Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will again offer a diesel-powered car in the US market. Starting in 2004, the company will market an E320 CDI, what the company terms ‘a more fuel-efficient diesel version of its highly successful E-Class sedan’.

Mercedes-Benz last offered a diesel car in the US – the E300 Turbodiesel – in 1999. The company planned a one-year hiatus for the diesel until its new CDI engine was ready, but in the meantime, emissions standards were proposed which further delayed the new US diesel.

The new turbocharged six-cylinder powerplant will feature electronic fuel injection. CDI stands for “common-rail” diesel injection – a term denoting the fuel line loop supplying constant fuel pressure to each of the six solenoid injector valves.

Mercedes-Benz says that with precise electronic control of fuel delivery, hand in hand with an oxidation catalyst, the E320 CDI can pass current 45-state emissions standards. When low-sulphur diesel fuel becomes available in the US around 2007, Mercedes-Benz engineers are optimistic that the CDI diesel can meet emissions standards in all 50 states.

Mercedes-Benz says that the latest generation electronically-injected CDI diesel engines are ‘likely to change [US] consumers’ dated perceptions about diesel engines’.