29 December 2004

Mercedes has released details of its forthcoming V6 diesel engine, which will be replacing the maker's in-line five- and six-cylinder units across its model ranges in the spring. The 72 degree, 24-valve, 3.0-litre V6 will use third-generation common-rail injection technology, a variable nozzle turbine turbocharger, and a world-first aluminium crankshaft case to increase output by up to 38 per cent over Benz' previous diesel. At its 3800rpm peak, power output is 224bhp, but more importantly, some 376lb ft of torque is also on tap, between 1600- and 2800rpm.

Those outputs are produced without any increase in fuel consumption, Mercedes claims. The new powerplant is also Euro IV emissions compliant, and will be offered to UK buyers with the option of a particulate trap. It will also become the only diesel to be offered with Mercedes' 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic gearbox.

The V6 is headed for use in a broader range of models than the units it replaces. Its lightweight construction means it weighs just 208kg, and with the shorter engine block, and ancilliary units forming a more compact entity than the longer in-line arrangements, it will be available for installation in models where no multi-cylinder diesel option has hiterto been offered. The likeliest models to benefit, alongside Mercedes' S-, E-, G- and ML-class cars, will be the C-class saloon, CLK-class coupé and cabriolet, the forthcoming R- and B-class MPVs, and the anticipated X-class junior offroader.

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