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Mercedes-Benz sets Pikes Peak diesel record with near-production C 300 d

Mercedes-Benz has set a new record for the diesels in the Pikes Peak hill-climb race with a near-production C 300 d 4MATIC. Test driver Uwe Nittel completed the 19.99 km (12.4-mile) route—which includes 156 bends with a change in altitude of 1439 meters (4,721 feet)—in just 11.37 minutes.

The 150 kW (204 hp) C 300 d 4MATIC (in Europe known as 250 d) fitted with a 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission competed in the hill-climb race in largely series-production configuration. As is customary for a racing car, the interior was cleared out. The modifications included the safety measures required by the regulations, such as a roll-over cage, racing tank, fire extinguishing system, enhanced brakes and ultra-high-performance tires (UHP).


The C 300 d is powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine with fourth-generation common rail direct injection featuring piezo injectors, two-stage turbocharging and exhaust gas recirculation. The engine control system responds precisely to the most diverse operating conditions, thereby optimizing the combustion processes. The engine technology remained completely unchanged for the Pikes Peak race.

The C 300 d is the first diesel model to undercut the ULEV 70 (0.070 NMOG+NOx g/mi) emissions limits, which are among the strictest in the world. The emission control system incorporates a close-coupled electrically heated oxidation catalytic converter and a diesel particulate filter which is located in the area of the bulkhead. This shortens the regeneration times.

The core of the emission control system takes the form of an SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) catalytic converter, with an AdBlue injector connected upstream. Monitoring and diagnosis of the complex exhaust gas aftertreatment processes are performed by various sensors, including a differential pressure sensor, a lambda sensor, NOx and temperature sensors.

With a combined range of 34 miles to the gallon (corresponding to 4.1 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers), the C 300 d offers 42 mpg (5.6 l/100 km) highway.

Shoving a series diesel saloon with automatic transmission up Pikes Peak sounds like a crazy idea, put it was a lot of fun. And it showed that all the prejudices regarding diesel vehicles are well out of time.

—Uwe Nittel

The course’s numerous switchbacks put the suspension and the 4MATIC powertrain through their paces when accelerating out of the bends. Another challenge for the diesel engine was the thin mountain air—the finishing point is 4301 meters (14,111 feet) above sea level.

Mercedes-Benz pointed out that the test drive at Pikes Peak also demonstrated how well Mercedes-Benz diesel powertrains are adapted to the special requirements of the US market, which include extreme climatic conditions.

The “Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb” (PPIHC) in Colorado is arguably the most spectacular and demanding hill-climb race in the world. The uphill gradient averages 7%. The race begins at an altitude of 2862 meters (9,390 feet), and the finishing point at the summit of Pikes Peak in the Rocky Mountains is 4301 meters above sea level. The entire route has been asphalted since 2011.

Races for automobiles and motorcycles have been held here since 1916; this year’s event was the 93rd in the course’s history.



PR to sell oil burners...has nothing to do with racin'.


As any other news on this site.


While scoffing at "Prejudices regarding Diesels" Uwe Nittel completely overlooks the prejudice of people like PeterXX, and one or two other posters here, in favour of the things. I do not suppose that Daimler Benz was making any secret of the fact that this was a simple PR stunt, but if it was running against another car with similar TCO and size, then there might have been a real point, which has always been why people race cars.This effort proved nothing.

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