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Mercedes Planning 40 MPG Hybrid SUV

There's no doubt...diesels are better. Producing more power per gram of CO2 released, new advanced diesel engines can return similar mileage gains as hybrid cars without the pesky dual drivetrain.

Of course, the mileage gets even better with diesel hybrids, as we saw with the 69 MPG Golf TDI that VW was showing off in Geneva. But there was more to the diesel hybrid story than we told. And, since it's a SUV with better gas mileage than my Nissan Sentra...this is some pretty impressive stuff.

Mercedes-Benz used the Geneva Auto Show to showcase the latest addition to its compact SUV lineup, the Vision GLK BlueTec Hybrid. By combining the new BlueTec four-cylinder diesel engine with a hybrid module, the company reckons the car will return fuel consumption of around 40 MPG (5.9l per 100km), and, at 157g/km, achieve the world’s lowest CO2 emissions for the SUV segment.

The company also plans to expand the range in the US with three more diesel-hybrid models sporting the Bluetec moniker, the R320, ML320, and GL320.

Keep reading for the full press release.

Press Release:

The grand rehearsal at the beginning of this year already made heads turn, when the striking Vision GLK entered the SUV stage and was celebrated as a compact character actor marking a new design approach in this vehicle class. At the 2008 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz is going a step further and adding the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID to the line-up. This study illustrates the possibilities of the "TrueBlueSolutions" strategy in the compact SUV segment, true to the guiding Mercedes-Benz theme of producing the world's most efficient and clean drive systems. The Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID achieved this goal by combining the new BLUETEC four-cylinder diesel engine generation with a hybrid module. This combination generates an overall output of 165 kW/224 hp, and a torque of 560 Nm. Superior performance can be taken as read in view of these figures. And yet the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID returns a fuel consumption of only 5.9 l per 100 km.

