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We Hear: Mercedes Says No to Inline-Three Engines in Rear-Drive Cars

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/10/2014 Jason Udy
2014 Mercedes Benz E250 Bluetec 4Matic© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Mercedes Benz E250 Bluetec 4Matic

With stricter global emission standards, automakers are downsizing engines – displacement and cylinder count – and adding forced induction to meet new regulations. Even premium brands like Mercedes-Benz are not immune. However, a new report from Autocar claims the German automaker won’t be using three-cylinder engines in any of its rear-drive models.


" We have looked at three-cylinder engines, but there are too many compromises, such as refinement and the savings aren’t that significant," Bernhard Heil, Mercedes head of engine development, told Autocar at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

To counteract the inherent vibrations due to an odd number of cylinders, I-3 engines require balance shafts that add weight and cost, canceling out the advantages of a smaller displacement. Instead, the automaker is working on low-speed operation of its engines to maximize fuel economy. Heil points out that an I-3 engine’s refinement issues are especially noticeable at low speeds.

The report also suggests Mercedes could be working on diesel four-cylinder engines smaller than the 2.1-liter Bluetec turbodiesel I-4 available in the E250 sedan, GLK250 SUV and Sprinter van. Heil did indicate that a three-cylinder could be used with a motor/generator for a hybrid powertrain in transverse applications such as the A- and B-Class in Europe. No word on whether that engine would come to the new CLA sedan.

Source: Autocar


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