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2013 W166 ML350
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Discussion Starter #1
So I have an order placed on 13 ML350 4-matic, however I've been debating whether I should change it to the Bluetec model. Went back to the dealer test drove both, and they said I have a week to change my order if I want the Bluetec. The 2 models feel very different, but honestly I like them both, I love the look of the new ML so much I really want to keep this car for a long time not just when the warranty expires. I am not leasing nor financing either one will be paid of in full, my main decision breaker is which one will be more reliable long term, the diesel or gas?
Also I dont do any towing ever, but i like the extra torque feel of the diesel-it gives that feeling of going fast without going fast. Funny thing its complete opposite of my current car-Lexus ls460, which is very fast, but the car is so smooth you cant feel the speed at all( I got a number of big speeding tickets in it :() The gas engine is very impressive as well, feels more responsive than the diesel.
Right now I do a lot of highway driving( about 15k miles/ year), but in 1 year it wont be anywhere near as much. The ML is going to be my only car for at least 3 more years and then I will probably going to lease a second car. But I wanna keep the ML as a second vehicle. Thats why my main decision breaker is reliability. I am not expecting the benz to have the reliability of lexus (fully loaded 2007 ls460l- 52k miles, not a single visit to dealer) but just not as bad as my old BMW 7 series. I know with diesels there is a bit more maintenance involved (DEC and fuel filters) but I am very lucky to have best friend who is an amazing mechanic, I would much rather have him do maintenance than spend weekends in stealership for repairs.
So I guess long story short, I know I will love either one as long as it wont be spending weekends at the dealership all the time, so which one will probably be more reliable in the long run gas or diesel? Thanks guys for any advice!
 

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2020 MB GLE 450 4MATIC, 2015 BMW M4
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Diesel vs. gas

So I guess long story short, I know I will love either one as long as it wont be spending weekends at the dealership all the time, so which one will probably be more reliable in the long run gas or diesel? Thanks guys for any advice!
You don't say where you live (add to your profile); in Canada and some other countries diesel makes a lot of sense because it's priced lower than premium gas, but in the US, and especially in my area, diesel is usuall more expensive than premium. If you do a lot of highway driving, diesel also is attractive because of the range. Likely in terms of economics the extra initial & service costs will take several years to ammortize. If you continued with 15k hwy. miles per year it would be quicker.

Around town I don't like the turbo lag of the diesel, nor the fact that many stations don't carry the fuel. Surprisingly, the diesel is almost identical to the gas in terms of CO2 emissions, because although it uses less fuel, diesel fuel contains more.

From reliability or durability standpoint, I frankly don't think there will be a huge difference. The old MB diesels run forever, but today, with turbos and linerless cylinders and all the electronics, I don't think that will be the case.



 

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2009 ML320 Bluetec, 2013 Tesla Model S 85
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One way I answer such questions is, "I've never had one of those before, its time." Thats how I came to be here.

Casually looking at the used market it appears a CDI or Bluetec brings about $10,000 more than the gas model.

The fuel filter is not that difficult to change, mine is top center on the engine. DEF was $12 for 2.5 gallons at Walmart last week. Anticipating about $24 for 10,000 miles which puts its cost approximately the same as the fuel filter.

My first 1000 mile road trip yielded 29.0 MPG (with calculator, 31.2 on display). Then pulling a small trailer with two dirtbikes I still got 21.2 and 540 miles before the low fuel light. If I was going to buy a gas SUV I'd go Ford or Lexus. Like my diesel.
 

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1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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There are four legitimate reasons to buy a BlueTec over the MB new 350 gasser:

1) Desire to be different and have not owned a diesel before
2) 15% better fuel economy - translate that based on annual mileage for real fuel savings
3) You want the larger torque for towing
4) You are a diesel enthusiast

The Eco dilemma here in the 350 gasser engine is designed and capable of Ultra Low Emissions - however North American gasoline by law is allowed way too much sulphur so MB detunes the new 350 engine to do its best with what it is fed.

