*Cruising through the parking garage, the Bluetec E320 sounds like Keith Moon* gently patting his snare drum, a barely audible hiss. And then, whatever chemicals he's ingested kick in and he beats the entire set into oblivion. This is the sound of a motorsport diesel, a syncopated rhythm that crescendos into a deep vibrato bass.
I had turned off the ESP traction control, figuring no oil-burner would really need it. Moreover, the E320 is a big car that appears to be more suited to corporate affairs than drag races. I thought wrong. Upon leaving the lot, I proceeded to throw the tail out in a beautiful drift, a slide maintained until I hit the freeway on-ramp. If that's what 400 lb-ft of diesel-powered torque can do, I'd like to sign up.
Yes, the Bluetec engine makes power. Not hp, but great big gobs of tire-burning torque. At 1600 rpm, the Bluetec M-B is capable of out-gunning its V8 counterpart, at least until horsepower becomes a factor. But by then, you're gone. Coupled with excellent fuel economy, I drove the wheels off this thing and still had a quarter-tank by the second week. Although the car initially feels heavy, its variable nozzle turbo keeps things extremely entertaining. Old-school techniques of maintaining boost levels ( la Michle Muton and the Sport Quattro) will help here.
Forget everything you think you know about turbodiesels. The Bluetec E320 is cut from an entirely different piece of material. Its mixture of flesh-pressing torque and uniquely sporty sound is somewhat difficult to classify. For now, we'll just call the Bluetec Mercedes cool.(*The Who's late, great drummer)-Les Bidrawn
2007 Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec
* LayoutLongitudinal front engine, rear-wheel drive
3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel, common rail direct injection
Seven-speed adaptive automatic
Peak Power: 208 hp @ 3800 rpmPeak Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 1600 rpm0-60 mph: 6.6 sec.Top Speed: 130 mph (limited)Fuel Economy: 26 city/35 hwy
Price as tested: $57,000
From The Hip
+ Amazing power, roomy cabin, business suit styling- peaky power delivery, over-assisted steering