Sun, 24 Nov 2002

C180 Kompressor: Better performance with new technology

Primastuti Handayani, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

A black Mercedes-Benz C200 was racing with a silver Mercedes-Benz C180 Kompressor around a hairpin turn at the Sentul International circuit in Bogor.

It was not an IndyCar race. And it was not even a street race like in The Fast and the Furious.

The drivers? They were definitely not gang leader Vin Diesel and undercover cop Paul Walker. They were journalists invited by PT DaimlerChrysler Distribution Indonesia to test-drive the two cars and compare their performance, particularly their acceleration.

On a bright sunny day in Sentul, about 30 journalists packed the pit to get a look at four Mercedes-Benz -- two C200s and two C180 Kompressors.

Divided into groups of three, every journalist got the chance personally to compare the two cars.

I drove the C200 first. Confined to a 600-meter length of track, the car could only reach 130 kilometers per hour (kph). It was a bit disappointing; I really hoped to go faster.

Driving the C200, I noticed the car was able to accelerate to 100 kph in about 10 seconds, close enough to the manufacturer's claim of 9.7 seconds.

Then I tried the C180 Kompressor along the same length of track. The car was lighter and smoother, though I could only get it up to 130 kph, far from the max speed of 222 kph.

After driving both cars, it was obvious the C180 Kompressor ran faster though its engine capacity was smaller, only 1,796cc compared to 1,998cc for the C200. The engine of the C180 Kompressor was also quieter than the C200.

The new C180 Kompressor has an output of 143 horse power (hp) at 5,200 rotations per minute (rpm) and a maximum torque of 220 Newton meters (Nm) at between 2,500 rpm and 4,000 rpm.

Fuel consumption is also better with only 8.4 liters of gas per 100 kilometers compared to the C200, which needs a liter more.

What kind of technology makes the C180 Kompressor perform better? The answer lies in the advanced technology of the twinpulse system, which combines super-charging, intercooling, variably adjustable camshafts, four-valve technology, Lanchester balancer and adaptive drive dynamics.

The compressor supercharge -- installed in all the new- generation power plants -- helps the engine achieve impressive torque from idle. It leads to the extension of the overall ration by up to 13 percent. So the new engine will run with the throttle wider open, making it more economical. It's the twinpulse effect: higher performance with lower fuel consumption.

When developing four-cylinder engines, the balancer shafts counterbalance the vibrations that would normally occur. This ensures a level of refinement that is exemplary in this displacement class.

The Lanchester harmonic balancer comprises two balancer shafts that rotate in opposite directions to each other at twice the speed of the crankshaft, to balance the inertia forces inherent to a four-cylinder engine. This ensures smooth running and acoustics similar to a six-cylinder engine.

But both the C200 and the C180 Kompressor are comfortable and smooth enough to satisfy even a seven-month-pregnant woman like myself.

The new C180 Kompressor will be available at Mercedes-Benz authorized dealers starting this week. While the exact price has yet to be released, PT DaimlerChrysler Distribution Indonesia's deputy director of marketing, Anto Nurdiyanto, hinted it will be slightly more expensive than the C200, which sells for Rp 455 million (US$49,500).

Completely knocked-down (CKD) C180 Kompressors will be produced in 1,000 units based on the market segment in the country.

"After the Bali bombing, everybody thinks twice about buying a new car. It effects automotive sales, perhaps by up to 12 percent," he said.

Thinking of becoming another Vin Diesel? Don't even try to get this car up to top speed on surface streets unless you want to pile up a glove box full of tickets.