Mercedes Is Doing Too Much Displacement Compensation On Its Badges

The 2015 Mercedes C-Class is actually a great-looking car and it sounds like it finally has up-to-date engines to give its main rivals some competition. One thing, though, is really going to bother me every time I see the back of one: the chromed numbers after the C.

The Germans doing alphanumerics have always used some creative license when it came to. That's how we ended up with stuff like 300E 2.6 or the C250 with a 1.8-liter turbo. But for the 2015 C-Class in the U.S., the two initial models will be the C300 4Matic, with a 2.0-liter turbo and the C400 4Matic with a 3.0-liter turbo. That's a big stretch as far as the badge is concerned.

We let AMG slide for the most part when they stuck "6.3" badges on an engine that was really a 6.2. BMW calling it a 335i when it's a 3.0-liter turbo is a little less palatable. Audi sticking "TFSI" on its cars with a supercharged V6 was just weird.

Mercedes is trying to claim an extra liter in size with its new C designations, which is absolutely crazy. The excuse has been that the numbers represent "equivalent displacement," so they're claiming their 3.0-liter turbo acts like a naturally aspirated 4.0. But if Mercedes can get 329 horses out of a 3.0, imagine what they could do with another liter.

This just goes back to my wondering why Mercedes just doesn't add a turbo badge on the back of a C200 and C300. It has escalated to the point where a C300 Turbo is much more honest and makes more sense than lying about the displacement so buyers don't feel inadequate somehow.

Or better yet, just call it a C-Class on the back. One of these days, this displacement compensation is going to completely confuse everyone. Right now, it just makes good cars look like they have identity crises.

Photo: Mercedes-Benz