Keep the beat !
 

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ML350
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137 Posts
So I have an order placed on 13 ML350 4-matic, however I've been debating whether I should change it to the Bluetec model. Went back to the dealer test drove both, and they said I have a week to change my order if I want the Bluetec. The 2 models feel very different, but honestly I like them both, I love the look of the new ML so much I really want to keep this car for a long time not just when the warranty expires. I am not leasing nor financing either one will be paid of in full, my main decision breaker is which one will be more reliable long term, the diesel or gas?
Also I dont do any towing ever, but i like the extra torque feel of the diesel-it gives that feeling of going fast without going fast. Funny thing its complete opposite of my current car-Lexus ls460, which is very fast, but the car is so smooth you cant feel the speed at all( I got a number of big speeding tickets in it :() The gas engine is very impressive as well, feels more responsive than the diesel.
Right now I do a lot of highway driving( about 15k miles/ year), but in 1 year it wont be anywhere near as much. The ML is going to be my only car for at least 3 more years and then I will probably going to lease a second car. But I wanna keep the ML as a second vehicle. Thats why my main decision breaker is reliability. I am not expecting the benz to have the reliability of lexus (fully loaded 2007 ls460l- 52k miles, not a single visit to dealer) but just not as bad as my old BMW 7 series. I know with diesels there is a bit more maintenance involved (DEC and fuel filters) but I am very lucky to have best friend who is an amazing mechanic, I would much rather have him do maintenance than spend weekends in stealership for repairs.
So I guess long story short, I know I will love either one as long as it wont be spending weekends at the dealership all the time, so which one will probably be more reliable in the long run gas or diesel? Thanks guys for any advice!
based on EVERYTHING you said, the decision is crystal clear...... the gas engine.

If you said that your highway miles were going to remain high for more than a year, then the diesel makes sense, but they're not, so lower miles in the future will not impact the long distance mileage.

You're not towing, so you don't need a diesel's torque, but you may like the V8 power type launch feel.

As far as reliability, both the gas and diesel are both not going to have that many miles for the time period you are talking about because of the 2nd car you speak of and if maintained properly, both should give you many years of enjoyment.

Regarding the price of gas vs. Diesel keep in mind that even if diesel is higher priced, it provides more BTUs and hence the better mileage. My guess is that the price of premium fuel required in the gas model is going to be similarly priced.
 

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2020 MB GLE 450 4MATIC, 2015 BMW M4
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Regarding the price of gas vs. Diesel keep in mind that even if diesel is higher priced, it provides more BTUs and hence the better mileage. My guess is that the price of premium fuel required in the gas model is going to be similarly priced.
That is reflected in the "Annual Fuel Cost" in the EPA chart above. However, this is highly variable depending on where you live and your mix of hwy/city driving. Diesel is almost always more than premium in my area, sometimes as much as .20 per gallon.
 

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2013 W166 ML350
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Discussion Starter #7
That is reflected in the "Annual Fuel Cost" in the EPA chart above. However, this is highly variable depending on where you live and your mix of hwy/city driving. Diesel is almost always more than premium in my area, sometimes as much as .20 per gallon.
I am in Boston MA, right now our diesel is cheaper than premium, but who knows whats it gonna be like in next few years, also noticed the cost of diesel service at dealer is much more than gas I am assuming this is because of the fuel filter and the DEF.(wonder how much PITA is to replace fuel filter)
Any cold start issues with bluetec?
Also find it very hard to believe that diesel will only have EPA 22 mpg, i was expecting at least 25 mpg
 

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2013 ML350 Bluetec
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I've got a bluetec on order, so you know my bias.

I read on one of the pickup truck forums about a guy who put over 900,000 miles on a cummins in-line 6 diesel in a RAM pickup. The engine had never been overhauled in that many miles. Most gas engines make 250,000 miles to either a valve job or full overhaul.

