• Jul 17, 2008
When it comes to increasing fuel economy, turbochargers are the replacement for displacement. The combination of highly efficient snails and smaller engines provides the power people expect, while reducing the overall weight of the vehicle. Like other automakers that have realized that forced induction is a suitable stop-gap for improving fuel economy, Mercedes-Benz is in the process of developing turbo'd engines that will proliferate throughout its lineup in the next two and a half years.

Thomas Weber, a Daimler board member in charge of research and development told Automotive News, "All our vehicles will have turbocharged engines in series production by the end of 2010 at the latest."

Mercedes is joining BMW and Audi by investing heavily into forced induction, primarily to cope with new fuel economy standards in the U.S. and Europe. But turbos are only going to take them so far. Mercedes plans to introduce hybrids into its lineup towards the close of the decade, beginning with the S-class sedan in 2009. According to Weber, zero-emission vehicles are the automaker's long-term goal and Daimler intends to push heavily towards fuel-cells and electric-powered vehicle in the future, including an electric smart fortwo which will go into production sometime in 2010.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]


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  • 60 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      The shift towards turbos is a no-brainer, MB is not exempt from CAFE. The downside is that they will likely require premium fuel. But... E85 would be a perfect fit and being turbo you can take advantage of the higher octane.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Or they could just bring back the S430. It's not like it didn't have enough power. The lowest-end C-class is the C300 now. A 3.0L V6! Sheesh.

      I drove in to work next to a C-coupe, which was a supercharged (turbocharged?) 1.8L Mercedes from a few years back. It seems like it was a huge failure back then, I don't know that I see Mercedes really trying to reach for actual economy cars is necessarily going to pay off in the US.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think that Mercedes is reaching for "economy cars," per se. All auto manufacturers are coming up with their own solutions to meet the new CAFE standards, and technologies like direct injection and forced induction will help reduce fuel consumption. In Mercedes' case (among others), I don't see them sacrificing performance for increased fuel economy. I'd bet that they'll try to keep power-to-weight consistent - adding things like direct injection (which increased both power and fuel economy) and reducing vehicle weight, which they could *really* benefit from.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's amazing Someone mentions Saab and it's written off in a jiffy. I've even read the comment where the onwer is comparing a mid 80's Saab Turbo to a Current VW setup and reaches the conclusion that Saab must still be making crap turbos nearly 25 years on?

      What gives?

      Can nobody give credit where credit is due anymore?

      It is true that Saab did not invent the turbo. That Porsche and BMW all were using them before Saab ever did. However; Saab done something that none of the other companies did, in that they made it affordable. Saab were the first company to mass-produce a turbo-charged vehicle and it was during the 80's where Saab were most successful. Yes; they even managed to turn a profit in those years.
      Now we have other manufacturers like BMW and Mercedes 'down-sizing' their engines via means of forced-induction, 30 years after Saab went through all the teething problems. Year after year working with companies like Bosch and Mitsubishi to steadily improve efficiency and reliability so those two companies can now sell their wares to the German giants, like some plug'n'play item for a PC.
      Saab gets such a hammering from you guys and yet the TurboX will out perform an Audi 3.2 Quattro and is just marginally slower than the BMW M3. Add a mix of Bad weather and the ball game changes dramatically for the others, Saab on the other hand still delivers.
      So bottom line is that most car companies are jumping on the band wagon now the turbo has matured. It's just pure ignorance that most would rather shun Saab's engines without even test driving one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Saab were the first company to mass-produce a turbo-charged vehicle and it was during the 80's ..."

        Make that 1978 - the Saab 99 Turbo.

        The other Swedish manufacturer, Volvo, introduced turbo models of the 240 series sedans and wagons in 1981.

        Saab and Volvo were pioneers in using turbo charging on "regular" cars.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Mercedes has been making turbocharged vehicles since before you were a slimy little sperm in your daddy's nut sack. Do a little research.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Heyyyy.. they're finally catching on. Saab has been doing it for a while. now ford has a whole new lineup of twin turbos coming out starting his fall. MB wants to join the team too.

      it really is the most efficient thing to do. ford's DI turbo's will supply the same power, half the displacement, plus better fuel economy. no brainer..
        • 6 Years Ago
        Ford says they won't even introduce the FIRST ecoboost until 2009. So 3 by the end of 2008 seems unlikely. Also, Ford says they will only equip 500,000 cars with it in 2012. That seems a ways from all their vehicles having it.

        http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=27455

        And besides, you say the low-end vehicles will pick up ECOboosts? Putting 2.0T or 2.3Ts in Focuses will hurt their CAFE figures, not help them.

        Fact: You are making up facts.

        At the end of 2008, GM will be shipping the ECOtec 2.0T in 4 vehicles, and Ford will be shipping 0 ECOboosts. BMW will be shipping more turbocharged engines than either of them.

