Fuel economy runs are usually more boring than watching grass grow, but Mercedes have given us reason to be excited - by driving a car from Africa to the UK on one tank of gas.
The car used, a Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, travelled the 1968 kilometres from Tangier in North Africa to Goodwood in England without having to refuel - and on reaching its destination still had enough fuel left for a further 160 kilometres.
"Is it possible to drive a Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon from North Africa to the UK on just a single tank of fuel?" British journalist Andrew Frankel discovered the answer this question by conducting a very challenging experiment of his own.
He and his co-driver set off from Tangier in Morocco in a standard E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, crossed through Spain and France and reached their destination in Goodwood in England after driving for 27 hours.
On arrival the speedometer showed that a distance of 1968 kilometres had been covered - and the fuel gauge still showed that there was enough fuel left over for around a further 160 kilometres. The total range of the hybrid vehicle, which is available as an option with an 80-litre diesel tank, can therefore be calculated at some 2129 kilometres.
Admittedly, on their journey across two continents, four countries and through three time zones, the adventurous journalist and his companion made sure that they adopted a fuel-efficient driving style, however at times their progress was made difficult by heavy rain, high temperatures, big differences in altitude and also heavy rush-hour traffic.
Nevertheless they ultimately posted an average consumption of just 3.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres - combined consumption figures of 3.8 to 4.1 litres fall into the indicated range set by Mercedes-Benz . As a result, the 27-hour long-distance journey is not only proof of the outstanding practical qualities of the hybrid technology seen in Mercedes-Benz vehicles, but also demonstrates that the consumption figures indicated by the Stuttgart-based premium brand are both realistic and applicable in everyday use.
The Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid at the finish at Goodwood in England
Despite its frugal use of fuel, the Mercedes-Benz E 300 BlueTEC Hybrid boasts spirited driving pleasure. Its 150 kW four-cylinder diesel engine , which is combined with a 20 kW electric motor which can accelerate the Saloon from a standing start to 100 km/h in 7.1 seconds.
Surprisingly the hybrid Merc can get up to a top speed of 242 km/h (NZ models are restricted to 210 km/h) giving it desirable performance credentials.
The high performance fuel-sipper comes at a cost however, with the E 300 BlueTec Hybrid retailing in New Zealand from $139,290.