With its powerful V8 diesel engine, which develops 290 hp and a massive 700 Nm (515 lb-ft) of torque, the “Vision GL420 BLUETEC” offers the very highest level of performance. Yet this same compression-ignition engine complies with the stringent U.S. “BIN 5” emissions standard, just 9.8 liters per hundred kilometers (24 mpg) and therefore has a range of up to 600 miles on a full tank. These impressive figures underline yet again that BLUETEC vehicles are ideally suited to the American market where strong customer demand (especially in the SUV segment) for vehicles with torquey, large-displacement engines is coupled with the need to comply with stringent exhaust-emission regulations. Furthermore, higher fuel prices mean that models with better fuel economy are becoming increasingly popular.
The unique styling of the “Vision GL420 BLUETEC” adds visual emphasis to this model’s special status and also addresses the US Mercedes-Benz customers’ wish for vehicles with an even greater degree of exclusivity and a strong, individual identity. The revised, distinctively sculpted front with the dominant radiator grill serves as a visual idiom for the exceptional performance of the V8 diesel engine and lends the “Vision GL420 BLUETEC” a sense of dynamic forward movement, even when stationary. This assertive look is complemented by the flared fenders, impressive 21-inch wheels and running boards. As a result, this exceptional vehicle study is one of the undisputed highlights – both in terms of looks and technology – of the 2007 NAIAS, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
The latest J.D. Power study “Global Outlook For Diesel” forecasts that diesels will account for more than 15 percent of new registrations in North America by 2015. In the light of this, Mercedes-Benz will systematically expand its BLUETEC range. The company has announced that it intends to offer three further BLUETEC models in the R-, ML- and GL-Class – meeting the even more stringent BIN 5 standard – in all 50 US states as early as 2008. However, BLUETEC vehicles are not just the cleanest diesel models in the world. They also consume 20 to 40 percent less fuel than comparable vehicles with spark-ignition engines. For example, the E320 BLUETEC – which is already on the market, achieves up to 37 mpg in the highway driving cycle and is distinguished as the most economical vehicle in its class in the U.S.
BLUETEC is a modular emissions control system that reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels in particular. These are the only exhaust components from diesel engines which, as a result of the constraints inherent in the diesel combustion process, still exceed the levels generated by gasoline 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. Here, AdBlue, a non-toxic aqueous solution, is injected into the exhaust gas flow and allows the downstream SCR unit to convert up to 80 percent of the nitrogen oxides into harmless nitrogen and water.