Motor Trend Blog: 2008 Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Sport: Driving gently toward 2020

By Angus MacKenzie

I've been driving a Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI Sport around Britain the past couple of weeks. It's a pleasant car: 17-inch AMG alloy wheels, bigger brakes all round, sports seats, and a swag of options, including something called the "Advanced Agility Package", which offers continuously variable rate shocks, paddle shifters for the five speed automatic transmission, sharper throttle response, and a sport mode button on the center console.

As equipped, this particular C220 CDI Sport stickers for about the same money as a base C350 Sport in Britain. But instead of the 268hp V-6 under the hood, there's a 170hp, 2.2-liter four cylinder turbodiesel. It's a solid engine, a little gruff at idle on occasion, but otherwise commendably smooth and quiet. With 295lb-ft on tap at just 2000rpm, it does a good job of shifting this 3494lb sedan - claimed 0-60mph time is under 8.5sec.

In sport mode the C220 CDI Sport is entertainingly brisk point-to-point, thanks to the more aggressive transmission calibration, though the ride deteriorates markedly, becoming noticeably jittery on anything other than the smoothest blacktop.

However, I've been more interested in the CDI bit than the Sport bit, and not just because I've been paying more than $10 for a gallon of fuel, or roughly 150 bucks for a full tank. The C220 CDI is a fascinating car because its claimed fuel consumption on the European combined cycle is precisely 42.8 miles per Imperial gallon. That's just a fraction over 35 miles per U.S. gallon, the fuel consumption Washington has mandated automakers must average by 2020.

Of course, there are significant differences between how the Europeans calculate city, highway and combined fuel consumption numbers, and how the Feds do it. But after more than 2500 miles on a mixture of freeways and country roads, suburban streets and log-jammed London, the C220 CDI has been averaging 33 to 35 miles per U.S. gallon. Our experience with the revised EPA mileage ratings introduced earlier this year suggests they are a much more accurate reflection of real world fuel consumption. So, on the evidence, the C220 CDI provides a glimpse of America's automotive future.

So, how does the future feel? In a word, gentle. Thrust builds differently in a diesel, even a relatively small capacity one. In the C220 CDI, the power peaks at just 3800rpm, and going much beyond 4000rpm is pointless. So it never sounds fast. After a while, you realize you're driving with a different, more relaxed rhythm -- always striving to maintain momentum; squeezing the throttle, rather than punching it; constantly mining the mother lode of torque. And suddenly, you find you're covering the ground just as quickly as you would in a regular gas-powered car.

Except you're getting way better mileage: On the freeways, humming along happily at 70-80mph, the C220 CDI returns close to 40mpg. Crawling through stop-start London traffic the equal of L.A.'s notorious 405 freeway crawl, or anywhere in Manhattan at 5pm on a weekday, it still manages 25mpg, automatic transmission, air conditioning, and all.

The Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI proves there's no question an average fuel consumption of 35mpg by 2020 is technically achievable in a reasonably sized sedan, albeit at a price (remember, this thing is basically C350 money). But it also suggests a lot of us are probably going to be driving very differently in 2020, too. With cars like this, our roads could become a much gentler place.

Link to the article >> HERE

Copyright © 2008, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by