May 3, 2005 With so much competition for global car sales, it helps to launch a car into the market with a significant impetus and there’s no greater testimony to the speed or reliability of a car, or boost to the desirability of a car than a world record. Accordingly, Mercedes Benz’ used such a feat to launch its new V6 CDI diesel engine. It had three cars picked at random off the production line, sealed, taken to a track in Texas and run flat out for 100,000 miles. Each E 320 CDI car ran flawlessly for 30 days straight while averaging 224 kmh (140mph) and an almost unbelievable 40 miles per gallon while satisfying all Californian CARB emission standards. While averaging 140 mph, each vehicle was serviced 10 times in the course of the entire run. The 26-strong team of mechanics changed the engine oil, air and diesel filters during each service stop. That should make the showroom punters take notice! Read on for the full story.

The new Mercedes V6 CDI diesel engine, set to replace the existing five and six-cylinder in-line engines in the next few months, has marked the start of its career with a string of world records. Fitted to three standard-production E 320 CDI models, the new powerplant set new world records for 100,000 kilometres, 50,000 miles and 100,000 miles respectively on the high-speed circuit in Texas.

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Despite the extreme stresses, the maintenance-free diesel particulate filter held up magnificently over the entire record distance without any deterioration in performance – further testimony to the reliability and durability of this exhaust technology. Mercedes-Benz set three cars at once on course for a record at the high-speed circuit in Laredo, Texas; all three successfully covered the record distance, thereby providing proof of the reliability of the E-Class three times over.

To do so, each of the three candidates did no fewer than 20,000 laps. Adding up the distances covered by all three cars gives an impressive total of 300,000 miles (482,802 kilometres) - one-and-a-quarter times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. In addition to the vast distance and dramatic variations in climatic conditions, the vehicles' suspension, chassis and electronics were subjected to particularly severe and relentless punishment from the vibrations generated by the uneven road surface.

The 30 days of torture also proved the durability of the exhaust system with its integrated diesel particulate filter. Indeed, this event was a world first in that it marked the first time that this filter technology had been subjected to such massive and continuous punishment. As established by numerous test series (conducted both in the lab and on the road), success of Mercedes-Benz in this endurance run confirms that volume-manufactured diesel particulate filters can also be relied on to function perfectly over high mileages in everyday use.

Resounding success after 100,000 miles in 30 days

The vehicles were driven by three teams of six drivers, also including the former DTM contestant and current FIA Formula 1 Safety car driver Bernd Mayländer, with each driver taking the wheel for about 2 hours, 10 minutes between refuelling stops.

In total, the record drivers had to stop 966 times in the temporary pits set up alongside the track; refuelling and the obligatory visual check of the vehicle took around 2 minutes on average. Servicing, including the replacement of operating fluids and wear parts, was performed using the customary service interval indicator in the cockpit.

Project manager Jochen Haab: “Our vehicles ran like clockwork. Our mechanics likewise completed the routine servicing and maintenance in a record-breaking time, contributing in no small part to this magnificent achievement.” In addition to the world records over 100,000 kilometres plus 50,000 and 100,000 miles, the three international driver teams set other records:

The following Distance Start International FIA records were set in vehicle category B - production vehicles, Group III - turbo-diesels, Class 11 - swept volume 2,500 – 3,000 cc:

10 kilometres Standing start 204.830 km/h -127.276 mph 10 miles Standing start 212.850 km/h -132.259 mph 100 kilometres Standing start 225.338 km/h - 140.019 mph 100 miles Standing start 217.847 km/h - 135.364 mph 500 kilometres Standing start 210.446 km/h - 130.778 mph 500 miles Standing start 206.502 km/h - 128.315 mph 1,000 kilometres Standing start 205.426 km/h - 127.646 mph 1,000 miles Standing start 204.892 km/h - 127.314 mph 5,000 kilometres Standing start 215.043 km/h - 133.622 mph 5,000 miles Standing start 218.779 km/h - 135.943 mph 10,000 kilometres Standing start 219.794 km/h - 136.574 mph 10,000 miles Standing start 221.268 km/h - 137.490 mph 25,000 kilometres Standing start 223.047 km/h - 138.595 mph 25,000 miles Standing start 224.278 km/h - 139.360 mph 50,000 kilometres Standing start 224.719 km/h - 139.634 mph 1 hour Standing start 216.942 km/h - 134.802 mph 6 hours Standing start 203.990 km/h -126.754 mph 12 hours Standing start 206.087 km/h -128.057 mph 24 hours Standing start 215.533 km/h - 133.926 mph

