A brief study has been undertaken with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) applied to a prototype low emission, heavy duty, direct injection (DI) diesel engine aimed at evaluating the potential for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. By virtue of the very low smoke levels achieved with the prototype engine, EGR can be applied at full load for substantial reductions in NOx down to c. 2.5 g/kWh (1.9 g/hph) over the European R-49 13-Mode test. These results were achieved with competitive particulates and fuel consumption and without recourse to engine de-rating. Compliance with the NOx emissions proposed for the year 2000 Japanese market was also demonstrated. These results are summarised in this paper and justify the need for a major research programme aimed at demonstrating the full potential of using EGR to develop a fuel efficient, low emission truck engine concept for the 1990's and beyond. At an early stage this research must address whether such a concept will ever provide acceptable durability using a practical EGR system.