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75th Anniversary of introduction of series-production diesel passenger car

February 2011 marks the 75th anniversary of the introduction of the first series-production diesel-powered passenger car by Mercedes-Benz. The 260 D was powered by a 2.6-liter OM 138 4-cylinder engine, and delivered fuel consumption of an average of slightly above 9.0L/100 km (26 mpg US), compared to the 13L/100km (18 mpg US) consumed by the corresponding gasoline-fueled model.

The 260D. Click to enlarge.

The OM 138 engine, with a Mercedes-Benz pre-chamber system and a Bosch injection pump, developed 33 kW (45 hp) at 3200 rpm, and was installed in the chassis of the gasoline-powered Mercedes-Benz 200 with a long wheelbase. The Bosch Four-plunger injection pump allowed engine speeds of up to 3000 rpm and ensured rapid fuel delivery.

Series production of the model 260 D commenced at the end of 1935, and the world’s first regular production diesel car was premiered in February 1936, at the International Motorcycle and Automobile Exhibition in Berlin. At the time, diesel fuel cost less than half the normal cost of gasoline for holders of a passenger transport licence. Taxi-drivers in particular immediately opted for this car, Mercedes-Benz said, which was available in a Pullman version with six seats right from the start.



I suppose since 1/2 of the cars sold in Europe are currently diesel, this is of some importance.

For the record, cars such as the VW Golf and Renault Megane, can now get 63mpg (UK) in the mixed cycle, or about 52mpg(US) which is pretty good for affordable, mid sized cars.
(These are the normal 1.5 / 1.6 diesels, not the Eco versions which would be better, but more expensive). Both of them get <= 118 gms co2/km.

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