Blue is the new green for Mercedes as it launches its Bluetec turbodiesels across Europe in December, but UK buyers will have to remain green with envy as right-hand drive production has not yet been confirmed.
However, Mercedes UK managing director Dermot Kelly believes it is only a matter of time before these new engines are given the green light for British buyers. He said: "There's a chance Bluetec might not happen for the UK, but I believe it's a case of when, not if."
The E-Class will be the first model offered with Bluetec engines in Europe, with a 210bhp 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel tuned for low emissions and fitted with particulate filters to make it as clean as possible. Bluetec went on sale in the USA 12 months ago and it now accounts for 20% of E-Class sales there.
R-Class, ML and GL models are set to be offered with Bluetec engines in the USA and will then come to Europe. Two C-Class models are due in 2009, with the C250 Bluetec capable of 57.7mpg and a C300 version with hybrid power that returns 61.4mpg.
Explaining why Bluetec diesel engines were launched in the petrol-loving USA first, Dermot Kelly said: "The big prize was in converting Americans to more economical diesel power. Europe is much more diesel-friendly and the UK is a big market for diesel-engined cars. This is why I believe Bluetec cars will be on sale in the UK before too long."