 million miles in his 1976 Mercedes-Benz 240D.”

How did I know the high mile champ would be driving a diesel?

Mercedes-Benz Diesel by the Numbers: A Case Study

I’ve been thinking about gas mileage recently. It seems to be on people’s minds, it’s always been a factor when car shopping I suppose, but my experience this past week shows me that gas mileage really does affect a purchase decision, in some cases, even makes the decision. I’d like to discuss Mercedes-Benz diesel options first. One common objection to the diesel option is “It’s more expensive than gas” after my analysis I don’t think that’s a valid objection at all, you’ve got to look at the numbers.

On Thursday I had a couple come in and trade in their 2007 Chevy Tahoe in on a new GL350 BlueTEC diesel. They live outside the Twin Cities and commute in, easily putting more than 100 miles on their SUV everyday. They need the space of an SUV to haul kids and their stuff, a car isn’t an option for them.

Yesterday a previous Feldmann Imports customer came in with his 2008 Mercedes-Benz S550 4matic sedan that had slightly less than 14,000 miles on it and traded it in on a 2010 S class Hybrid because he feels it’s the responsible thing to do… trade in his big V8 for an electrically assisted V6 Hybrid, he wasn’t using the almost 400 horsepower in the S550 anyway. Hybrids are a great option and we’ll discuss the new Mercedes-Benz Hybrid options in greater detail later this month.

When I look around the showfloor at Feldmann Imports I see an ML450 Hybrid SUV, the gorgeous S400 Hybrid, the first hybrid on the planet to use extremely efficient lithium ion batteries. I also see the ML350 BlueTEC diesel, and then there’s the GL350 BlueTEC diesel. We haven’t received the diesel version of the new E class sedan yet, but it will be arriving soon enough this Spring.

I was at a board meeting for the Twin Cities Section of the Mercedes-Benz Club the other night and got to talking to board member Jim Walrath. He owns a 2008 Mercedes-Benz  ML320 CDI diesel. Jim is a Mercedes diesel disciple to say the least, each time I see him he mentions how much he loves the ML diesel. He related that on a recent trip from Northwest Wisconsin where he lives to Boston and back he averaged 30.1 mpg in the ML320 CDI diesel while on the highway, at speed limit speeds.

According to Jim the “overall average was a little bit less at about 27.6.  We put on quite a few miles of inefficient city driving so the average was pulled down. Total miles on the trip was 3007.”

Jim went on to tell me more about his ML Diesel, “We have made 35+ mpg on 55 mph highways in northern Iowa.  Overall our mileage has been in the 27+ range but we do put a lot of highway miles on it – is is our vehicle of choice on any trip.”

That’s quite a bit more than the window sticker on that car says. I wanted to do a little research because people often look at me skeptically at the dealership when I mention that the bold EPA estimates on all of the window stickers in our showroom are on the conservative side.

I consulted www.fueleconomy.gov, the website we were told to use last summer during the “Cash For Clunkers” craze when deciding which cars qualified or didn’t qualify for a government rebate for some answers.

I should first mention that starting with model year 2008 the EPA changed the way they test cars for gas mileage, taking in to account the effects of “faster speeds and acceleration, air conditioner use, and colder outside temperatures.” Basically, estimates went down.

According to the fueleconomy.gov website, the sticker on Jim’s ML diesel in 2007 would have said the ML320 CDI 4matic would get 21mpg city / 27 mpg highway. The sticker, for the same vehicle based on today’s ratings would say 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway. And after talking to Jim I know that he gets slightly over 30 mpg highway and over 20 mpg in the city. No doubt, that’s good gas mileage for an SUV that’s got a gross vehicle weight over 6000 pounds and has a towing capacity of 7200 pounds.

According to www.twincitiesgasprices.com it only looks like diesel is about 20 cents more than premium unleaded, which you’ve got to put in every other Mercedes-Benz vehicle anyway. The gas tank in the ML is a touch over 25 gallons at 20 cents a gallon, so it’s about $5.00 more to fill up the ML 320CDI than a normal gasoline ML350 4matic that has the same fuel capacity.

It comes down to cruising range… according to published vehicle specs the cruising range of the ML diesel on 25.1 gallons of fuel is 577 miles. The same 25.1 gallon capacity in the ML 350 gasoline V6 only has a range of 477 miles. So, the $5.00 extra it took to full up the diesel looks to be money well spent as far as I’m concerned.

In my experience there seem to be two types of customers when it comes to Mercedes-Benz diesels. One is the customer who walks in and says “Where are the diesels? I want to go for a test drive” the second is the customer who responds, “Don’t even bother telling me about them, I don’t want a diesel, I’d never buy one.”

Mercedes-Benz has been making diesel powered vehicles since the 1930s, of course they’ve come a long way, the newest generation of clean diesel BlueTEC engines are the cleanest, most efficient diesel engines ever produced. They’re a far cry from the old 300SD from the mid eighties that would shroud its departure in a screen of black diesel smoke. The new diesels are winning awards around the world for their eco friendly design and they’re certainly worth having a look at.