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Look for the M271 Engine Series article - Misc near the bottom of the index page.
With supercharging, direct injection, balance shafts, and [I think] ULEV certification, these engines should be less thirsty and about the same in power for each of the older engines that they replace in the lineup.
Since the Coupe is the only MB currently sold here with a 4 cyl, and since there will no doubt be only the one engine choice for us, all of the verbiage about the rest of what the new family of 4 cyls will offer is beside the point.
Power and torque will be VERY slightly less than the current 2.3, but fuel consumption, smoothness, quiet, and emissions all favor the new engine. [Long story, but this should have happened about 5 years ago, however MB botched an earlier attempt to replace all of the old-gen 4s in the lineup...they are ready now to get on with it.]
Since the topic is on the table as to whether or not the new engine family represents a real breakthrough, this Brit auto publication certainly thinks so. See their review of the MB 200 CGI. This engine is the one that gets the new gasoline direct injection system, which we probably won't see in our market for awhile, but reading between the lines tells me the new engines will indeed be a step forward.
See, the source of the noise and general roughness of the current 4 cyl [yes, yes, I know it's been improved in the last 2 years, but still is not state-of-the-art] is NOT just the supercharger per se, but rather a whole host of design details that are all addressed with the new engines. The balance shafts in particular have got to help, but there are literally dozens of small things MB has done in the new engine to make it a real breakthrough. For our market, where the supercharged engine will be the focus for now, it is important that the blower itself is now mechanically driven...the drive system was a source of some of the complaints about courseness in the current-gen iron block 4.
My drive earlier this year of a C230 Coupe indicated to me that I would have had no trouble living with this car for a long time - I can understand that current owners who are satisfied are skeptical that the new engines will really make much difference. Maybe not, but the early reviews are certainly positive...
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