The following Distance Start International FIA records were set as the absolute best figure among all vehicle categories and classes:

50,000 miles (80,467 kilometres) Standing start 225.456 km/h - 140.092 mph 100,000 kilometres Standing start 225.903 km/h - 140.370 mph 100,000 miles (160,934 kilometres) Standing start 224.823 km/h – 139.699 mph

The world-record run took place under the supervision of the FIA, which sets strict rules for tests of this kind. The Paris-based FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) is the governing body for world-record attempts in the automotive sector

The participating vehicles were selected at random, sealed and shipped to the USA by the FIA officials at DaimlerChrysler’s Sindelfingen plant. Before, during and after the record run, the test vehicles were monitored continuously by the FIA until the world record was recognised officially.

In accordance with the globally recognised regulations, the extent of any repairs which may be performed is limited and the replacement of entire assemblies such as the engine, transmission or exhaust system is not allowed. The three Mercedes E 320 CDI models had no difficulty in meeting these requirements as no major faults occurred during the record run.

Part and parcel of the model range in Europe

Advanced diesel vehicles which are equipped with diesel particulate filters and comply with the EU4 exhaust emissions standard make excellent sense, both economically and ecologically, and are ideally suited to all vehicle categories, as a glance at the current European range of Mercedes-Benz diesel models confirms. In terms of both performance and comfort, diesel engines are firmly established as the equals of petrol powerplants.

The range begins with the 60 kW/82 hp A 160 CDI and extends right up to the new E 420 CDI with its output of 231 kW/314 hp. No less than 20 models on sale in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland already feature a diesel particulate filter as standard, while summer 2005 will see 40 Mercedes-Benz models equipped with this technology. This means that, worldwide, the Stuttgart-based company will be offering more vehicles with diesel particulate filters than any other manufacturer. Mercedes- Benz introduced the particulate filter in autumn 2003 and to date has delivered around 140,000 vehicles with this exhaust technology.

Promising future in the USA

As well as offering superb performance and excellent quality, the Mercedes-Benz diesel models are also outstandingly economical. The fuel consumption figure of 40 mpg achieved by the E 320 CDI is unrivalled by any vehicle in its competitive segment.

Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz engineers have successfully used effective emission control systems to satisfy the strict exhaust emission standards set by the EPA. Through the use of the latest technology it will in future be possible to comply with the Californian CARB (California Air Resources Board) legislation - the strictest in the world - which currently applies in five states.

The potential savings which could be achieved through increased adoption of diesel engines in the USA are enormous.

An increase in the proportion of dieselpowered cars and light commercial vehicles from the present one percent to around thirty percent would save the USA approximately 1.4 million barrels of crude oil per day - equivalent to the entire amount of oil imported by the USA from Saudi Arabia.

If we were to assume a 50 percent market share for diesels, as in western Europe, the potential amount saved in a year would be 133 billion litres!

Many American consumers are already convinced of the benefits of today's advanced diesel powerplants, as demonstrated by the response to the launch of the Mercedes-Benz E 320 CDI.

The company’s sales volume of 3,000 vehicles planned for 2004 sold out in just five months. The diesel engine will also experience fresh impetus following the latest announcements by the Bush Administration. In view of the recent dramatic rises in fuel prices, US President George W. Bush last week announced a programme to develop more fuel-efficient, low-emission vehicles. Together with hybrid vehicles, "clean diesel" models like the Mercedes-Benz E 320 CDI are to be promoted by means of tax incentives to the tune of US$ 2.5 billion over the next few years.

Mercedes diesel technology

The success story of Mercedes diesel passenger cars began 70 years ago Mercedes-Benz is regarded as the pioneer of diesel technology. As early as 1935, the company officially presented the world’s first standard-production diesel passenger car in the form of the 260D.

Other milestones on the way to today's advanced, agile diesel powerplants include the introduction of turbo technology in the seventies, the first particulate filter system in 1985 and the premiere of the common-rail diesel in 1997.

The consistent effort which Mercedes-Benz has put into the evolution of diesel technology over the last 70 years has helped it attain the high regard which it enjoys around the world today. Future developments by the Stuttgart-based company will make the diesel even more attractive, powerful and environmentally compatible. This commitment is acknowledged by customers: Mercedes-Benz has already delivered more than seven million diesel-engined passenger cars; the market share of diesel models is set to rise further in future reflecting the growth seen over the past few decades.

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