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Mercedes-Benz launches S350 BlueTEC Mercedes Benz certainly has a lot to celebrate as they enter the 2010 festive season. Besides sales gains in numerous key areas manifesting the much anticipated swing in the global auto market, they have also squeezed into the year a new highly efficient S350 BlueTEC model whilst celebrating the one-millionth 6-cylinder diesel engine out of their Berlin plant. The Berlin plant heads up the development and manufacturing of many of Mercedes-Benz’s latest innovations and fuel efficiency programmes, and since 2007 has been producing the BlueTEC variant of said V6 engines.

In the E350 BlueTEC, they generate a power output of 155kW at a fuel consumption rate of 6.8-litres/100 km, meeting EU6 emission regulations planned for 2014. Production of the upgraded variant of the V6 diesel engine is currently starting up at the Berlin plan and will be premiered in the new Mercedes-Benz R350 CDI 4MATIC, in which the six-cylinder engine combines the high performance of a V8 model with the low fuel consumption of an economical V6 variant. It offers a maximum power output of 195 kW while undercutting its predecessor’s fuel consumption level by 0.8-litres/ 100 km. In addition to the diesel engines and the high-tech V12 engines, a new generation of transmission-integrated electric motors for Mercedes-Benz hybrid models will also go into production in Berlin in 2012. A shop offering 4000 m² of production space is currently being converted for this new field of production. In all, the company is investing around 40 million Euros in the development and production of the new engine, with half of this sum earmarked for facilities and equipment at the plant. A team of 50 will be concerned with the development and production of the new electric motors in the future.

The difference between BlueTEC and BlueEFFICIENCY is fairly simple. BlueEFFICIENCY is a culmination of efficiency tweaks and technologies widely used by manufacturers aiming to reduce emissions while improving economy through various measures such as lighter, more efficient and less power-hungry components, along with supporting design cues and fuel management wizardry. BlueTEC refers to Mercedes-Benz’s more in house, unique innovations such as “simulation technology”, which goes further in reducing harmful gas emissions by performing far more intense analysis of the engine’s operating parameters and applying adjustments thereto, while also making use of new componentry such as a three way catalytic converter, SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) and NOx storage catalytic converters and particulate filters. Simulation technology is a modular concept aimed at reducing nitrogen oxide levels by means of engine optimisation measures; these are supplemented by an intelligent exhaust gas after-treatment system that operates without additional service fluids and reduces further emissions. In the case of the diesel engine, the experts are focussing their attention above all on the emission of nitrogen oxides and particulates. Future exhaust systems, for instance, will as a rule combine filters and catalytic converters, whereby interaction between the individual components must be taken into account. These components also communicate once more with the combustion process within the engine: the exhaust system, for example, informs the engine when the particulate filter is full and the engine in turn must react accordingly. Another very interesting trick in Mercedes-Benz’s BlueTEC box of secrets is that of chemically treating gaseous emissions prior to atmospheric release (which also goes a small way in further improving fuel economy). BlueTEC technology reduces emissions from diesel vehicles, in particular nitrogen oxides by injecting “AdBlue”, an aqueous urea solution, into the exhaust flow. This releases ammonia, which converts up to 80% of nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water in the downstream SCR catalytic converter. The AdBlue tank is installed under the luggage compartment floor and has a capacity of 25.7 litres. The fluid is replenished in line with normal service

intervals of approximately 20 000 kilometres or at any agent as needed. The use of high grade 50ppm or less Diesel fuel is recommended.

The first BlueTEC-model to make it to South Africa is the new S350. With combined fuel consumption statistics of 6.8-litres/100km (CO2 emissions of 177g/km) and a 190kW/620Nm output, the new diesel model is 0.8litres/100km (22g/km) more economical and 35kW more powerful than its predecessor. The S350 BlueTEC combines outstanding safety and comfort plus performance on a par with an eight-cylinder vehicle with the excellent fuel consumption and emission values of a mid-size model. The highly efficient and clean 3-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine assures the luxury saloon of impressive performance, with acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.1 seconds via a 7 speed auto transmission, and a (limited) top speed of 250km/h. Safety features have also been enhanced with new features such as Active Blind Spot Assist (actively signals and controls vehicle in circumstances where a vehicle is in a driver’s blind spot) and Active Lane Keeping Assist (applies braking to guide vehicle between lane markings). A high spec Bang & Olufsen BeoSound AMG system is also available for the S350 BlueTEC (standard on S65 AMG model), which is an impressive 1200 watt, 15 speaker arrangement offering a concert-quality auditory experience. The S 350 BlueTEC is introduced at a retail price of R1 034 880 including a very lightweight CO2 emission tax value of R4 874. Like all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars, the S350 BlueTEC comes standard with the 6 years/120 000 km MobiloDrive maintenance contract and a full vehicle warranty of 2-years/unlimited km. - Kevin Willemse

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