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2008 Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC diesel

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User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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2008 Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC front view

2008 Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC

Photo © Aaron Gold

The Bottom Line

My first E320 BLUETEC test drive was a Mercedes-organized event in which we got to flog the diesel-powered Benz through the desert surrounding Las Vegas. This year I wanted to get some more accurate mileage figures, so Mercedes handed me the keys to a 2008 E320 for a thousand miles of travel. Along with the usual round-town routine, I took the Merc on a trip from L.A. to Palm Springs, then handed it off to SUVs guide Jason Fogelson for a run up the Pacific coast to San Luis Obispo. So how did we do -- or more specifically, how did the diesel Mercedes do? Read on.

Larger photos: Front - rear - interior - all photos

Pros

  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Strong passing power
  • Costs only $1000 more than a gas-powered E-Class
  • Luxurious cabin

Cons

  • Fuelling can be a messy, smelly process
  • Lots of tire noise
  • Complicated stereo controls

Description

  • E320 BLUETEC is the diesel-powered version of Mercedes' mid-level E-class sedan
  • Price range: $53,025 - $64,450
  • Price as tested: $62,045
  • EPA fuel economy estimates: 23 MPG city, 32 MPG highway

Guide Review - 2008 Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC diesel

The Mercedes-Benz E320 BLUETEC reinforces everything I believe about modern diesel cars -- they're economical, powerful, virtually odor-free, and fairly quiet. (The E320 does sound a bit like a Super Duty pickup at low speed, but by 25 MPH the tire thrum drowns out the diesel din. God bless the Germans and their lack of regard for road noise!) The E320 isn't particularly quick off the line, but with 400 lb-ft of torque, its passing power is comparable to a Saturn V rocket. Jason commented, "Mercedes has this powertrain perfectly dialed in. I drove 80 MPH the whole way and averaged 30 MPG."

My highway experience echoed Jason's: Similar MPH, similar MPG. Experimentation showed that slowing down a bit yielded big mileage gains. Set the cruise for 65 and I'm sure the diesel E would approach 35 MPG.

In town, the E320 averaged in the mid-20s; overall fuel economy for the week was just over 28 MPG. For comparison, I averaged 30 MPG in a Nissan Sentra and 20 MPG in a Cadillac CTS under similar conditions.

How do the economics work out? The E320 is priced just $1,000 higher than the gasoline-powered E350. Diesel is pricier at the pumps -- we paid $70 to fill up -- but don't forget that most cars in this class (including gas-powered Es) require premium gas, and while diesel is priced 10-20% higher, it yields 30-50% better mileage. And then there's the novelty of getting 550+ miles between fill-ups.

What about the rest of the car? I think the E's cabin is one of the best luxury interiors out there. Jason disagrees: He hated the ergonomics and cursed the complicated stereo controls. He's got a point: I'd like the E a lot better if it were as user-friendly as a Lexus. Still, I think the E320 BLUETEC proves the point about diesel: It's fast, efficient, and great to live with. Were I buying a $60k luxury car, the E320 BLUETEC would be at the top of my list.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Amazing - Simply Amazing!, Member benzboy1

Consider this - when new, the 2008 E Class Bluetec was $1,000 more than the gasoline version. Check the current NADA retail values - you'll find the $1000 premium has grown to $6000 on the used market! I bought my 2008 lease return in Sept 2010 - it had 10k miles and 1 year 3 months left on factory warranty. Yeah, the nav is clunky. Try using the ""Home"" destination function - you may find the prior owner's address - then call them to find out more history on the car (this won't work if they lived in a condo!). Or, Benz Service departments don't mind running the VIN to see if the car has had required service. You need a Bluetooth adapter for which Benz dealers charge almost $500! But, you can get 'em all day long on E Bay for around $120 - and then, my goodness, you can hear your callers on the 10 speaker Harmon Kardon stereo - which self mutes when you choose to take the call by a button on the steering wheel! For an extra kick, try having your passenger call you from their cell and then listen to the feedback! Nifty indeed. The rush of 400 ft lbs twisting seven gears is something else. The mileage is incredible too - without overdoing the ""boost - rush"" thing, I regularly get 30+ mpg in mixed city / hiway traffic. Sticking to 60 mph on the freeway (sans traffic jam) you'll see 35+ mpg all the time. I got my license in 1964 - the year of the first GTO which began the muscle car era. Driving the Bluetec is having one's muscle car cake in a very green flavor. Its funny - my neighbors kneel down to sniff the exhaust - they just don't believe that they can't smell diesel at all - in fact, they can't detect any odor. Oh yeah, don't get mixed up on the ""Adblue"" urea fluid - you don't worry about this on the E Class - there is no urea system needed. The SUVs on the other hand, require the urea to buffer more pollutants because the engines work harder on the heavier SUVs. Another curious fact - the Bluetec was introduced to the US market BEFORE it went on sale in Europe (where 50% of new vehicles sold are diesel). Wonder why? The Germans keep Benzmobiles long term and so the vehicles are made to their standard. Maybe the marketing folks did the same for this particular model? Imagine, a car that'll chirp tires, get to 60 in 6.6 seconds, return 35+ mpg on highways and last a long time. What more could anybody want? Yup, I did lots of homework before buying this car - might not have done it if the CDs paid more than 1%. I'm getting lots more fun out of this car than having the $$ sit in CDs.

56 out of 56 people found this helpful.

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