Mercedes News

To keep pace with government decrees to save fuel and consumer desire cut costs, the 2013 version of the C250, with its turbocharged four-cylinder engine under the prow of its popular C-Class model, Mercedes’ top-selling nameplate in the United States. Has the patient survived this powertrain transfusion, or are drivers eternally banished to the slow lane? Thankfully there’s nothing to worry about; this car is ready for the Autobahn.

It may only displace a featherweight 1.8-liters but the engine in the C250 sedan is full of surprises. With a blower and direct fuel injection it delivers 201 horsepower with 229 lb-ft of torque, numbers that on paper are pretty disappointing. Many engines of similar displacement from competing automakers put out significantly more ponies and twist, but this little dynamo impresses in more ways than one.

Despite its small size it pulls like a team of horses. It’s strong, even at low engine speeds. The car accelerates nicely from a standstill and it keeps on pulling throughout the rev-range. It’s impressively flexible and feels like it’s delivering about 250 horsepower, and is an excellent choice for a pre-owned vehicle.

The engine is matched exclusively to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Sure, a manual gearbox might be fun, but this slusher is so good you’ll hardly want for three pedals. It’s quick, refined and eager to work with the powerplant to deliver the best performance with the lowest consumption.

Speaking of fuel economy, the C250 sedan stickers at 22 miles per gallon in the city and up to 31 on the highway. According to the U.S. EPA it should average 25 MPG in mixed driving; unfortunately Uncle Sam is wrong about this little Mercedes because it failed to deliver what the Monroney said it should… it actually did better.

In heavy-footed driving it returned about 28 miles per gallon in mixed driving, which is pretty damn good for a spunky little luxury sedan. Under promise and over deliver, that’s what you call doing it right.

The C250 combines outstanding fuel economy with capable driving dynamics; it’s also subtle. From interior design to exterior styling, the car is handsome and understated; it doesn’t shout like some of its competitors. It’s also solidly built and quite a bit of fun to throw around on a twisty road.

But this Mercedes’ standout feature is that new turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It’s smooth running, efficient and plenty powerful. There’s really no need for either of the up-level V6 engines, this little powerplant can do it all. If this is how every automaker responds to cries for better efficiency then the future of motoring is bright.