Mercedes-Benz to be world’s most fuel-efficient premium carmaker, says CEO

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 7, 2010

When people talk about who deserves the title of the world's most fuel-efficient premium carmaker, it’s unlikely that Mercedes-Benz would be singled out. But Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche said that he is prepared to do the “previously unthinkable" at subsidiary Mercedes-Benz and aim to be “efficiency world champions.”

Zetsche is also head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. For the first time in the flagship’s history, the Mercedes S-class luxury sedan will be available with a four-cylinder engine, in the form of the S 250 CDI.

During the press presentation of the S-Class at the Paris Auto Show last week, Zetsche said that instead of being termed as “sacrilege,” what the company is really doing is “progress.”

It’s apparent that Zetsche’s comments are directed to BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer, who seeks to cut the fleet CO2 emissions of his three-brand group (BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce) by at least 25% by 2020.

Carmakers are being pressured to cut CO2 emissions before stricter rules take effect in Europe in 2012. To make their models more fuel efficient, carmakers are downsizing engines and utilizing technologies such as stop-start systems.

What’s interesting about Zetsche’s statement is that he had not specified a target for the Mercedes car group, which also includes Smart and Maybach. He also didn’t mention when he expects to be recognized as the world's most-efficient luxury brand.

The new engine for the S class is a 2.2-liter diesel that uses 5.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers and has CO2 emissions of 149 grams per kilometer. This is the same powerplant that is featured in several of Mercedes's C- and E-class cars. In Europe, this new, greener S-class variant can already be ordered. It has a starting price of 71,876 euros (about $98,320) in Germany. [via autonews - sub. required]

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