Mercedes currently offers both gas and diesel powertrains for pretty much every model. Even though diesel engines are not an option in the US, in Europe diesel engines are as popular, if not even more popular compared to gas (petrol) engines.
Modern-day Mercedes diesel engines are a far cry from the old dirty diesel engines of the past. These engines are usually more fuel-efficient compared to a similarly powered gas engine, and they are not as polluting as you might expect.
Diesel-powered Mercedes sedans
The Mercedes C-class is the smallest sedan in the Mercedes line-up. The W205 Mercedes is going to be replaced this year, but Mercedes still offers the W205 C-class with a few diesel options. All turbodiesel models have a 2.0-liter 4 cylinder, and you can also opt for the C300 BlueTec hybrid model.
The larger E-class also offers a few turbodiesel options. The range kicks off with the E220d, equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine that is similar to the one in the C300 BlueTec. This engine produces around 200 horsepower and it also offers great fuel efficiency. This engine can also be mated to an electric engine in the E300de.
The E-class also offers a few 6-cylinder turbodiesel engines, unlike the C-class. The E350d and the E400d 4MATIC both feature a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6 engine capable of making 260-340hp, depending on the model in question.
The newly released S-class offers a fairly impressive 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder diesel OM656 engine. This engine powers the entry-level S350d and the S400d. The power output of the OM656 in the S400d is 340hp, which makes it the most powerful Mercedes diesel engine of all time.
Diesel-powered Mercedes SUVs
Mercedes also offers diesel versions of the entire SUV line-up. These models are not for sale in the US, but the rest of the world can choose between gas or diesel-powered Mercedes models. You can also option out some of the SUVs as diesel/electric hybrids.
The engines in question are the same ones as in the sedans. The 2.0/2.1-liter turbo 4-cylinder is in the GLA or the GLC, and even in some GLE models. The GLS, on the other hand, gets the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline 6 engine.
You can also option out the G-class with a turbocharged diesel engine as well. The model in question is the G350d powered by a 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, making 282hp. Some consider this engine to be the perfect option for the G-class, as it offers plenty of torque at a more reasonable price when compared to a gas-powered G-class.
Why are there no Mercedes diesel options in the US?
In 2017, only 3% of Mercedes cars sold in the US in 2017 were diesel. Due to low sales and the growing dislike towards diesel in general, Mercedes has since stopped offering any diesel engines in the US.
Most Americans prefer gas-powered automobiles, as fuel prices are usually not as bad as they are in Europe. Most of the diesel-powered cars in the US are usually pick-up trucks and commercial vehicles, so a diesel engine in a luxury car is not as appealing.
Some scandals like the VAG Dieselgate scandal have further decreased the appeal of diesel cars in the US. Another reason why Mercedes stopped offering diesel engines in the US, is the fact that American customers are not able to use the proper diesel fuel required for diesel Mercedes models.
Most US fuel stations offer a large percentage of biodiesel, as much as 20%. And Mercedes cars require less than 5% of biodiesel in the diesel mixture. High-percentage biodiesel mixtures can degrade the engine and cause many problems down the line. Some believe this is the primary reason why Mercedes stopped offering diesel engines in the US.
Will Mercedes stop offering diesel engines in other markets as well?
It’s rather unclear as to if Mercedes is going to stop offering diesel engines entirely. Newer models suggest that the diesel engine is not going anywhere since some diesel engines like the OM656 are reliable, powerful, and efficient at the same time.
Many governments are proposing bans on diesel engines in the next 5-10 years, but this is still in the early stages and it’s hard to tell if it’s ever going to happen. Many cities around the world also require you to pay a congestion charge, which is usually a lot worse for a diesel-powered engine.
Gas vs Diesel vs Electric
What are the benefits of a diesel engine compared to a gas-powered engine?
A diesel engine usually offers more torque, is more fuel-efficient, and costs more on the second-hand market. Diesel engines are a better option for highway driving, as modern-day diesel engines use a lot less fuel in the process.
That being said, a gas-powered engine is more tailored to city driving and is usually more refined than a diesel, which often has a tractor-like sound to it. Additionally, a modern-day gas-powered engine is usually also not as harmful to the environment.
It is also expected that a diesel engine will last longer than a gas engine, but a gas-powered engine does not break as often.
What are the benefits of electric engines compared to traditional combustion engines?
Electric engines are a lot less harmful to the environment than traditional combustion engines. However, the process of making batteries is not exactly environmentally friendly. Electric engines are still in the early phase and this is expected to improve as time goes on.
An electric engine can produce 100% of its power at any RPM range, but a traditional combustion engine has to spoil up to a certain RPM range to produce its maximum power. This translates to superior acceleration times for electric engines.
The ease of living with a traditional combustion engine is still unrivaled by electric cars, as most of the world still is not ready to make a complete transition. Plus, the lifespan of traditional combustion engines is far longer, as there is no need to completely swap out the batteries once they become old and unusable.