A trio of super-clean, 50-state BlueTEC Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles has become the latest to qualify for federal alternative-powertrain tax credits from the IRS. The 2009 ML320 BlueTEC will be eligible for up to a $900 maximum credit while the R320 BlueTEC merits up to $1,550 and the GL320 BlueTEC tops out at $1,800. Although those breaks will only be available on the first 60,000 units, an M-B spokesperson confirmed that the planned U.S. volumes for the three will not exceed that number next year. Since none of the three are set to arrive at dealers until October, neither pricing nor formal EPA numbers have been released. However, Mercedes indicated that each will carry a price premium of roughly $1,500 over its gasoline-engine counterpart, have fuel economy figures that are 20-30 percent greater and a cruising range in excess of 600 miles.
Unlike the E320 CDI sedan, which does not meet the California emissions requirements, these new 50-state M-B diesel SUVs are equipped with Mercedes’ AdBlue system that injects a precisely measured quantity of aqueous urea solution from an on-board reservoir into the exhaust that reduces nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen in a special catalytic converter. The AdBlue tank only needs to be refilled every 10,000 miles, which is done as part of the vehicle's routine maintenance.
Last month, Volkswagen formally announced that its new 2009 Jetta TDI and SportWagen TDI models also would be eligible for a $1,300 tax break under the same federal alternative-powertrain legislation.