Thirty-six standard diesel-consuming Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars completed a 9,000-mile drive from Paris to Beijing while averaging more than 30 miles per gallon (mpg) of fuel. Some drivers were able to squeeze mpg up to an average of 35 during the trip that took the cars through sometimes-harsh conditions, including rain and snow. On some 500-mile legs of the journey, drivers surpassed 40 mpg. Each car was loaded with three passengers and numerous pieces of luggage to mimic a family vacation.
The goal of the expedition, titled “The Greatest Diesel Marathon of All Time,” was to demonstrate that luxury driving under difficult conditions can still be ecologically friendly. “The 33 E 320 CDI and three E 320 Bluetec vehicles impressively showed the potential of our high-tech diesels,” says Dieter Zetsche, chairman of DaimlerChrysler, which owns the Mercedes Car Group. “They proved that driving enjoyment, great fuel economy and environmental compatibility are not mutually exclusive.”