Because of the higher compression, more energy per volume (15%), and slower burn of diesel over gas, the bottom-end of the diesel engine must be more rigid. Someone told me that the cummins has 35% more crankshaft bearing surface area than similar sized gas engine. I don't know about the om642, but expect similar comparisons. In my mind, its a big deal toward reliability that the compression ratio in the om642 is now down to 15.5. Only what 5, above the gas.

I saw on an epa data sheet that the MB diesel design is intended for 10years and 8000 hours of operation. I know that the number of moving parts in a diesel engine is less than in a gas engine primarily because there is no ignition system/spark plugs. They used to say that the simplicity was compensated for by added parts in injection system. As gas output has ramped up (primarily through continuous operation rpm increases), the injection system of gas engines is nearly as complex.

I do mostly highway driving so the difference of 5 between highway mileage is significant. In mpg, the jump from 22 to 27mpg is much more fuel savings than a jump from 27 to 32. Also, I haven't seen nearly as many posts from diesel owners stating they don't get the epa mileage as from gas owners. Most diesel posts are for surprisingly high mileage above epa estimates. You don't suppose epa is trying to downplay the advantage of diesels do you? I mean after all, look at all of the diesels coming from Detroit ;-)

The bottom line is buy what you'll feel most comfortable with. I don't see how you can loose either way with the ML.
 

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'12 ML350BlueTec
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I am in Boston MA, right now our diesel is cheaper than premium, but who knows whats it gonna be like in next few years, also noticed the cost of diesel service at dealer is much more than gas I am assuming this is because of the fuel filter and the DEF.(wonder how much PITA is to replace fuel filter)
Any cold start issues with bluetec?
Also find it very hard to believe that diesel will only have EPA 22 mpg, i was expecting at least 25 mpg
I am in the Boston area as well & noticed that in the city when I'm at work (our trucks are International and Chevy diesels) diesel fuel the past few weeks has been the same or slightly more than premium. Heading south, in Braintree and Weymouth for example, diesel is slightly cheaper. Further south when I'm Bourne, it's the same price as mid-grade. The gas stations location also seems to play a role as in Bourne, the Shell station right off the highway, diesel was $4.03 while premium was $4.07. Across town on Main St at another Shell station, diesel was $3.83. As for mpgs, I just hit 3000 and have been. averaging about 24mpg. Our driving has been mixed as when my wife has the ML she does a lot of highway between Kingston, Bourne, & Hyannis. When we switch cars & I have it, my driving is mostly city & backroads between Braintree and Dorchester.
 

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'12 ML350BlueTec
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Pictures speak louder than words. This was this morning as I was filing up at the Sagamore Bridge.

 

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2013 W166 ML350
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Discussion Starter #11
I narrowed it down like this:
for Bluetec:
1. torque,
2.gas mileage
3. feels much better on highway, considering I gotta dive from Boston to New York every 2-3 weeks for at least another year, that’s a big plus
4. cool factor, since I never had a diesel

against bluetec:
1. 1 second delay in acceleration-kinda awkward (wonder if it will get worse over the years) the gas ml350 feels more responsive
2. I live 5 minutes from work, so i will always be driving on cold mornings for 5 days a week with a not fully warmed up engine, not sure how bad that’s gonna be for the engine? It looks like with the bluetec will have more issues in the long run, hense more visits to dealer, not sure how true that is though
3. More maintenance
4. Higher cost (though it cancels itself out with the higher resale, so not a big factor)

I went to another Benz dealer yesterday to drive a bluetec again, unfortunately they didnt have any, they did have an 09 CPO bluetec, so I figured why not. I drove the 2013 gas first and then the 2009 bluetec. The 2009 felt pretty bad for first 5 minutes, the delay in acceleration was terrible, it did get better after time. The tranny also felt very confused. Kinda off topic but the difference between W164 and W166 is incredible, Mercedes Benz really stepped up in their interior and overall feel of their new models. After driving the W166 diesel, the previous generation diesel felt like a UHAUL truck :(. I definitely need to drive w166 bluetec one more time to make a final decision
 

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2019 X350d, 2017 GLE500e, 2012 ML350BT (sold), 2013 A200 Exclusive(sold), 2009 ML350CDI(sold)
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Pictures speak louder than words. This was this morning as I was filing up at the Sagamore Bridge.