With its TrueBlueSolutions strategy, Mercedes-Benz is preparing the way for the introduction of the world's most economical and clean vehicles. As in the case of the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID, ultra-modern and efficient diesel engines with innovative BLUETEC emissions control, hybrid modules and intelligent energy management are among the centrepieces of this trailblazing generation of drive systems. The study for this compact characterful SUV has a combined output of 165 kW/224 hp and generates a combined torque of 560 newton metres, the world's highest in this class. This enables the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds; its maximum speed is 215 km/h. Despite these performance figures, this multi-talented newcomer consumes an average of only 5.9 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres, and achieves the world's lowest CO2 emissions in the SUV segment, with 157 grams per kilometre.
In conjunction with highly efficient BLUETEC emissions control and AdBlue injection, the GLK BLUETEC HYBRID meets the world's most stringent exhaust emission limits, such as the American BIN5 and the European EU6 standards.
"With the refinement, driving pleasure, outstanding economy and effective environmental friendliness that is typical of our brand, the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID ideally represents our ideas on future model generations in the world of SUVs", says Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Corporate Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
Mixed double: state-of-the-art BLUETEC engine and hybrid module
In the hybrid drivetrain, a completely new four-cylinder CDI diesel unit with a displacement of 2.2 litres acts as the internal combustion engine. In terms of exhaust emissions technology, thanks to the latest BLUETEC technology with AdBlue injection, this diesel engine is already among the world's very cleanest power units. The technical highlights of this extremely compact and refined CDI unit with a geared camshaft drive mounted on the flywheel side include fourth-generation common-rail direct injection with an injection pressure of 2000 bar, innovative piezoelectric injectors and a two-stage turbocharger system. The compact hybrid module - a disc-shaped electric motor between the CDI engine and the automatic transmission - improves both the environmental compatibility and the effectiveness of the drive system. The electric motor acts as both a generator and starter, and performs convincingly in two important respects: firstly it contributes decisively to fuel economy, and secondly it significantly enhances driving pleasure by virtue of the so-called boost effect.
The electric motor backs up the internal combustion engine during the fuel-intensive acceleration phase by contributing its maximum torque of 160 newton metres. As a result the occupants experience an effortless rush of power right from the start. In addition the system features a comfortable start-stop function which switches the engine off in certain circumstances - for example when the car is stopped at traffic lights.
The driver only needs to operate the accelerator in order to set off again. As the engine starts within milliseconds, the VISION GLK moves off with no delay. This direct starting also helps to minimise emissions and fuel consumption.
When it comes to braking, the procedures are reversed: the electric motor acts as
a generator, feeding the electrical energy obtained by what is known as the "recuperation" process into an efficient yet compact lithium-ion battery. This energy can be retrieved when needed - for the next "boost" phase, for example. All these processes take place fully automatically, thanks to intelligent drive management.
Striking body design counters stylistic uniformity
With the VISION GLK BLUETEC HYBRID, a distinctive character is entering the SUV stage whose special appeal lies in a combination of the four-square original design of the legendary G-Class and the typical design features of today's Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Crisp lines and large taut body surfaces come together with the bodyshell characteristics of practical off-roaders, such as short overhangs, an upright front end, slim A-pillars, a steep windscreen and tight roof contours. For the first time, this body design enables typical off-roader advantages to be transferred to the more road-oriented, compact SUV class. An excellent view of the vehicle body and good all-round visibility go together with the raised seating position to enhance day-to-day suitability and ensure relaxed driving even in dense city traffic. The appealing design concept is reinforced by the special "alubeam blue" paint finish, whose incomparable depth further underlines the sporty aspects of the bodyshell design. Specially produced 20-inch light-alloy wheels and muscular wheel arches enhance the powerful aura of the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID even further.
Interior: High-end atmosphere meets good ergonomics
The comfortable, high-quality interior of the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID excels with a modern interpretation of surface styling, an impressive quality of materials and precise finishing. The dominant feature is the dashboard, which visually extends into the door panels, lending additional width to the generously dimensioned interior. An elegant, central section in brushed aluminium trim covers the entire width and divides the layout into three vertical levels. The upper section of the dashboard is lined in black leather, encompassing the instrument cluster and the fixed COMAND APS central display. The lower area of the interior and the seats accentuate the sporty nature of the study with leather upholstery and linings in a light shade of aquamarine, which echoes the colour effects of the "alubeam blue" exterior paintwork. Dark-blue piped seams provide a visually effective contrast. The driver's armrest and the COMAND APS controller are located in ergonomically ideal positions.
The occupants are protected by a comprehensive safety concept based on an extremely rigid passenger cell and energy-absorbing deformation zones at the front and rear. In addition to airbags, sidebags and windowbags, the protective features include a driver kneebag and active head restraints.
VISION GLK appointments at the perceived level of the luxury class
This compact concept vehicle has technical features and appointments which are normally the preserve of higher vehicle classes. In addition to the anticipatory safety concept PRE-SAFE and the Intelligent Light System (ILS), these include the infotainment centre COMAND APS with HDD navigation, whose controls follow the tried-and-tested, intuitive operating logic familiar from the S-Class, as well as THERMOTRONIC 3-zone automatic climate control.
The extremely stable bodyshell raises the basic parameters by which comfort is defined to a level which is unprecedented in the compact SUV segment: Both handling stability and vibration/noise comfort are absolutely convincing in all conditions.
AGILITY CONTROL: Safety plus dynamic handling and comfort
The AGILITY CONTROL suspension of the on-road Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID substantially reconciles the conflicting aims of sporty and agile handling on the one hand and comfortable, smooth travel on the other. Thanks to "amplitude-dependent damping", the suspension delivers a soft response during normal travel on moderately contoured roads or unmetalled surfaces. Comfort is maintained even when driving more briskly or during avoiding manoeuvres, as the dampers work harder in this situation to ensure maximum handling stability. At the same time the driver of the Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID is assisted by a speed-sensitive steering system. Parking and low-speed manoeuvring are made much easier because full servo assistance is made available. At higher speeds this servo assistance is reduced in the interests of improved handling stability.
Latest addition to the premium SUV segment
Mercedes-Benz has occupied the leading position in the off-road sector since the introduction of the legendary G-Class in 1979. With the first-generation ML-Class, which was launched in 1997, Mercedes-Benz defined the Sports Utility Vehicle in its modern interpretation. Together with the current model, which celebrated its premiere in 2005, sales of this model series are rapidly approaching the one million mark, making it one of the world's most successful premium SUVs. Since 2006 another SUV from Mercedes-Benz has occupied the pole position in the SUV world - the GL-Class, whose occupants enjoy first-class travel in all circumstances, whether on or off-road.
The Vision GLK BLUETEC HYBRID now demonstrates how outstanding performance could be paired with minimal fuel consumption in the future. What is more, this combination need not be confined to the new GLK-Class, which will enter the market in autumn 2008.
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Comments (7)Add Comment
0
Hybrids*
written by Wyatt, April 06, 2008
wow M-b haz a Hybird?
0
Diesels
written by BBM, April 06, 2008
Diesels, like gasoline engines, have their pros and cons.

