A As a specialist magazine for automobiles, engines and significant events in the field of motorsport, we have avoided using field-forest-and-meadow statistics for the past 73 years. But now we want to make an exception. Just because it required our respect, someone would really have counted: In the German forest there are 90 billion trees around. A good part of it flanked our comparison route today at an unusually brilliant speed. Or is the road faster than usual? The short straight seems to be in a more hurry than usual to bend into the now faster left, the crest after that plunges more deliberately than usual into the depths of a depression from which the route rises more powerfully than last time. We have seen this phenomenon before. But not in a mid-size sedan with four-cylinder diesel.
But here the 320d sweeps through the forest and shows that big announcements are followed by big deeds at BMW. Last year, when we were just cheering how terrific the three-series F30 charms curves, BMW informed us: With the next model, it should be over with messing around with handling. In the G20 generation, the three-man will find the sportiness again that we hadn't even noticed that he should have lost it. But what the first test against the C-Class proved. Both competed as petrol with 258 hp, here now in the most important drive versions as diesel with automatic.
Twin is now called two turbos
The three BMW gets the two-liter diesel with the melodic designations B47TÜ1 ('TÜ1' stands for 'technical revision 1') and Twin Turbo. Up to now, the B47 in the 320d described this as a twin-scroll charger, for which the exhaust gas flows from two cylinders each are channeled into one line. The new one really has two turbos - a small high-pressure charger for a lively response and a large low-pressure charger with variable geometry for sustained pulling power.
Because the supercharging technology enables higher injection pressures via the common rail system, the raw emissions are reduced, which facilitates exhaust aftertreatment. As before, in the BMW 320d this is done by a combination of urea injection and NOx storage catalyst. In the test car, the engine is coupled with the eight-speed automatic transmission. The larger overall spread and the clever control increase efficiency, speed and comfort. So the BMW gets going more spontaneously and more homogeneously, turns more motivated towards 4,000. The automatic system changes gears perfectly: precisely, quickly and seamlessly - whether at a slow or accelerated pace.
Biturbo? The Mercedes C 220 d already had the last engine generation OM 651. The new 654 gets by with a water-cooled VTG charger, the Honeywell GTD 1449. Two Lancaster balancer shafts calm the running of the engine, the urea injection takes care of the conscience - like BMW's B47 counts the OM 654 among the particularly emission-free diesels.
BMW 320d and Mercedes C 220 d weigh almost the same, have almost identical power and torque values. The minimal advantage of the BMW in the zero hundred sprint may have been due to the lower gear steps, which are now more closely timed. Or maybe not. In any case, both achieve a speed potential for which the top models of the pedigree, BMW M3 and Mercedes 190 E 2.5-16, should have been used 30 years ago. More significant than the minimal differences in driving performance is their presentation.
The Mercedes C 220 d relies on the fact that the force of the early torque is always sufficient after a small turbo low. Already at 3,000 rpmthe engine combines its maximum power, which gives its unwillingness to climb higher speed spheres a certain consistency. Then his course tends to be slightly improper. Soon, however, the nine-speed automatic intervenes, which harmonizes even better with high-torque diesels than with gasoline engines. Their understanding of sovereignty includes walking perfectly through the steps, but also simply ignoring inappropriate toddling in by the driver using the shift paddle.
This increases the grandeur of the driving experience in the C-Class. In a Mercedes you never have to worry about the Mercedes. He takes care of it, also for a surcharge: for perfect light with LED headlights (halogen lamps are standard) or for lane guidance, speed limit and distance compliance as well as lane changes on the motorway. Above all, the 220 d excels with comfort. With the air suspension (1,666 euros) it overcomes crumpled roads, bounces more carefully than the three in the comfort curve, even in the tighter sport mode.
So a bit tired, good Aunt C? No, nothing Aunt C, but on the country road Holla, the forest fairy! The C-Class does not show its dynamism, but in itself. This is mainly due to this brilliant steering that responds precisely, directly and smoothly. To do this, the developers have trimmed the chassis for level-headed agility, with a wide limit range in which the ESP likes to meet the driver without the driver noticing. This enables a relaxed kind of rush. In the Mercedes C 220 d you can talk about new goals with the understanding voice control. Or take a look outside and count whether it is true that ten percent of all trees in the forest are oaks.
Leipzig instead of Hanover
Do something other than driving in the BMW 320 d? Well, friends, you're on the wrong track. Afterwards on the country road you don't even want to press the turn-press through the more clearly structured, functional infotainment or look for the more complicated communication with voice control. So let's clarify that right here: In terms of space, the Dreier slightly surpasses the C, comes closer to it in terms of material quality. He also has an almost equally well-positioned assistant arsenal, but above all an exceptional talent in handling. The Dreier is not a car for a sideline. He's one for the middle clean.
Have it for that the developers trimmed it entirely for dynamism, especially as an M-Sport with lowering, sport brakes, adaptive dampers and variable sport steering. It responds quickly from the central position, even at a higher speed, small steering movements are sufficient - at the Drammetal motorway triangle, when you re-cut after overtaking, you pull the steering wheel too hard, and instead of taking the right lane, you turn right off the A 7 onto the A 38 towards Leipzig. But while the steering demands more concentration on the autobahn, it concentrates the driving experience on the country road.
With tension strut front axle (a MacPherson variant stiffened against twisting) and five-link rear axle, the three-wheeler uses the typical BMW Components that the Z4 also has. It drives almost as sporty. Even in Comfort mode, the adaptive damper is marginally bumpy on short bumps, it only cushions long bumps properly. But overall the hardness fits - to the particularly direct, feedback-active steering and the set-up with the gently wobbly rear end, which is brought back on line late by the ESP all the more decisively. With all the rousing Remmidemmi the Dreier puts on, it feels faster than the C-Class without ever actually being it. With the serenity that it conveys, the Mercedes often drives faster than it feels.
If the Mercedes C 220 d scores eight points less in the end because of the infotainment that is not that rich in functionality, the sparse standard equipment and The minimally higher consumption (6.7 instead of 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers in the test) suggests two things. On the one hand, the fact that its infotainment is not that rich in functionality, its equipment is sparse and its consumption is slightly higher. On the other hand, at what high level the two persevere. So they can take on anything in their class that - was clear now, wasn't it? - when three is not on the trees.