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Diesel Bests Hybrid in Cross-Country Fuel Consumption Test

24 August 2005

Autobild
ML 320 CDI vs. Rx 400h

The German car magazine Auto Bild has conducted a comparative test drive from New York to San Francisco with a new Mercedes-Benz ML 320 CDI diesel and a Lexus RX 400h hybrid.

Combined results for the test drive, which although it combined city and highway driving obviously emphasized the highway, had the Mercedes diesel besting the Lexus hybrid by 10% in terms of fuel consumption.

Average total consumption for the Mercedes over the 5,200-kilometer trip (3,232 miles) was 9.2 l/100km (25.6 mpg), while the Lexus came in at 10.2 l/100km (23 mpg).

The hybrid drive performed better in city driving. The diesel is ten times worse with respect to NOx emissions.

The ML 320 CDI uses the new Mercedes 3-liter V-6 powerplant. The engine, with an output of 165 kW (224 hp) and a maximum torque of 510 Nm (376 lb-ft), increases output and torque up to more than 30% while maintaining fuel consumption at the level of its predecessors and meets Euro-4 emissions limits. (Earlier post)

The Mercedes-Benz coast-to-coast test cars were also equipped with diesel particulate traps.

August 24, 2005 in Diesel, Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (37) | TrackBack (5)

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Diesel Bests Hybrid in Cross-Country Fuel Consumption Test:

» Mercedes ML 320 CDI beats Lexus RX 400hybrid from B100 Fuel, living on BioDiesel
I have been saying all along that the hybrid numbers are funny. They are based on flat track driving. Not real world driving. When you add hills, the mileage goes WAY down because you are dragging around an extra motor... [Read More]

» Diesel Outdoes Hybrid on the Highway from Jalopnik
Auto Bild recently conducted a comparison between two fuel-efficient SUVs — the Lexus RX400h hybrid and the Mercedes ML 320 CDI diesel. On a coast-to-coast run, the Merc bested the Lexus in overally fuel economy, but it's important to... [Read More]

» Diesel Outdoes Hybrid on the Highway from Jalopnik
Auto Bild recently conducted a comparison between two fuel-efficient SUVs — the Lexus RX400h hybrid and the Mercedes ML 320 CDI diesel. On a coast-to-coast run, the Merc bested the Lexus in overally fuel economy, but it's important to... [Read More]

» Diesel Mercedes Beats Hybrid Lexus In Fuel Consumption from eMercedesBenz
In a cross-country test conducted by Auto Bild, a German car magazine, the Mercedes-Benz ML 320 CDI diesel consumed 10% less fuel than the Lexus RX 400h hybrid. The test, which was comprised of both city and highway (with an emphasis on highway), test... [Read More]

» Diesel Mercedes Beats Hybrid Lexus In Fuel Consumption from eMercedesBenz
In a cross-country test conducted by Auto Bild, a German car magazine, the Mercedes-Benz ML 320 CDI diesel consumed 10% less fuel than the Lexus RX 400h hybrid. The test, which was comprised of both city and highway (with an emphasis on highway), test [Read More]

Comments

No surprise there. Hybrid is not magic juice. It can save fuel, particularly in stop and go urban driving where regeneration, idling and low speed are factors. Over long distances at highway speeds, hybrid has no great advantage, and indeed may be penalized for additional weight.

Make that a biodiesel hybrid and you'd have net zero CO2...

Did they compare emissions as well?

25 mpg to 23 mpg...

Guess this just shows that SUVs are pretty inefficient no matter what you do to them.

Last July I drove my HCH 4488 miles over mountains and plains. 80 mph and A/C mostly. Got 38.2 mpg.

Cross-country driving is a small percentage of average driving. The large percentage is metropolitan area in-city driving, rush hour commuting and neighborhood trips; in which, no tests are needed to demonstrate the Hybrid advantage. Mercedes should make a new diesel model and call it the "Butthead 500" for cross country automatons.

"Last July I drove my HCH 4488 miles over mountains and plains. 80 mph and A/C mostly. Got 38.2 mpg."

I get 38-40 mpg on road trips in my '81 Civic sedan.

If this is an attempt by Daimler-Chrysler to sell CDI Diesel as an alternative to Hybrid, then they should try again! The new test should be a side by side city comparison! Here is an idea for Daimler-Chrysler: how about a side by side comparison with a new diesel-electric hybrid (let us call it M 350 CDI Hybrid) with the hybrid Lexus? I bet those nymbers would sell more cars and prove much cleaner to boot!

That proves the point that we haven't gotten anywhere when it comes to Fuel economy. All we get is just rhetoric and forcefed marketing. The two cars tested here are LOOSERs when it comes to fuel economy. When would people realise that you can't eat your cake and have.

