Consumer Reports Digs Up True Cost of Mercedes' Diesel

GL350
When it comes to vehicle costs, it’s all a balance, isn’t it?

Consumer Reports discovered this firsthand when it brought a Mercedes-Benz GL350 diesel SUV to the dealer to fill up on AdBlue, the urea-based additive that keeps large turbo-diesel engines emissions-compliant by breaking down smog-producing nitrogen oxide into water and nitrogen, and the vehicle will stop running if the fluid runs low.

After a year of driving and with 16,565 miles on the odometer, the GL350 required a top-off of AdBlue to the tune of $32.20 per gallon for 7.5 gallons. After labor, the bill came to a hefty $316.99.

According to Consumer Reports' calculations, at this rate AdBlue costs alone would total $1,457.80 (without labor) for 100,000 miles of driving, canceling out roughly a third of the fuel savings you get instead of buying a comparable vehicle such as the GL450 V-8. (There is no gas-powered V-6 GL.)

Like we said, though, it’s all about balance. A simple oil change at a Mercedes-Benz dealership will set you back $100 every year, according to the folks at the service center of Mercedes-Benz of Chicago. In other words, if you’re buying a luxury SUV somewhere in the range of $67,000, you probably shouldn’t be shocked by most service bills.

Then again, if you buy a BMW diesel, the free maintenance plan makes AdBlue free for the first 50,000 miles.

Mercedes-Benz GL320 BlueTec—Feeling a Bit AdBlue Over Spending a Lot of Green (Consumer Reports)

Comments 

Amuro Ray

Though I don't work for Consumer Digest, but boy, did they copy my blog response here on Kicking tires back from Mar, 2008? I said pretty much the same thing!

THere's no saving on this - both for env or money. This is a rich people's car, to show off "I'm rich and I'm green!." PERIOD.

Hybrit

I would challenge MB on these outrageous charges - this "piss poor" Urea scam should be covered under the emissions warranty since Ad Blue is part of that system. Maybe that's why BMW is picking up the tab for the first 50k miles - I supposed they'll charge $70 per gallon for their ad blue to make up the difference after 50k miles. I can't believe people would pay another $300 per year to drive a sluggish diesel clattertrap. Just one more reason diesel will never make it in the US.

well the thing is these aren't sluggish at all.

Now, I'd still just get a V-8 and if I had the money to afford it I could afford the premium gas too. The ML 550 is a blast to drive. But the diesel M class is pretty sweet too. Lots of GRUNT!

Hybrit

I love the look of the GL and knowing MB I'm sure the diesel is a good performer. But I'm with you Dave, I would go with the gas version. Ad Blue should be covered under the emissions warranty, just like all the other components that make the vehicle comply with federal law.

Tony

Hybrit,
you're way over the line!

"...I can't believe people would pay another $300 per year to drive a sluggish diesel clattertrap..."

1. sluggish ? Dream on!
2. People who shop this car:
- don't even know this
- don't care about this
- don't mind this

See, I can complain to the eternity about 19'' wheels on the Venza because most Venza shoppers dig deep into their finance. Often, this is a primary car of their life. For them replacing those tires could be a problem. But if you allocate 70 big ones for a car... Change your blue stuff. Thank you.

CC

You can usually get a pretty deep discount for MB vehicles these days to off set the maintainence bills to make it equivalent to BMWs. My friend just got a ML for 10K off MSRP, doubt you can do that with X5 or X3.

jim souder

yeah but lets not forget the main reason a lot of people buy diesels is because they last longer than gas models , and they are far from sluggish as stated by what im sure is a hybrid driver , who still hasnt gotten it that diesels get hybrid mileage, and in the long run cost less to run , and id gladly take a new diesel anyday over a new hybrid

Zack

so what kind of diesel do you drive?

Dan

"...canceling out roughly a third of the fuel savings..."

I fail to see how this says that the diesel offers no savings. In fact, it states quite clearly that the diesel still saves money over the gasoline version (as far as fuel goes anyway), and even if you include the cost of the additive it is still cheaper.
Given that though, I see no excuse for this additive to be so expensive. If you could fill it up with a third party product and still have the system register as refilled, I imagine that the costs would be even more minimal.

RS

Oh god, $100 dollars for an oil change? Do these people know how much 5 quarts of oil and a filter cost?

kendosk

it takes more then 5 qt of oil, probably 8. so 8 at of full synthetic oil $6 each, and a 20 dollars filter, plus 0.4 hour labor @ $125/hr, plus tax...about right.

Tony

kendosk,

People with $70K car don't care how much oil change cost. You know what is their mortgage like?

BTW, you can go to Pep Boys and get 5qt synthetic + any filter for $25. They normally have this special running. Or may be some other special. This is just DIY tip.

H

Many European cars require oil conforming to their own standards which are not met by the traditional American branded oils. This means you usually have to ante up for European oils like Elf and Esso and Pento and Total. At any rate, that's part of the "priviledge" of owning a European car.

George

The spare wheel is sacrificed for the additive container, and you get the privilege of run-flat tires.

No sale.

RS

Well whether its 5 or 8 qts I think we can agree it's a little ridiculous to pay that much that when DIY is +- $25/30.

To me it doesnt matter if you have the money to waste or not, wasting is wasting.

Also .4 hours for a simple oil change? Where are you going?

kendosk

BMW dealer. I work here and we charge 100 for lof required synthetic, and 200+ for the one required 10w-60 synthetic, like M3s.
yeah I know, pretty expensive.

Zack

At least BMWs have pretty good motors, as opposed to those oil burnin audis.

Zack

Where do they get Ad blue from anyway? I suppose Dieter, Helmut and a few other guys pee into a bottle and laugh about how they're going to get $32 per gallon for it from stupid, rich Americans.

John Drucher

THis is a classic example of the government picking on diesels, trying to elminate the last .0001 percent of pollution. Ridiculous. If everyone was driving diesels, we would be exporting oil from the u.s. not importing.

this post is very informative and useful

Mercedes really has beautiful car designs. I hope that by the coming years they will be surpassing the expectations of their customers.


LG Turner

The only big truck that doesn't have to add urea blue is the International because it chose to meet the CA emission requirements with Exhaust Gas Recirculation instead. It was a real bummer for the EGR valve to open wide open starving the oxygen and thereby producing less nitrous oxide when pulling up a hill. It slowed the truck to a crawl and took one lower gear than the earlier no-EGR engines to pull that hill. Volvo, Detroit Diesel, Caterpiller, and Cummins all went with the blue urea additive. Pilot truck stops remodeled their fuel island to add blue additive pumps on the outboard fuel island. They sell blue additive in truck stops in 2 1/2 gallon square box dispensers.

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