Diesel engine mechanics are more efficient than gasoline type engines (though this distance is closing with direct injection gasoline tech etc). Diesel also has more energy in it per unit volume than gasoline does (and it takes more crude oil to make a gallon of diesel than a gallon of gasoline).

However, diesel is a pretty nasty fuel, and the tech to make its exhaust clean is very expensive. About as much as hybrid tech. Even the latest Tier 2 Bin 5 diesels are MUCH dirtier than a modern gasoline engine (interms of particulates, NOx emissions etc).

Even if the diesel cycle engines had no cons, it's not like you can "tune" distillation of crude oil to just create diesel (or gasoline for that matter). The crude is distilled into certain fractions... light (gasoline), medium (kerosene), heavier (diesel), and very heavy (heating/fuel oil). The relative fractions depend on the qualities of the feedstocks.

So when you refine oil, you always get some gasoline and some diesel (and other products). In fact, before the invention of the gas engine, gasoline was basically considered a waste product from refining.

As a result, it is not like you can solve any of the big problems facing us merely by switching everyone to a diesel engine. Something would have to be done with the gasoline created in the refining process.
0
Cleanest SUV ever
written by SocraticGadfly, April 06, 2008
Uh, BBM, M-B says this will be the cleanest SUV out; I assume that includes cleaner than any of Toyota's gasoline-hybrid SUVs.
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Diesels are evil
written by Bill Simpson, April 07, 2008
Diesel nano particulates are going to be this century's asbestos scandal.
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@ SocraticGadfly
written by BBM, April 07, 2008
Uh, BBM, M-B says this will be the cleanest SUV out; I assume that includes cleaner than any of Toyota's gasoline-hybrid SUVs.

Read carefully. They say thet they will have the lowest CO2/mile of any SUV (not saying much really). That's only part of the exhaust.

Unless MB is using new magic technology, particulates and NOx are MUCH higher in diesels, even the new "clean" diesels, than a gasoline engine. MUCH higher.
0
Absurd Vehicle
written by jungle, April 09, 2008
Great, we now have an SUV that (allegedly) does 40mpg.

Fantastic.

Except most diesel cars - even large ones - already do 40mpg or better on average, if they're not SUVs.

This wouldn't really matter, apart from the fact that this car and others like it will just generate a lovely illusion of combatting global warming while doing nothing whatsoever.

People will buy one of these, and imagine they can now be totally 'green' without changing their lifestyle at all - they can even have a really huge car. It demonstrates 'green living' needn't be a sacrifice, yes? They may even decide to drive more, now they have a 'green' SUV - after all, what harm can it do? We've solved the problem now, stop worrying about it, more motorways please!
0
...
written by Steve Barker, April 09, 2008
Nice reply Absurd Vehicle.

I was overtaken, illegally due to excess speed, half an hour ago by a brand new, very big, Mercedes 4x4. I remember thinking that I would not want to swop it for my 4 year old Rover 25. The Rover does 45 mpg (actual), does not have a PM10 problem, and is not so prestigious that I can not load it with wood for the wood burner ;D

I said to my other half that, with the Rover I did not have to fear Green taxes, but that the Mercedes owner would probobly be highly anti fuel tax, yet they buy the right to pay large amounts :o

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