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201403 Sep



In 1936 Mercedes-Benz became the first company in the world to launch a diesel passenger car, thus taking on its role as a diesel pioneer.


Stuttgart's automotive engineers consistently reinforced this leadership position over the decades that followed through the introduction of numerous technical innovations that have contributed significantly to making the passenger car diesel engine what it is today: powerful and yet economical.


The engineers at Mercedes-Benz are now once again working to tighten the efficiency screw. In September 2014, new high-tech steel pistons will be celebrating their world premiere in a standard-production passenger car, in the V6 diesel engine of the Mercedes-Benz E 350 BlueTEC.


Due to this technical innovation, the saloon will continue to deliver the same engine output (262 PS), yet only uses around 5.0 litres of diesel fuel per 100 kilometres – the saving achieved through the use of the steel piston is thus around 3 per cent.


These innovative steel pistons mark a logical next step in Mercedes-Benz's work to further develop diesel technology. The Stuttgart engineers will continue to work on making the diesel engine a viable proposition for the future.




The V6 diesel engine, for example, which will now be going into series production with the new steel pistons for the E 350 BlueTEC, has been through various stages of development since its first appearance in the W212 in 2008. It also benefits from a further innovation developed by Mercedes-Benz: Nanoslide cylinder bore coating technology. This technology was pioneered by Daimler in 2006 in the AMG V8 petrol engine. It uses twin-wire arc spraying (TWAS) technology to melt iron/carbon wires, which it then sprays onto the inside cylinder walls of the lightweight aluminium crankcase with the help of an inert gas flow. Very fine finishing of the resulting nano-crystalline iron coating creates an almost mirror-smooth surface with fine pores, which reduces friction between the piston assembly and the cylinder wall compared with when cast-iron cylinders are used, while also being extremely resistant to wear. Further benefits: lower engine weight, reduced consumption and CO2 emissions.


All in all, the V6 diesel from Mercedes-Benz today generates significantly lower CO2 emissions than it did in its previous appearances in the E-Class. In 2009 the combined figure for the emissions from the E 320 CDI was 179 grams of CO2 per kilometre; in the next-stage E-Class of 2013 this figure was 144 grams, combined. Thanks to the use of the steel piston, amongst other things, the figure for the E350 BlueTEC is now well below 140 grams. In a parallel development, the output has increased since 2008 from 214 PS to the current 262 PS.


It is envisaged that the new pistons will very shortly also be in use in Mercedes-Benz's 4-cylinder diesel engines. Joachim Schommers, Head of Basic Engine Development at Mercedes-Benz, said, “We are assuming that pistons made of steel will in future also be in widespread use in passenger car diesel engines.”


By Joydip Sur

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