Detroit: 31mpg Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC

Mercedes-Benz has taken the wraps off its Detroit-bound S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC sedan.

After a 15 year hiatus, Mercedes-Benz will reintroduce a diesel-engined version of its range-topping S-Class sedan for the North American market. The S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC will debut at next week's Detroit Auto Show.

Using the same BlueTEC 3.5-liter V6 diesel seen in its M-Class and GL-Class SUVs, the S350 BlueTEC will be rated at 210 horsepower and 400 lb-ft. Mercedes-Benz says that the big sedan will be capable of 31 mpg on the highway, a vast improvement over the 21 mpg offered by the S550 and even a small boost above the S400 Hybrid.

The S350 BlueTEC will also feature Mercedes-Benz's 4Matic all-wheel-drive as standard.

The S350 will serve as the entry-level model for Mercedes' North American lineup, although the automaker isn't expected to release pricing until much closer to its on-sale date during the first quarter of 2011.

The last diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz in North America, also called the S350, was offered through the 1995 model year. The automaker is intent on expanding its diesel presence worldwide - and we wouldn't be surprised to see other luxury automakers follow suit in the full-size class, namely BMW and Audi.