Besides the physical size of a car, downsizing in automotive terms can also mean reduction in engine sizes. Now, you might think that a smaller engine means less power and hence a recipe for pathetic performance but I can tell you that you can’t be anymore wrong.
In recent years, the car makers have faced big pressure to lower their cars’ fuel consumption numbers as well as their CO2 emissions figures thanks to high fuel prices and environmental concerns. While this can be achieved in European markets by introducing more new generation clean diesel models, Asia’s non-acceptance of the oil burner means the car brands have to pursue continuous developments in petrol engines.
The result – the downsizing of petrol engines for better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions but with no reduction in terms of power output. How is this possible then? How can a smaller engine make as much power as that of a much larger one? The answer is charging – supercharging, turbocharging or twincharging.
Mercedes-Benz has gone the supercharging route for several years now with its 1.8-litre Kompressor four-cylinder motors that we see in models like the C and E-class among others. With the new E-Class though, it has introduced a new range of 1.8-litre four-cylinder engines with direct injection and not supercharging, but turbocharging. These engines can be found in both the entry-level E200 CGI BlueEfficiency and the E250 CGI BlueEfficiency.
Both the E200 CGI and the E250 CGI are basically powered by the same 1796cc four-cylinder motor albeit in different states of tune. The entry-level E200 CGI gets 184bhp and 270Nm, really healthy numbers considering the engine’s size. The E250 CGI though, is even more impressive thanks to the 204bhp and 310Nm its engine can muster. This is even more power than the 2.6-litre V6 in the old E240. Straight line performance is sprightly for a large executive with a four-cylinder motor – 0-100km/h takes 7.5 seconds with top speed rated at 242km/h – in comparison the E200 CGI takes 8.4 seconds to reach 100km/h from rest and has a top speed of 233km/h.
The four pot offers more than enough performance on the road and there’s a healthy dose of force aspirated torque in the mid-range to effortlessly overtake slower traffic. Thanks to the rather muted turbocharger and the strong torque, you can hardly tell that this is a force aspirated motor. Compared to the competition’s four-pot units though, the Merc’s in-line 4 isn’t as refined and sounds rather flat and uninspiring no matter how hard you work it.