Mercedes launches eco drive

* All Mercedes to get Blue Efficiency * First model C180 * New E-Class next year, too...

Mercedes launches eco drive

Mercedes says its first Blue Efficiency models will go on sale next year and that theyll gradually replace its entire range.

As with BMW's Efficient Dynamics system, Mercedes Blue Efficiency models have a series of modifications that improve fuel economy and lower emissions.

The C180 will be the first model to receive the Blue Efficiency makeover early in 2009. Mercedes expects the car to produce the same power, but improved torque, better fuel economy and lower emissions than the current version.

A diesel-powered Blue Efficiency model, the C250, will go on sale next spring, followed by lower-powered versions of the same engine.

Stop-start technology, found on many rival BMWs, won't be available until the end of next year, however.

Hybrid power
Mercedes will make further environmental headway next year, when a hybrid S-Class goes on sale.

The hybrid system can be fitted to any rear-wheel-drive Mercedes, so a hybrid E-Class will follow on from the S-Class.

In addition to these, an all-new E-Class will go on sale next autumn. A saloon and coupe will be the first variants to arrive the coupe version will replace the current CLK.

Estate and convertible versions will arrive in 2010.