At the International Motor Show in Geneva, Mercedes Benz, the inventor of the diesel engine for passenger cars, is showing the future of the modern diesel engine and its wide range of possible uses.
In Geneva, seven gleaming silver show cars, including even purebred sports cars such as the SL- and SLK-Classes, represent the most advanced diesel technology. At the same time, these vehicles are the latest high point in the extraordinary development of the diesel.
The story began seven decades ago, in 1935, when Mercedes Benz introduced the world’s first diesel passenger car in a small production series - the 260 D. To date, the Mercedes brand has produced more than seven million diesel passenger cars, and is a leader in the development of diesel technology. In recent years especially, the engines have been greatly improved as a result of tremendous advances in all areas.
For decades, the diesel engine was recognised only for its long service life: reliable and robust, certainly, but also suffering from a reputation for being a bit boring. Over time, this perception of the diesel has been replaced by an entirely new image: today, modern diesel engines are associated with attributes such as sportiness, agility, driving comfort and driving pleasure and, not least, environmental compatibility. And Mercedes engineers have played a vital role in this transformation.
This amazing development is most clearly confirmed by taking a look at the figures: the world’s first diesel car, for example, the Mercedes Benz 260 D from 1935, generated a paltry 45 hp, which corresponds to 17.7 hp per litre of engine displacement. In the new C 320 CDI, the recently introduced V6 diesel engine generates 224 hp from three litres of displacement - which is equivalent to 75 hp/l; in other words, more than four times the power of its 70 year old ancestor.
Equally dramatic was the increase in torque, the decisive factor in generating power from low engine speeds. From 98 Nm in the 170 D of 1949, torque has risen to 510 Nm in the current C 320 CDI. Or, to put it another way, the roughly 55 Nm per litre of displacement available in 1949 has been replaced by today’s 170 Nm, a more than three-fold increase.
This is a 15-year+ news article, from our Mercedes Benz archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
If in doubt check with your local Mercedes Benz dealer as car prices and technical data will have changed since 2005.
Although our car news is published in good faith, we cannot guarantee it to be error free or complete or up-to-date.
Mercedes Benz Images may not be UK specification cars. Colours and exterior and/or interior elements may differ from actual models.
The car news and images remain the copyright of the rights holder and may not be used without their consent.