In the history of Diesel Power, we’ve road-tested dozens of impressive vehicles. All of them have burned Number 2 and most of them have been trucks, but none of them have been quite like this. The German automaker Mercedes-Benz built its first diesel car in 1936 and its first turbodiesel car in 1978. For 2012, the luxury car manufacturer has returned to its compression-ignition roots and put a 3.0L diesel V-6 into its premium S-Class sedan. In a nutshell, the S-Class sedan is Mercedes’ technological tour de force. Every premium automotive feature the company has ever developed can be found in these cars. The mantra for this vehicle is: “The Best, or Nothing.” The version we tested was so loaded with creature comforts—we couldn’t imagine adding one more thing. Yet the execution of the car is so elegantly done, the vehicle never felt cluttered. Though the sticker price of this car makes it the third most expensive vehicle we’ve ever tested—it is without a doubt the nicest driving machine we have ever experienced. Check it out. The 3.0L Mercedes diesel (OM642) engine under the hood is the thing that turns this luxury car into something you can actually drive. The 24-valve, all-aluminum, 72-degree V-6 used a Bosch CP3-based injection system with piezo injectors. We’ve put nearly 100,000 miles on this engine in our ’08 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but for ’12 the engine’s power output has been raised to 240 hp and 455 lb-ft. The S350 is rated at 21 mpg (city) and 31 mpg (highway), which means it’s way better than the V-12 S600 (12 city, 19 highway) and even crushes the hybrid-gasoline S400 (19 city, 25 highway) versions of the car. The 3.0L Mercedes diesel (OM642) engine under the hood is the thing that turns this luxury We drove this ’12 Mercedes S350 Bluetec diesel for a week and put 700 miles on it. As guys used to driving trucks, getting behind the wheel of a $113,000 four-door felt sort of like dating a supermodel for a week. At first, we didn’t exactly know how to treat the car, use all its features, or figure out which restaurants to take it to. And much like dating a supermodel, when our week was over, we’d gotten used to the attention, getting valet parking for free, and taking it out on the town. We drove this ’12 Mercedes S350 Bluetec diesel for a week and put 700 miles on it. As guys The interior of the S350 is elegant, with sumptuous 16-way power leather seats, premium carpet, and wood trim. The number-one favorite feature of the women we drove in the car: the heated and cooled massaging front seats. The number-one favorite feature of all the men we drove in the car (besides the fact that women like the seats): the side bolsters in the front seats automatically inflate to hold your body in place as the vehicle corners. The interior of the S350 is elegant, with sumptuous 16-way power leather seats, premium ca The first thing diesel truck guys noticed about the S350 Bluetec was the limited ground clearance. Mercedes’ Airmatic semi-active suspension uses air springs that adjust all four corners to tailor the ride and handling of the vehicle. Sport and Comfort settings are available, but compared to a 3/4-ton pickup—both settings feel luxurious. The system also lowers the ride height at higher speeds for improved aerodynamics. The first thing diesel truck guys noticed about the S350 Bluetec was the limited ground cl The S-Class we tested featured Mercedes’ 4 Matic all-wheel drive. Like the systems in diesel trucks, the S350 has a longitudinally mounted, seven-speed automatic with a transfer-case-like gearbox incorporated into the output shaft. Unlike in most trucks, the 4 Matic system is active at all times. This makes burnouts and other shenanigans nearly impossible with the S350, but it also makes the vehicle feel sure-footed. Typically, these types of systems can make the steering feel heavy, as in a front-wheel-drive car, but the 4 Matic’s calibration avoids any of those sins—the S350 feels like a classic rear-wheel-drive sedan until you need the extra grip of the front wheels to put the 3.0L’s torque to the ground. The S-Class we tested featured Mercedes’ 4 Matic all-wheel drive. Like the systems in dies Did we strap the Mercedes S350 to a dyno to get its horsepower and torque curves? Of course, we did. Our secret weapon for testing four-wheel-drive diesels is Paul Leung at Yimi Sport in Santa Clarita, California. Leung normally uses his dyno to tune high-powered Subarus, but he’s tested diesel Jeeps, Volkswagens, and a BMW on it for us. As you’d expect with a luxury car like this, it was difficult to keep the transmission from downshifting when we loaded the engine. In the end, the best run we could get was made in Fourth Gear; the engine put down 238 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. That backs up MB’s new power claims at the crank from this single-turbo 3.0L. You can see the dyno run for yourself at http://Youtube.com/watch?v=81wuk12C3qc. Did we strap the Mercedes S350 to a dyno to get its horsepower and torque curves? Of cours All S-Class cars come with a host of safety features. There were 10 airbags, ultra-high-strength steel in the body structure, electronic stability control, and ABS brakes with four-piston calipers. But the equipment that makes you feel like you’re in a car from the future is the optional Distronic Plus system, which monitors the vehicle’s speed in relation to other vehicles (up to 500 feet in front of you) around it. The car can actually apply the brakes and stop the car completely if needed to help you avoid a rear-end collision. All S-Class cars come with a host of safety features. There were 10 airbags, ultra-high-st Aftermarket wheels change the look of every vehicle, but we’ve found when it comes to German performance cars—it’s almost impossible to top the style, structure, and design of the factory offerings. Our test vehicle was fitted with 19-inch AMG triple-spoke wheels that were fitted with 255/40R19 Continetal SportContact 2 tires as part of the $5,900 Sport Package that includes a lower air dam and side skirts. Aftermarket wheels change the look of every vehicle, but we’ve found when it comes to Germ SOURCES Mercedes-Benz 3 Mercedes Drive Montvale NJ 07645 800-367-6372 http://www.mbusa.com Yimi Sport 26524 Ruether Ave Unit # 510 Santa Clarita CA 91350 661-251-3966 http://www.yimisport.com By David Kennedy Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!