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Merc readies eco car onslaught

Date: 28 January 2008   |   Author: Guy Bird

A raft of eco-inspired technology set to boost fuel economy by up to 30% and reduce CO2 emissions will be fitted to Mercedes cars from later this year.

Stop/start technology, low rolling resistance tyres, adjusted electric power steering and fuel pump changes will debut on right-hand drive versions of the facelifted A- and B-class in late 2008. Sister brand Smart will also launch a stop/start version at the same time boasting 56.7mpg and 105g/km of CO2.

Petrol/electric hybrid versions of the S- and M-class are due by 2009 and diesel/electric hybrid versions a year later - including a S300 Bluetec Hybrid with 52.3mpg and just 142g/km of CO2.

Also in 2010, both the facelifted C-class and all-new E-class will get similar stop/start tech and systems that aim to improve driver behaviour such as current mpg readings and possibly optimum gear-change dash indicators.

Weight reduction is on the agenda too. Daimler's vice-president for group research & advanced engineering vehicle & powertrain, Dr Herbert Kohler, told BusinessCar: "A clear target is to have a successor to any model to be 5% less weight by the time of a new model introduction. This will be made possible by high-strength new steel so we can reduce thickness. However with all these moves we must still have driving pleasure. Mobility should still be attractive."

The plans will surely help the brand's green credentials after Mercedes was slammed as one of the worst performers in a recently published EU CO2 average league table and fined £15m in the US for failing to meet average economy standards.