Hey, I can't read German.Is there a way to open up the aritcles in English??

Unless the publisher offers a translation—which this one does not—the easiest thing to do is go to Google’s home page, pick "Language Tools", and then just plug in the URL of the piece into appropriate field on the form. The translation is a bit...rocky...but you can get the gist.

Yes it shows once again, yhat SUV's are inefficient.
But once again, the difference is that in Europe Governments, Industry and Customers are pulling at the
same string...there you simply have to buy a gas-saving
Vehicle with prices of six to seven$ per Gallon.
Does anyone know the prices in Asia? Would be interesting..

Its doesnt matter as diesel around here happens to cost a fair bit more then gasoline;/

Here is the rest of the comparison.

RX400h
Power - 268 hp
0-60 mph - 7 sec
Emission - SULEV

ML 320 CDI
Power - 230 hp
0-60 mph - 9.5 sec(?)
Emission - Too dirty to sell in US

Correction.

ML 320 CDI only has 224hp.

V8 diesel would be a better comparison with RX 400h? ML 320 CDI is not even in the same class as RX 400h.....

Ironically, many Asian countries (Indonesian, Thailand, Malaysia, probably others as well) actually subsidize the price of oil. Indonesia, for example, spends about 3 % of GDP on oil subsidies; gas prices are well below world market prices (about 20c/l IIRC).

One would imagine that poor countries would have better things to do with their tax money than actually paying their citizens to destroy the environment. Oh well.

It's all about economic growth. It takes cheap energy to grow the industrial economy, so that's the goal of the subsidies, just like was the goal in the US to have access to cheap oil from Saudi Arabia in the 70's. Unfortunately we fail to see that the economic growth we seek is a cancerous growth that eventually kills economic sustainability and the ecology.

"Emission - Too dirty to sell in US"

Correction - Unable to meet an arbitrary set of emission standards clearly designed to accommodate gasoline engine vehicles.

I would like to add to snoopy's comments that Diesel fuel contains 10-15% more energy per gallon than gasoline, so the efficiency is more of a wash.

good point anon. This would make the RX400h with its better acceleration the winner, but still They are both wasteful pieces of engineering. These cars are not even as clean as a regular civic, so why are we not clamouring over that? Instead we are just lead by some silly hype. The clean solution is to quit all this power and size quest.

So, NOx emissions are thrown around a lot here. How could we reduce them while still using diesel fuel?

"Unable to meet an arbitrary set of emission standards clearly designed to accommodate gasoline engine vehicles."

US has one standard for both gas and diesel engine unlike Europe where they lower their standard in the favor of diesel.

Do some research and look up the numbers.

"These cars are not even as clean as a regular civic, so why are we not clamouring over that? Instead we are just lead by some silly hype."

Hype or fact? RX400h is SULEV. Civic is ULEV. Which get better MPG in the city where emission is more of a problem? Look up more facts.

“So, NOx emissions are thrown around a lot here. How could we reduce them while still using diesel fuel?”

See the following links for the latest on in-cylinder NOx control:

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/technology/deerpresentation.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/technology/420f04023.pdf

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/01/eparsquos_clean.html

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/reports/adv-tech/420r04002.pdf

“US has one standard for both gas and diesel engine unlike Europe where they lower their standard in the favor of diesel.

Do some research and look up the numbers.”

I didn’t think I implied that there were different standards for gasoline and diesel, or at least didn’t intend to. I’m very familiar with the Tier 2 and LEV II regs. From an air quality perspective, there’s nothing “magical” about these sets of emission regulations. I stand by my assertion that these emission standards are arbitrary and are clearly written to accommodate gasoline engine emission profiles. So diesels, with significantly different emission profiles, are forced to comply with these emission standards designed for gas engines. A set of emission standards could just as easily have been written which would be relatively easy for diesels to meet, difficult for gas engines to meet, and be just as effective from an air quality perspective, if not more so.

I don’t find these latest emission standards impressive mainly because they allow such a high emission threshold for carbon monoxide (CO) which is primarily a gas engine pollutant. NOx is regulated to near zero levels while CO is regulated at levels nearly two orders of magnitude higher. The CO standard is UNCHANGED from the Tier 1 CARB and EPA standards (4.2 g/mile to…4.2 g/mile, the FUL was extended from 100,000 miles to 120,000 miles, big deal!).

CO is not only an ozone precursor, but there are still areas of the U.S. that are in SERIOUS non-attainment with the CO NAAQS, most notably, Southern California (see http://www.epa.gov/oar/oaqps/greenbk/mapco.html). What’s being done to address this air quality issue? Why isn’t there the “technology forcing” for gas engine CO like there is for diesel engine NOx?

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