01.10.2012
By Terry Flanagan

Mercedes-Benz Debuts Eco-Friendly Lineup

For 2012, the German luxury automaker has unveiled a new line of clean diesel and hybrid vehicles, releasing both clean diesel and hybrid technology-powered versions of its S class (alongside its gasoline-powered sibling within the same class).

With this latest diesel debut, the S class joins the ML350 SUV, which was previously the only Mercedes Benz in the United States with clean diesel technology under the hood. Clean diesel–a form that contains fewer sulfur and nitrogen compounds that combine to create smog and acidic rain–has gained popularity in Europe over recent years, given sky-high gasoline prices and increasingly tighter fuel efficiency and emissions regulations. Here in the U.S., clean diesel has been slower to gain traction, partly due to diesel engines’ failure to meet emissions standards, and partly due to a reputation in past decades as a chortling smoke-belcher. With recent technological developments both within diesel engines and with diesel fuel itself, Mercedes hopes to advance its BLUETEC vehicles as a high performance, super efficient, ultra-low emissions wonder.

Mercedes hasn’t stopped there, however. Finally catching up to Lexus and its fleet of hybrid luxury autos (Toyota is the parent company for Lexus), Mercedes is also debuting a hybrid version of the S-class, which, like its clean diesel sibling, is said to perform amply but does not quite possess the performance and accelerating power found in Lexus hybrids…or in the gasoline versions of the S-class.

No matter: the German cars are still arriving, and with style. Last night, the automaker featured its BLUETEC vehicles to chauffeur Hollywood A-listers to the Palm Springs International Film Festival–a bold marketing move to reach celebrities who, in the past, had embraced the Toyota Prius as the only eco-friendly option.┬áPriced to start at $92,000, those seeking a highly efficient and low-emissions luxury performance auto can now look to two major automakers’ offerings.

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