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08.06.2006 – 10:00

Daimler AG

450,000 kilometres in 26 days: Mercedes-Benz gives the starting signal for a singular long-distance drive from Europe to Asia
Exceptional acid test for the new generation of the E-Class

450,000 kilometres in 26 days: Mercedes-Benz gives the starting signal for a singular long-distance drive from Europe to Asia / Exceptional acid test for the new generation of the E-Class
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The new generation of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class which will be
launched in the European showrooms on June 10th, faces an exceptional
acid test right at the beginning: On October 21st, 33 E-Class cars
with diesel drive start on a long-distance drive from Paris to
Beijing, where the local production of the business saloon is
currently starting. The symbolic bridging between Europe and Asia
over long stretches of the journey, follows the route of the first
transcontinental car race in history which was started exactly 99
years ago on June 10th, and which led from Beijing to Paris in 62
days. With the modern E-Class cars, Mercedes-Benz aims to accomplish
this journey, which in parts runs through pathless terrains, in only
26 days.
The E-Class fleet which starts from Paris on October 21st,
consists of 33 series-production E-Class models with diesel engine,
some with 4-MATIC, the all-wheel-drive. Alongside 30 E 320 CDI, three
E 320 BLUETEC partake in the race. Through this forward-looking
technology diesel cars become particularly clean, especially through
reducing the emission of nitrogen oxides.
"70 years after Mercedes-Benz as the first car producer introduced
the diesel engine in passenger cars, we now want to underline the
performance of our modern diesel technology with the long-distance
drive from Paris to Beijing", explains Dr. Thomas Weber, member of
the board of DaimlerChrysler AG, responsible for Group Research &
Development of the Mercedes Car Group. Independent experts forecast a
worldwide trend towards diesel cars and expect the global diesel
market share to rise from currently 18 to nearly 30 per cent in 2015.
The long-distance drive Paris - Beijing 2006 will start in the
heart of Paris on October 21st, and spans a total distance of
approximately 13,600 kilometres, crossing the borders of eight
countries, to finish in Beijing where the teams are expected to
arrive on November 17th. One day later, the "AutoChina 2006" starts
in Beijing, the most important automotive fair, where also the new
generation of the E-Class will be presented. In this drive through
France, Germany, Poland, the Baltic states, Russia, Kazakhstan, and
China the sportive challenge for the participants lies in achieving
the lowest possible fuel consumption on both the individual stages
and in total, and all this in spite of the ambitious time schedule.
Added together, the 33 E-Classes will drive more than 450,000
kilometres in 28 days, two of which are resting days for the teams.
This equals more than eleven times the circumference of the equator.
Altogether 330 drivers will be sitting behind the steering wheels
of the cars, taking the stages in turns. Amongst these are
Mercedes-Benz customers from various countries, as well as
journalists, taxi drivers and celebrities. Drivers interested in this
challenge may apply for joining in for one of the stages on the web
at www.e-class-experience.com from summer 2006.
From Paris to the Russian town of Yekaterinburg, the route of the
E-Class long-distance drive mostly follows the original route of the
first transcontinental car race in history, which was started in
Beijing on June 10th, exactly 99 years ago. Five cars participated in
the original race: an Italian Itala, a Dutch Spyker, two 
De Dion Boutons and a three-wheeled Contal from France.
10,000 miles later and after stresses and strains which are hard
to imagine today, Scipione Borghese reached Paris after 62 days on
August 10th, 1907. And he had even taken a detour over St. Petersburg
to visit a ball.
The V6 diesel engine of the E 320 CDI which will be the power
plant in the cars of the fleet during the long-distance drive, had
its debut in May 2005, again with an unusual acid test. In three
series produced E 320 CDI cars the engine completed a failure-free
thirty-day test marathon on the high-speed course of Laredo, Texas.
The results were three FIA-acknowledged diesel world records over
100,000 kilometres (at an average speed of 225.93 km/h), 50,000 miles
(at 225.456 km/h) and 100,000 miles (at 224 km/h). In spite of the
extraordinary strains, the maintenance-free diesel particulate filter
worked without any losses over the entire record distance -clear
proof of the reliability and longevity of this exhaust technology.
With the long-distance drive from Paris to Beijing, Mercedes-Benz
ties in with this sporty top performance.

Contact:

Johannes Reifenrath, Phone +49 711 17-75834,
johannes.reifenrath@daimlerchrysler.com

Internet:
More news by DaimlerChrysler at: www.media.daimlerchrysler.com

Drivers interested in this challenge may apply for joining in for one
of the stages on the web at www.e-class-experience.com as from the
summer 2006.

Original content of: Daimler AG, transmitted by news aktuell