Mercedes E 200 NGD - heavy methane
The E 200 NGD sure isn't the E-class' top of the range model, but it doesn't really have to. Especially that the 2-litre, four cylinder engine under the bonnet does quite enough to save the NGD from becoming an obstruction to traffic fluency – 156 PS of power and 270 Nm of torque are nothing to be ashamed of. Acceleration between 0 and 100 km/h within 10,4 s and hitting a top speed of 220 km/h are also beyond what driver of such a noble car may desire. If you want to burn some rubber and melt a glacier with your exhaust gasses, opt for the E 63 AMG instead, but this one is green, not mean. End of story.
Read on, though. If we are to believe the manufacturer's declarations (and what choice do we have, anyway?), the "heavymethane” variant of the E-class makes do with rather modest 4,3 kg (5,74 m3) of CNG per 100 km. Given that compressed natural gas is usually half the price of petrol or diesel, that's brilliantly cheap for a large car like this one, not to mention the cleanliness and "greenliness” resulting from CNG's low carbon footprint (the E 200 NGD emits 116 grams of CO2 per km) and virtual freedom from particulate matter emissions. Should the vehicle run out of methane, it automatically switches over to petrol, which is then consumed at the rate of 6,3 l/100 km.
The car comes equipped with three high-pressure CNG containers – one behind the rear bench and two under the boot floor. The cylinders' physical capacity is 121,5 and they can hold up to 19,5 kg (26 m3) of methane compressed to more than 200 bars of pressure, which should be good for 450 km of driving on a single to-the-brim fill-up. Unfortunately, some boot capacity has been compromised, but at 400 l the trunk remains quite capable. Unfortunately again, the E 200 NGD isn't particularly cheap (at 47808 euros in Germany it's actually a tad more expensive than the simultaneously presented E 220 CDI BlueTEC BlueEfficiency Edition diesel, which comes standard with start/stop system), but Mercedes forecasts annual fuel cost savings of approx. 1000 euros (at 20 thousand km of annual mileage), which seems beyond the oil-burner's reach. So, will the NGD variant become more of a lead-role star in the sales film or will it remain an extra? Much depends on the market probably – while the car can be successful in its homeland, it may not quite be elsewhere.
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