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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Aug 23, 2004

By: The LACar Editorial Staff



The E Class is a wonderfully splendid machine in all its variations. Then the CDI keys were placed in my hands. I didn’t know what to expect! Diesel and Mercedes, do these words go together or repel each other like magnets of common polarity? Many an older Benz travels this state with a turbo diesel up front and a chimney in the back. The stigma continues with the marble in a coffee can acoustical symphony. This car utterly obliviates that image. With only a slight tapping noticeable on start up with the door open, nearly all trace disappears upon closing the doors. Turns out the CDI is no more annoying than the Mercedes 2.3 kompressor motor.

The motor is a surprise and then some. The diesel machine has three strong reasons as to make one a true believer in diesel power. With fuel costs rising, the diesel alternative becomes worthwhile. Not only does diesel fuel cost less per gallon, but also as an added bonus this motor gets better than par mileage especially compared with its gasoline counterpart. The car delivers ten miles per gallon better. That’s a 37 % gain! I gracefully cruise a sparsely populated highway at 43 mpg according to the onboard computer. Although being able to maintain these numbers isn’t always possible, it nevertheless is impressive. Diesel engines have a tendency of being durable, real durable! While most buyers of luxury cars can and do turn them in long before the miles rack up, those that keep them can expect many years of life from the CDI.

Lastly, and most gratifyingly, the E320 CDI produces more power. Torque is way up at 369 lbs. This machine can scale walls or at least most mountain passes with ease. This is no less a refined transport than any of the other E Class models. Anyone familiar with what a luxury car is will be right at home in this car. Those truckers in the big eighteen-wheeler tractor-trailer rigs will be looking down with a healthy appreciation of the CDI and just possibly a small dose of jealousy.

On the down side, this vehicle does not comply with new vehicle emission regulations within California as well as four other states and cannot be registered in those states. How long before the legislation changes or the emissions discharged from the tailpipe improve is anyone’s guess. In the mean time, keep your fingers crossed!

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SPECIFICATIONS Price: $53,385 Engine type: Inline six cylinder, cast iron block, Aluminum cylinder head, Double overhead camshaft, duplex chain-driven, four valves per cylinder, Common-rail direct diesel injection, turbocharger, intercooler, compression ignition Horsepower: 201 @ 4,200 rpm Torque: 369 lb.-ft @ 1,800-2,600 rpm Drive configuration: Front engine / rear-wheel drive Transmission type: Five-speed electronically controlled automatic with Touch Shift and driver-adaptive shift logic Suspension: Front: Upper and lower control arms, coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar Rear: Five-link, coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar Wheels and tires: Front: 8.0 x 16-in. 5 twin-spoke (8.5 x 17-inch 5-spoke with Sport package), 225/55 R 16 all-season (245/45 ZR 17 with Sport package) Rear: 8.0 x 16-in. 5 twin-spoke (8.5 x 17-inch 5-spoke with Sport package), 225/55 R 16 all-season (245/45 ZR 17 with Sport package) Brakes: Front: Disc Solid, with single-piston floating calipers 11.6 in (295 mm) diameter, 1.10 in (28 mm) rotor thickness Rear: Solid, with single-piston fixed calipers 11.8 in (300 mm) diameter; 0.39 in (10 mm) rotor thickness Electronic, power-assisted 4-wheel vented discs with 4-channel ABS anti-lock, Brake Assist and electronic brake proportioning Overall length: 189.7” Overall width: 71.3” Overall height: 57.2 Curb weight (lbs.): 3,835 EPA mile age estimates City/ Highway: 27/37 Top Speed, mph: 130 (electronically limited) 0-60 mph: 6.6

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