What is it?
The new Mercedes-Benz C-class has brought engine downsizing to the compact executive saloon class, with Mercedes choosing a small 1.6-litre, four-cylinder engine for its entry-level diesel offering.
Actually, there are two versions of this same engine. One is the C 200 Bluetec with 134bhp and the other is this C 180 Bluetec, with a mere 114bhp. As is the case with the smaller diesels in the A-Class range, the engines (and gearboxes, in the case of the manual versions) are sourced from Renault, and here we find the familiar 1.6 dCi.
According to Mercedes, the engine has been modified in exterior detail, allowing it to rotate 90 degrees from its transverse positioning in Renault/Nissan models, to fit into the C-Class’s longitudinal layout.
Furthermore, the software that runs the engine has been changed to alter its character towards a more Mercedes-like attitude. The aim was to achieve a stronger, smoother torque delivery and reduce noise and vibration, while keeping fuel economy high.
Official performance and economy figures are encouraging, the C 180 Bluetec achieving 67mpg on the combined cycle and reaching 62mph from rest in 11.1sec when mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s also the option of a seven-speed automatic transmission. While the power output is lower than the usual application of this engine in Renault/Nissan models, the torque figure is up, from 151lb ft to 206lb ft. This becomes quite obvious once you start driving it.