WE LOVE a good diesel and we have even more fun blowing a bit of smoke up a petrol-electric hybrid's exhaust pipe.
Mercedes-Benz knows the diesel better than most so it makes sense that it should be the first manufacturer to have a diesel powered passenger model approved for sale in the land of Prius.
MB is rightly proud of this fact with its E 320 CDI being the only diesel powered passenger car that undercuts the tighter long-term emissions limits in Japan (it is also the only diesel passenger vehicle approved for sale in California).
Currently diesels account for less than 0.1 percent of new registrations in Japan but despite this, the E 320 CDI has secured a remarkably high figure of around 20 percent of current E Class orders.
Experts in Japan predict a sharp increase in the market share of diesels to around 15 percent by 2015.
Mercedes-Benz is well poised to take full advantage of this new emerging market for diesel powered cars and has taken full benefit of the Tokyo Motor Show by displaying an enormous range of vehicles including their Bluetec Diesel and Bluetec Hybrid models along with the F700 Diesotto research vehicle.
Also on display is the B-Class F-Cell, which will be the first series-production Mercedes-Benz car fitted with a fuel cell from 2010.
We canâ€™t help thinking that MB has got the 'future formula' right. It will be interesting to see how its strategy plays out in comparison to Toyotaâ€™s desire to turn everything petrol-electric.
Mercedes-Benz also took time out from its comprehensive display of diesel power to launch the new C-Class Estate (pictured above).
More details are available in the press release following the picture gallery.
Mercedes-Benz at the Tokyo Motor Show
At the 40th Tokyo Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz is underscoring its position as the leading premium brand with a veritable pageant of compelling new models and innovative drive solutions. Among its motor show highlights in the homeland of the petrol hybrid, the inventor of the motor car and the diesel passenger car will be showcasing highly efficient, clean BLUETEC HYBRID versions of the C-Class and S-Class. This unique modular drive concept, due to be launched shortly in various models and versions, will be premiered in the new E Class in 2010.
Mercedes-Benz is also showcasing other motor show highlights in Tokyo, such as its groundbreaking F 700 research vehicle with DIESOTTO, the petrol engine of the future, the B-Class F-Cell, which will be the first series-production Mercedes-Benz car fitted with a fuel cell from 2010, and the new C-Class Estate, which is celebrating its Asian premiere in Tokyo and is due for launch in the Japanese market at the start of 2008.
The highly versatile estate version will supplement the C-Class Saloon, which went on sale in the spring in Japanand has already attracted some 7000 buyers. â€œThe success of the new C-Class has decisively helped Mercedes-Benz regain the top spot in September among the premium import brands in Japanâ€, says Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, attending the first international motor show since the group and the passenger car unit were renamed.
The presence of Mercedes-Benz will also be bolstered significantly in Japan over the long term. â€œOn November 1, we will be renaming our company â€˜Mercedes-Benz Japanâ€™â€, says Hans Tempel, President and CEO of DaimlerChrysler Japan.
The long-standing brand, whose excellent reputation in Japan goes back to the legendary cars built for Emperor Hirohito in the 1930s, is also now benefiting from its lead in state-of-the-art diesel technology. For instance, the E 320 CDI is the first and to date only diesel passenger car which undercuts the tighter long-term emissions limits in Japan. Hans Tempel: â€œOur Japanese customers appreciate that. In a passenger car market where diesels currently account for less than 0.1 percent of new registrations, the E 320 CDI has secured a remarkably high figure of around 20 percent of E Class orders.â€
In Japan the experts predict a sharp increase in the market share of diesels to around 15 percent by 2015. Mercedes-Benz is pioneering this development, a development supported energetically by renowned Japanese experts, on the back of environmentally and resource-friendly innovations such as BLUETEC and BLUETEC HYBRID which give customers what they want. In the words of Dr Zetsche: â€œBLUETEC HYBRID is a logical continuation of our globally successful diesel strategy. This modular hybrid concept is the new benchmark for efficient, clean and effortlessly superior driving pleasure in all vehicle segments and, in turn, the powerhouse behind the premium-class car of the future.â€
BLUETEC HYBRID for the cleanest, most efficient premium-class cars
The C 300 BLUETEC HYBRID, a near-production study based on the new C-Class Estate, is a shining example in Tokyo of the outstanding potential of this unique technology. The four-cylinder unit and the hybrid module combined develop 165 kW/224 hp and maximum torque of 560 Nm, on a par with the figures of a large-volume V8 petrol unit. Yet the C 300 BLUETEC HYBRID consumes only 4.6 l/100 km. Mercedes-Benz is also presenting the same drive in an S-Class luxury saloon in Tokyo.
The S 300 BLUETEC HYBRID combines effortlessly superior performance with unrivalled low consumption in this segment of just 5.4 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres, the equivalent of just 142 grams of CO2 per kilometre and thus 57 grams or around 30 percent less than the current worldâ€™s best saloon in the S-Class segment. The S 300 BLUETEC HYBRID has the potential to comply with the world's most stringent emissions standards â€“ for instance the European EU6 or the BIN5 emissions standard for 50 U.S. states.
The six-cylinder version in the S 400 BLUETEC HYBRID is even more powerful yet boasts the same exemplary economy and clean credentials: a combination of 195 kW/265 hp and a maximum torque of 630 Nm with fuel consumption of just 5.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometre. â€œThis S-Class is perfect testimony to the aspirations and expertise of Mercedes-Benz in building the most exciting cars for our customers in future,â€ says Dr Zetsche.
F 700 with DIESOTTO: the petrol engine of the future
The F 700 with its innovative DIESOTTO and hybrid drive consumes just 5.3 litres of petrol per 100 kilometres â€“ equivalent to CO2 emissions of just 127 grams per kilometre. This figure is on a par with today's diesel-engined compact cars and marks the lowest petrol consumption figures for a luxury saloon in the history of the motor car. The outstanding innovations on the F 700 include its innovative PRE-SCAN suspension which uses laser sensors to detect the road conditions and computes in advance the optimum suspension setting for each individual wheel.
Pioneering solutions have also found their way into the interior of the F 700. The intelligently designed, multiply adjustable REVERSE Seat does away with the inflexible seating configuration of conventional luxury saloons. This innovative design provides seat and rest positions facing both forwards and backwards. Another groundbreaking innovation comes in the shape of the SERVO-HMI with its sophisticated voice recognition capability. The system engages in a direct dialogue with the person at the wheel, while the avatar shown on the display acts like a personal assistant to the driver.