Mercedes-Benz Vision GL 420 BLUETEC

Debuting at the Detroit Auto Show this month will be Mercedes' latest concept to show a caring, sharing side to big 4x4 ownership. The car features a V8 diesel engine, which develops 216 kW (290 hp) and 700 Nm (515 lb ft) of torque, making the forecasted fuel efficiency for the new SUV to be just 9.8 litres per 100 kilometres (24 mpg).

The company states that "This impressive combination of high power, torque, fuel economy and operating range ensures that Mercedes-Benz BLUETEC® vehicles offer an ideal drive concept for the American market".

BLUETEC® is a modular emissions control system that reduces nitrogen oxides in particular. These are exhaust components from diesel engines, which, as a result of the constraints inherent in the diesel combustion process, exceed the levels generated by petrol engines. Mercedes-Benz has developed two versions of BLUETEC®. In the E Class, an oxidation-type catalytic converter and particulate filter are combined with an improved, extremely durable NOx storage catalytic converter and an additional SCR catalytic converter. The second BLUETEC® version is even more efficient: AdBlue, an aqueous urea solution, is injected into the exhaust gas flow, a process that releases ammonia, which converts up to 80 per cent of the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water in the downstream SCR unit.

In order to be completely effective, BLUETEC® technology for passenger cars and light trucks requires low-sulphur diesel with a sulphur content of less than 15 ppm. This clean fuel, which became available in USA in the autumn of 2006, also reduces the emissions from all diesel engines currently on the market and therefore plays a key role in cutting emission levels in general.

The latest J.D. Power study "Global Outlook For Diesel" forecasts that diesels will account for more than 15 per cent of new registrations in North America by 2015. On this basis, Mercedes-Benz will systematically expand its BLUETEC® range. The company has announced that it intends to offer three new BLUETEC® models (the R, ML and GL Class) – meeting the even more stringent BIN 5 standard – in all 50 US states by as early as 2008.

Text: Classic Driver
Photos: DaimlerChrysler

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