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by Tim Beissmann

Mercedes-Benz will unveil two highly efficient E-Class hybrids at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit: the E 300 BlueTEC diesel and the E 400 petrol.

With official fuel consumption figures as low as 4.2 litres per 100km, Mercedes-Benz plans to roll out both models across the world in 2012 in right- and left-hand drive.

The E 300 will be launched in Europe initially, while the E 400 will hit North American showrooms before heading to Japan, China and other markets.

Mercedes-Benz Australia’s Jerry Stamoulis said the local division was investigating the details of both models and talking with the factory about the availability of right-hand drive vehicles.

The E 300 diesel-hybrid combines a 150kW/500Nm 2.1-litre four-cylinder diesel engine with a 20kW/250Nm electric motor. Incorporating start/stop technology, regenerative braking, pure electric mode and highway “sailing” mode, the E 300 uses just 4.2L/100km on the combined cycle and emits 109g/km of CO2. To put that in perspective, Lexus’s compact CT 200h petrol-hybrid uses 3.9L/100km combined. The E 300 hybrid is approximately 15 per cent more fuel efficient than the E 250 that it borrows its engine from.

The E 400 petrol-hybrid takes the 225kW/370Nm petrol engine from the US-spec E 350 and pairs it with the 20kW/250Nm electric motor. The car uses 8.7L/100km under US standards, which also makes it 15 per cent more efficient than the standard US-spec E 350 (10.2L/100km).

Thanks to Mercedes-Benz’s ‘intelligent modular hybrid concept’, the hybrid technology is flexible and modular, able to be applied to petrol and diesel engines, left- and right-hand drive, and other model series. Mercedes says there is no compromise in interior space or boot capacity in either vehicle, and insists the additional cost will be “only moderate”.

“With these two E-Class models we are now continuing our comprehensive hybrid offensive,” head of Mercedes-Benz Cars development, Thomas Weber, said. “The modular technology opens up a quick way for us to complement other model series with hybrid models. With a clear focus on the different requirements of global markets, we are able to offer precisely the models which our customers want.”

The Mercedes-Benz E 300 and E400 will be unveiled at the Detroit auto show on January 9.




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