More power and lower emissions using fewer pistons is all the rage these days, and not just when it comes to gasoline engines.
Similar advancement of diesel-powered vehicles continues at a rapid pace and the 2014 E250 BlueTEC 4MATIC sedan is the latest example of the automaker's considerable experience in this field. Ultimately it's a car that can't be ignored by buyers with a taste for the Finer Things and a penchant for cutting fuel costs.
Mercedes-Benz first developed dieselpowered passenger cars back in 1936 and introduced them to the North American market 13 years later.
Back then those noisy and somewhat odiferous beasts were low on power, although their highly efficient powertrains were considered unbreakable. Today, turbocharged diesel technology -also pioneered by Mercedes-Benz -is as clean as a proverbial whistle, while still offering the twin benefits of impressive fuel economy along with equally stellar get-up-and-go.
The E250 BlueTEC sedan is the latest example of M-B's diesel expertise. It's also the newest member of the wide ranging E-class family that includes sedans, coupes, convertibles, wagons, a gasoline-electric hybrid and a performance sedan that wears the AMG label. The E250 replaces the E350 turbo-diesel as the entry-point sedan for the 2014 model year. The outgoing car's 3.0-litre V6 was rated at 210 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, while the E250's 2.1-litre four-cylinder compression-ignition engine delivers a still-decent 195 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. But what's really decent is the E250's 7.4 l/100 km city rating and 4.6 highway numbers that crush the 2013 E350 BlueTEC's 9.4/5.9 rating and the 2014 gasoline-powered E300 V6's 11.1/7.0 stats. Connected to the turbo-diesel - in fact, to all E-class models - is a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Mercedes-Benz's latest 4MATIC allwheel-drive system is standard on the E250 in addition to all other E-class sedans except the special-order E400 Hybrid.
The BlueTEC part of the E250 name refers to AdBlue, which is a water-based solution that's injected just ahead of a special catalytic converter to clean up the exhaust gases.
The AdBlue reservoir contents will last for about 16,000 kilometres and is topped up by the dealer, usually during oil changes. An instrument-panel warning light indicates when this service is required.
The twin-turbocharged four-cylinder is a stellar performer on many fronts. There's only a trace of typical diesel clatter at startup that completely disappears once under way. There's also plenty of punch when accelerating from rest or slow speeds, but that shouldn't surprise anyone given the engine's generous torque rating that peaks a low -and very usable -1,800 rpm.
Mercedes-Benz's testing indicates a zero-to-100-km time for the E250 in 7.9 seconds, which is an admirable number for any four-cylinder engine with the task of propelling a 1,845-kilogram sedan. Passing at highway speeds, the E250 isn't quite the tiger that it is around town, but it's by no means a whiteknuckle experience.
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