What are the relative octane ratings of these three varieties of petrol?
 

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2019 X350d, 2017 GLE500e, 2012 ML350BT (sold), 2013 A200 Exclusive(sold), 2009 ML350CDI(sold)
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Kinda off topic but the difference between W164 and W166 is incredible, Mercedes Benz really stepped up in their interior and overall feel of their new models. After driving the W166 diesel, the previous generation diesel felt like a UHAUL truck :(. I definitely need to drive w166 bluetec one more time to make a final decision
I definitely agree with you on this one. I have had nearly 70,000km pleasureably in the W164, which until now is the best vehicle I have ever owned. But now I am eagerly awaiting the W166 next month, which from the test drives, I am sure is a vast improvement.

PS: For those who note I have a DB7, that car is far superior from some criteria than any ML. But it does not fill the general purpose sector like the ML, for such fields as towing, load capacity, snow, rough roads, and deep kerbs. But I love that car so much I will not replace it with a later model.
 

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2019 X350d, 2017 GLE500e, 2012 ML350BT (sold), 2013 A200 Exclusive(sold), 2009 ML350CDI(sold)
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The gasoline octanes are regular = 87, plus = 89, & v-power = 93
Very interesting!! :confused:

My info says ML350 & ML500 need 95 octane while ML63 needs 98.
Do other outlets supply a higher grade, or are the US models detuned?
 

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2009 ML320 Bluetec, 2013 Tesla Model S 85
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Very interesting!! :confused:

My info says ML350 & ML500 need 95 octane while ML63 needs 98.
Do other outlets supply a higher grade, or are the US models detuned?
You are quoting RON which is commonly used in Europe.

North American pumps are labeled ( RON + MON ) / 2.

95 RON is approximately 90 ( RON + MON ) / 2.
And 98 RON is approximately 93.
 

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2012 ML 350 BT
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Had same thoughts but pulled the trigger on a Bluetec. First diesel.
My thoughts, energy is energy. Do you go cerebral about water when you are thirsty.
Its all a wash. However, Recently, Been putting off filling up for last few days. needle just wont go down. diesel seems to last longer, although in my head.
Performance: I can't find the lag that people are reporting. But I am in no hurry getting to next stop light.
Torque. Absolutely. Digging that.
Distance. Excellent for long road trips. Get to hang with the truckers at the station.
Bottom line. With this vehicle you are not going to go wrong with either version.
 

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2009 ML320 Bluetec, 2013 Tesla Model S 85
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Performance: I can't find the lag that people are reporting. But I am in no hurry getting to next stop light.
On my W164 Bluetec there seems to be two modes. If moving out at modest pace the "throttle" response (diesel doesn't have a throttle) is essentially as instantaneous as a gasser. Same when driven briskly. The only delay is when moving from one mode to the other.
 

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2012 ML350 4Matic
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I don't think it's worth it with the V6 BT unless you drive a lot of miles and want to keep it for a long time. The 3 mpg bump is nothing considering the fact that you are paying $1500 more for the BT plus diesel usually cost more than premium gas at the pump. Also, there's a near 300 pounds weight penalty with the BT engine. You can really feel the weight sitting on the front end. So there's no free lunch here. They really need to bring the ML250 BT 4 banger over because the mileage is a lot more impressive.
 

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They really need to bring the ML250 BT 4 banger over because the mileage is a lot more impressive.
You'lll be able to get it in the GLK soon, which will be a good fit. I think the real world ML350 BT's numbers are better than the test numbers, if anecdotal evidence is to be believed.
 
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