        Ford is not leading the way.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ Val

        Most road cars (with the exception of the Prodrive Psomething) don't have anti-lag systems as it shortens the life of the internal components.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Whoa, Ford leading the way?

        M-B has been making supercharged and turbocharged every year for even the US market for 10 years. And you say they're following Ford?

        Halving displacement means going to a high-pressure turbo setup, which means you'd better have a good anti-lag solution. I'd like to think Ford will, but then again, Audi has done turbos for 25 years and they still don't have any anti-lag measures in their designs.
          • 6 Years Ago
          Isn't anti-lag this thing that rally cars have, where fuel combustion takes places in the exhaust (or something like that). Coz that sounds spooky in a road car. Please name which models currently offered have those "anti-lag measures", and what do you consider such?
        • 6 Years Ago
        AMG has been running S/C's, but they have not once improved efficiency.

        And I said they were Following Saab & Ford. Turbocharging for efficiency is nothing new, but Ford has taken it to a new limit.. that cannot be denied. FOrd has put so much emphasis on the Ecoboost motors and designs, they are getting noticed.

        Saab initiated the idea, Ford is perfecting it with direct injection in addition.
        • 6 Years Ago
        TKOsoccer03:
        You're crowning an engine that didn't even ship yet as evidence no one is doing as much as Ford? Give me a break.

        Mercedes didn't make any cars for efficiency? I believe I mentioned above the 1.8 turbo C230 coupe I drove beside today.

        'Ford is taking it to a new limit. This cannot be denied.'

        I am flatly denying it. There's no evidence to support it. Ford has shipped nothing, where as even VW has made 1.8L engines up to 225HP and up. GM? 2.0L Ecotec making 261HP and better fuel economy than the N/A 2.3L Ecotec.

        MikeW:
        Audi has shipped no twin-scroll turbos that I know of. Definitely not in the pics you link. Twin-scroll would be a great anti-lag measure. Variable exhaust is not an anti-lag.

        The dyno charts you give have nothing to do with lag. Lag is when the turbo isn't spinning because the motor has been at low revs with the throttle plate closed, and you need to spin it up quick. The dyno chart you show gives ideal power at any given revs, after the turbo has been brought up to speed.

        Don't try to pull a VW thing over on me, I drive an A6 2.7T, which has a better looking torque curve than that chart even, and it it still has lag.

        Val:
        Those are anti-lag measure, but they aren't what I was referring to. I agree they are not appropriate for street cars. Street anti-lag systems are variable geometry turbos, or dual-scroll/dual-entry turbos. The problem is that at low air volumes (low revs and part throttle openings), the exhaust airflow moves too slow and thus doesn't push effectively on the vanes on the turbo, so it doesn't pick up revs quick. A solution is to partially block the airflow a bit, so that it comes out through a smaller hole, but comes out with more velocity.

        This is the same as putting your finger over the end of a garden hose. You put your finger over the end, it doesn't actually cause more water to flow, but the water now has more pressure and velocity and more force. So at low speeds, the system brings the exhaust gas in through a small hole and opens the hole at higher flows.

        Porsche's system is the most sophisticated, being a continuously variable system, but a two-stage system (twin scroll or dual entry) works well too.

        On a low pressure turbo (increasing output versus NA about 50%) it's not such a big deal, but on a high pressure turbo the turbo has more mass and the ratio between air flow at full bore and low throttle is much larger, exacerbating the problem. If Audi is really going to make a business out of doubling power output, they will need high pressure turbos and should use an anti-lag design.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have a C300 with the 230hp 3.0L V6, and I must say it is actually very economical in my opinion.

      I drive it normally, but i try not to go above 2200rpm when accelerating and it gives great low end power. On the highways I do 65-70mph and my mileage is as follows:

      I average between 21mpg and 24mpg in the city
      (best ever mileage seen was 25mpg in city and worst mileage was 14.0mpg but that was cos the engine wasnt warmed up - it quickly increased to about 18 before going back to 21+)

      On the highway I get between 24 and 32mpg driving 65-70mph. If I drive at 60 I can get up to 34mpg.

      I had driven a 2007 Mercedes-Benz C230 Sport before with the 2.5L V6 engine and that I have to say was a great engine. 201hp and 181lbs of torque - it didn't feel low on power at all as long as u kept the sport mode on. My revs were usually between 2,000 and 3,500rpm on the highway, and it was still economical so i'm personally impressed. Had it as a loaner during a service the other day again.

      The engine also got no less than 24mpg in the city (24.5-26 average) and between 30 and 35mpg highway, tho i've heard it can go even higher. If Mercedes brought that engine back I think it would be an excellent candidate for a base engine, considering today's gas prices.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah I know what you mean Ligor. I would keep my 3.0L V6 but even when I have a heavy foot I still get 16-17mpg in the city.

        My point is that if they want to have power and efficiency, they should keep the 2.5L V6 around because its a good engine and its efficient. It doesn't need to be turbo'ed or made any smaller.

