The information comes straight from Bernhard Heil, head of engine development at Mercedes-Benz cars, who was quoted by Autocar at the Geneva Motor Show 2014. “We have looked at three-cylinder engines, but there are too many compromises, such as refinement and the savings aren’t that significant.”
As some of you technical geeks already know, an inline three-cylinder engine is inherently unbalanced and needs a balancer shaft to counteract some of its harshness, which is why until now they have been mostly used in smaller cars.
The vibration problem, somewhat loss of refinement and increased build costs associated with adding a balancer shaft are simply too much for such a technology to arrive in the new C-Class, for example, as it was initially rumored.
Despite the above, an inline three-cylinder engine might eventually make its way on the smaller MFA (Modular Front Architecture) platform, on models like the A-Class or B-Class.
This is not yet confirmed, but in the future you may very well see a three-pot under the hood of one of the aforementioned cars, some even with a small electric motor to compensate for some of the NVH (Noise, Vibration, Harshness) and lower torque figures.