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2008 Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC badgeWith diesel prices on the rise, can a diesel-powered car still save you money? That was what I wanted to find out when I booked a diesel-powered Mercedes E-class for a week of long-distance driving. The results? Check 'em out in my 2008 Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC quick test drive.

Now I'll turn the floor over to you: If you were going to buy a Mercedes E-Class, would you consider the diesel? Why or why not? Click the "comments" link below and let's hear what you have to say. -- Aaron Gold

Photo © Aaron Gold

April 19, 2008 at 2:49 pm
(1) Steve says:

For the most part, I am a fan of Diesel powered cars, for the same reasons that you list in your “pros” for the E320 Mercedes.

But, you left a couple of important considerations out of your “cons” that every potential buyer of a Diesel should be aware of: The fueling process for a Diesel can be extremely unpleasant (smelly, greasy pump nozzles, for example), and oil changes that can be three times (or more) the cost of an oil change in a gasoline powered car.

Here in Georgia, Diesel is currently about $0.65 to 0.75 higher than regular gas. The fuel cost differential plus the exorbitant oil changes should give all potential Diesel buyers pause.

And don’t say, “so, what” about the messiness of fueling a Diesel. I often have to fuel my F-250 at truck stops, since these places are often the only source for fuel. Many times I have been faced with a Diesel fuel pump that sits on a concrete pad that literally reeks of fuel spills by earlier customers. And, if you walk across these greasy spills to get to the pump, your shoes pick up the oil and the smell from the spilled fuel and you will then transfer that smell and mess to your floor mats. Not good.

Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that the plusses outweigh the negatives of Diesel-powered vehicles. But, don’t think that driving a Diesel doesn’t have drawbacks, and some of them are serious.

April 19, 2008 at 3:40 pm
(2) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Steve — A very good point and one I shouldn’t have left out of the article. I added the messy fueling issue to the “cons” list.

April 19, 2008 at 4:33 pm
(3) Johnster says:

I would certainly consider a diesel car, but the Mercedes is really out of my price range. I’m waiting to see what the reviews are of the new diesel Volkswagens that are supposed to be coming in the next year. I would definitely consider a diesel-powered Jetta or Passat.

April 19, 2008 at 8:51 pm
(4) euro dude says:

Steve, the 320D is a great engine. It’s actually a 3 litre engine that mercedes sells in various cars, like everything from C-class up.
You’ll get it as 280 and 320 in normal cars as well as 3.0 in vans. It’s the same thing with modified engine control electronic.
Chrisler sells it in the 300C model.

On the other hand it strikes me odd that the standard US car has plenty of power though you arent allowed to actually use it.
Wouldn’t it be more economic to prefer cars that dont go much faster than the limit but therefore use less gas?

Johnster there is a bluetec Passat and Rabbit, too out, yet. At least in Germany.

Err … I just took a glimpse at the VW US-site. There are 3 Jettas but all have the 2.5 litre 170 bhp engine. That would be like the highest power you could get over here in a Jetta.
Same with the Passat. 200bhp is way over average in the land of the Autobahn. ;)
I checked that. Jettas come with 102-122 bhp in Germany. The 1.9 diesel has 105bhp.

April 20, 2008 at 1:04 pm
(5) Bob Allain says:

Steve has a point – petrol stations in the UK supply latex gloves because once you get any diesel on your hands you can’t get rid of the smell for days. Still like the thought Diesels could be converted to use readily avaiable alternatives outside the control of big oil – how much is a gallon of Mazola cooking oil?

April 23, 2008 at 12:50 pm
(6) Steve D says:

I had a 2007 ML320 (diesel). Mercedes bought it back from me for a problem particular to the MB diesel SUVs. I was treated very well by the company, and in particular by the dealer.

To replace the car I purchased an E class sedan-gas model 2008. I need a 4 wheel drive vehicle and the diesel does not come in 4 wheel drive. I am disappointed I could not get another diesel (and the seven speed transimission), but am delighted with the gas model. With the current gas/diesel price differentiation and extra $1000 cost for the diesel engine, I also felt the economics of the diesel were not compelling.

April 28, 2008 at 4:38 pm
(7) RICH VAN PELT says:

I have a 2008 ML CDI. It’s been almost perfect. I just took it too the dealership and set the cruise on 65 and the gas mileage hit 32 MPG.

But here’s the problem. It’s using oil. About 2800 miles the “check oil at next fill up” popped on. I took it to the dealership and they dropped in a quart of oil. I just hit about 6600 miles and the “check oil at next fill up” popped on”check oil at next fill up” popped on again. That’s why it’s in the dealership. I can not keep taking it into the dealership every 3K miles.

What was your problem?

May 2, 2008 at 3:55 pm
(8) JOhn says:

I have a 2005 CDI. I get nearly 40 mpg highway. Wish it had bluetooth! Love it.

May 7, 2008 at 12:57 pm
(9) Hawaiian Don says:

I would definitely buy this car if it was in my price range. I’d buy it for all the standard reasons,especially gas mileage…but one thing that most of my diesel driving buddies tell me is that the longevity of the diesel engine is at least twice that of a gasoline engine(GM diesels of the 80′s excluded!). If that’s true, than this car would be a great long term driver.

August 8, 2009 at 7:23 am
(10) Trevor says:

I bought a 2007 E320 Bluetec for my wife for her 40th birthday. We have had the car for 4 months and we completely love it. On one long interstate trip we saw 41 mpg on the trip computer. That is very hard to believe but there it was. And this isn’t some lightweight econobox. This is a solid, tank-like luxury car that absolutely eats up the highway miles.

As for the messiness of diesel, my wife hasn’t complained once and she would have if it were the least bit bad.

You should definitely consider this car and engine choice.


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