        My dad has a Mercedes Diesel M-Class SUV and he gets 32mpg on the highway goin 65mph, and no less than 20mpg in the city (averaging about 23-24mpg in city). So I think keeping that V6 and the diesels would be a better option, though I do like turbos :P
        • 6 Years Ago
        well, if you don't drive it hard you're gonna get good gas milage

        I averaged 27mpg cruzing at 65mph for 35miles in my wife's Murano

        But her average over 13k miles (we bought it new) is only 20.2mpg.

        I'm averaging about the same on my G35 and I know it's because I have a lead foot.

        the last month i've gotten that up to 22.5mpg as i'm trying to becoe slightly more efficient in my style of driving

        thing is, I can't see me opting for a g35 with a i4 turboon in, unless it was a few grand cheaper
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is it the early 1980s again when turbos were common?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Mercedes has been making turbocharged vehicles since before you were a slimy little sperm in your daddy's nut sack. Do a little research.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Some you need to read some automotive history books. Turbo charging is not a new thing and the first production turbo cars were from GM in the 60's. BMW (1973)had a turbo in a production car 5 years earlier than Saab (1978). Audi have had at least one turbo model since 1980 in their lineup though have seem to be moving forward with supercharging which they were doing in their GP cars in the 1930's. Also, when discussing pressure fed motors I would take that "old" cast iron block over an aluminum one any day of the week.
        • 6 Years Ago
        superchargers have been around pretty much as long as powered flight.

        the great advantage of using an exhaust driven compressor is to just push air into the enigne, that exceeds it's maximum draw (vacuum). but it does this by transferring energey (from the expanding gasses) through the turbine (kinetically), which does not have a high parasitic draw that a crank-driven blower does. the downside is what we call 'lag' whcih is the time it takes for the exhaust gasses to pass at a rate, to increase the level of pumping (boost) by accelerating the compressor fan. an engine with a turbo attached should see less power than a comparable system that is N/A AT LEAST due to the blockage in the exhaust piping (the turbo) and typically also include the log-type manifolds that are common.

        a turbo will allow you to take a small engine and make more power than the eingine can do on it's own. this CAN infer that the total package size can be smaller than a larger engine (don't argue block sizes) as typically the number of cylinders and displacement WILL decide the size of an engine as you still have a minimum amount of space required to house the pistons that make up the swept volume (displacement).

        in other words, in a perfect world where all engines have sqaure bore/stroke, an engine with half as many cylinders would be half the size, and with the addition of a power adder, the engine should be able to make approx the same power. you cannot make power without fuel and air. so in the end a turbo-charged enigne under wot should use the same amount of fuel as a larger displacement engine, with greater amount of cylinders. the rest should come down to frictional losses, etc. So a 4cyl turbo shoudl return 4cyl mileage, and 8 cylinder performance... BUT most turbo engines run lower compression, require premium gas, AND run richer (compared to N/A). so off boost they have less power and on-boost they use more gas (premium is moot as any tuner will bump their timing and take advantage of higher octane for that small power increase).

        the next argument is the weight, turbos add weight. yes they do. is it less than the amount of weight saved by switching to a smaller displacement engine? well thats going to be very situational.

        i don't think turbo charging is going to suddenly save us all, but i would like to see boost controllers and alternate fueling maps avail for turbo'd cars (from the factory). allow an economy mode, and a performance mode. that way you can hit cafe reqs and still have the perf option, at which point it is solely up to the consumer.


        P.S. by now you all know i type like carp and ignore grammar (because this is autoblog, not grammarblog) so please keep any run-on sentence or punctuation or capitalization feedback to yourself.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The shift towards turbos is a no-brainer, MB is not exempt from CAFE. The downside is that they will likely require premium fuel. But... E85 would be a perfect fit and being turbo you can take advantage of the higher octane.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good news and bad news. Keeping a turbo'd motor's internals is going to require premium gas. With all the buffoon's out there saying "your car doesn't need premium just put in regular", this is going to make reliability quite interesting. Can't wait to see pics of detonated motors.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Which also pretty much eliminates the reason for having the turbo in the first palce.

        The engine will pull back timing and do the other stuff you mentioned, but it's doing all that when you need it most, during heavy aceleration.

        It's also doing it to prevent to motor from damage not as a courtesy thank you for using lower octane fuel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Modern cars (even such as my 1999-era Audi 2.7T) will detect excess detonation, and in the case of a turbo car, they will open the waste gates a lot earlier, thus bypassing the turbos and preventing damage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Agreed. It will make your car a slug when you push it hard (which is when turbos would normally be most effective). But it prevents engine damage, which was the poster's concern.
      • 6 Years Ago
      And they are fun! Even my 21 year old Grand National is so much fun to spool up that one turbo on the V6 and get yanked back into your seat. Not the fastest car I own by far, but one of the more fun to drive.

      "When it comes to increasing fuel economy, turbochargers are the replacement for displacement."
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