When you think of diesel-powered passenger cars, Mercedes is likely the first to come to mind. You could say that Mercedes first introduced the American public to diesel, and some old Mercedes diesels have even reached a sort of iconic status. In the early 1980s more than half of company sales were diesels, and Mercedes would likely still be the reigning king had not U.S. emission standards constricted as tightly as they did. But today, with fuel prices as they are, it only makes sense that the company would have strategically placed its Bluetec V6 diesel engines in some of its heavier platforms, vehicles that could benefit from an increase in miles per gallon. But being an equal opportunity-diesel maker, all Mercedes that could benefit from a diesel engine could be getting one without a sacrifice in performance. Its modern performance and fuel economy stats clearly show that the new Bluetec is not your daddy's diesel engine.

Current Models:
Engine: 3.0-liter V6, turbocharged, common-rail injection
Output: 210 hp @ 4000 rpm, 398 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission:Seven-speed automatic0-60 mph: 8.0 sec. (ML320); 8.6 sec.
(R320)Efficiency: 18/24 mpg

Engine: 3.0-liter V6, turbocharged, common-rail injection
Output: 210 hp @ 3800 rpm, 398 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission:Seven-speed automatic0-60 mph: 9.1 sec.
Efficiency: 17/23 mpg

Engine: 3.0-liter V6, turbocharged, common-rail injection
Power: 210 hp @ 3800 rpm, 400 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic0-60 mph: 6.6 sec.
Efficiency: 23/32 mpg

Volkswagen has spent the latter part of a year prepping the American consumer for the coming diesel invasion. This campaign has included various industry and consumer shows and drive programs designed to dispel common myths and prove that diesels no longer make strange noises or spew clouds of smelly exhaust. In addition to this educational blitz, the company created a Jetta TDI Cup racing series to highlight the viability of modern diesel-powered race cars. The first batch of TDIs sold out before they hit the showroom floor, so it looks like the public got the message. To round out the product line, Volkswagen will be releasing the Touareg with a V6 TDI in early 2009, and by the end of 2009 a Rabbit TDI.

Current Models:
Jetta TDI (Sedan, Sportwagen)
Engine: 2.0-liter I4, turbocharged, direct injection
Output: 140 hp @ 4000 rpm,236 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed DSG with Tiptronic0-60 mph: 8.2 sec. (Sedan); 8.4 sec. (Sportwagen)Top Speed: 128 mph
Efficiency: 30/41 mpg

Future Models:
Touareg V6 TDI, Rabbit TDI

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