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For some reason, they are allowed to lease the new bluetec E320 only. Article below from autoweek
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Mercedes-Benz announced today it is making a version of its E320 Bluetec diesel sedan available immediately to California customers through a special two-year/24,000 mile lease only program. The announcement was made on the runway at the opening of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Smashbox Studios in Los Angeles.

Californians have been unable to buy new diesels for nearly a decade because of the state's stringent emissions requirements. The new E320 Bluetec is among the cleanest diesels available in the world.

"In order to be able to provide the power and economy of diesel technology throughout the world, we had to make the diesel version as clean as the gasoline model," said Dr. Leopold Mikulic, head of powertrain development at Mercedes-Benz Cars. "With Bluetec, nitrogen oxides can be reduced to such an extent that our diesel vehicles will satisfy the strictest emission regulations in the world-even in the future. This makes Mercedes-Benz the first manufacturer in the world to fully bring all exhaust gas components under control."

The lease program for the E320 Bluetec, through Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, is on par with its gasoline sibling, the E350, at about $600 per month, and only about 100 cars will be available. The lease program was done in part because in two years the vehicles will not meet the increasingly stiffer emissions laws. At that point, Mercedes will be selling an even cleaner diesel.

According to Mercedes-Benz USA, the special limited-mileage lease program is the first step in plans to offer consumers diesel alternatives in all 50 states. Beginning in next year, diesel versions of the company's SUV models M, GL and R-Class will be available in all 50 states.

Mercedes has sold diesels in the United States for 40 years. Because of the fuel efficiency diesels provide without sacrificing performance or interior room, as with some hybrid models with large battery packs, Mercedes believes they are an ideal choice for luxury buyers. An E320 Bluetec has a highway range of 700 miles on a single tank of fuel.

Diesels inherently burn less fuel than gasoline vehicles and they also produce significantly lower emissions of carbon dioxide (C02). Also, with Bluetc vehicles the particulate-what is commonly called "soot"-levels are reduced to levels comparable-or better than-that of gasoline-powered vehicles. Similarly, NOX emissions are reduced.

MBUSA will begin to phase-in 50-state Bluetec vehicles nationwide starting in next year. The first step will be in January 2008 the extension of the special lease program to other states not now allowing sales of new diesel automobiles.

Later in '08, Mercedes will introduce another Bluetec system on its M-, R- and GL-Class vehicles. This system uses a urea-based solution Mercedes calls AdBlue, injected into the exhaust stream to clean up the emissions to meet the even more stringent laws that go into effect later this decade.
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http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071015/FREE/71015006/1065
 
J

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Hmm. Not sure why they would make an exception for only a few cars. What's the point?
 
D

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It's california, enough said.

I seem to remember that they said the bluetec was going to be 50 state legal before they released it, it wasn't, so why now?

The lease program was done in part because in two years the vehicles will not meet the increasingly stiffer emissions laws. At that point, Mercedes will be selling an even cleaner diesel
I assume they mean urea injection. This wording can be confusing,
 

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100 cars over the whole two year period or what? That is such a hassle that it would not be worth it when you can just buy a used one and bring it in.
 
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The cars were tweaked to meet CA emissions.


http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/environment/2007-10-16-california-diesel_N.htm?csp=34

For the past year, the E320 Bluetec sedan that Mercedes is bringing here has been sold in only 45 states. It hadn't been deemed clean enough for California, New York, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont. Leopold Mikulic, a Mercedes' vice president, says engineers were able to tweak the car's emissions control system to make it acceptable for those states.

The new E320 is "bridge technology to see diesels' acceptance in California," says Mikulic. The diesel E320 will lease for $10 more a month than the gas version.
 
J

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Right, that makes more sense. Many gasoline cars have "CA" emissions too.
 

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Seems kind of pointless because you could buy used diesels and 100 or 200 cars will not make any difference, I doubt it will even fill demand.
 

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It brings publicity and raises public awareness of an upcoming product, sounds like it's worth it, especially since the car is sold in other states already. Only problem I can see is the experience level of dealership techs in dealing with the car since there are so few....see VW Phaeton.
 
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