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Mercedes S350 CDI BlueEfficiency – U.S. bound

Mon, 31 May 2010

The Merc S350 CDI BlueEfficiency - US bound

We should feel happy for our colonial cousins. The decimation of the car industry in the States through this recession has introduced them to the joys that are European-focused cars. Cars slightly smaller than the Ark Royla that can actually go round corners and don’t need a petrol pump in your back garden.

But diesel has so far eluded our American friends in any significant way. I can’t say I blame them; it’s only very recently I conceded that it may not be practical to have a big V8 (in my case a big European V8) in everything I drive, and that diesel may well have its place.

But turn in to DERV lovers they will, or all the big car makers are going to really struggle with their CAFE targets (now 31.6mpg by 2015). So there’s a concerted effort to get the American car-buying public to understand how good a modern diesel can be. Mercedes‘ contribution is to send over a diesel S Class – the Mercedes S350 CDI BlueEfficiency.

Which seems an odd choice. It’s as if Mercedes has failed to recognise that American car buyers’ tastes have moved on. They’re sending a big, luxo-barge that only really works with a big petrol engine and slushmatic ‘box. And this one doesn’t have a big petrol engine, it has a small diesel one.

But it doesn’t just have a small diesel engine that likes to cruise at around 55mph it has – at least in Euro-spec – low rolling resistance tyres that don’t really like corners. And they call it a ‘Blue’ car (which certainly has a different connotation in the US. And here, for that matter) instead of a ‘Green’ car.

Or could it be that US buyers of Mercedes S Class haven’t joined the Euro car revolution? Could it be they still long for the joys of the big Yank-Tank, but feel compelled by media pressure to join in with all things smaller and more efficient? In which case Mercedes could have called it just right.

The Mercedes S350 CDI BE cruises happiest at 55mph. It doesn’t like going round corners. It’s not labelled ‘Green’ (but it is – sort of). And it’s big, comfy and well equipped. Bullseye on every requirement of an old-fashioned Yank-tank buyer.

But there’s one thing they’ll have to change for the US. The last 2010 Mercedes S Class I drove didn’t have a decent cupholder anywhere convenient for the driver.

Which will be cause enough for zero sales in the Land of the Free, where the cupholder count defines the quality of the Yank-Tank.

By Cars UK