The C250d is equipped with a 2.1-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine, a time-proven unit that has powered a long list of Mercedes models including the E, the outgoing GLK, the new GLE and even the Sprinter van. In this application, it sends 201 horsepower and a generous 369 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that can either be left in drive or shifted manually using paddles. Mercedes’ 4Matic all-wheel drive system is available at an extra cost.

If you’ve ever driven an older diesel you likely remember having to wait for the orange glow plug light to turn off before you can start the engine. It’s sometimes called “a moment of silence for Rudolf Diesel,” the mechanical engineer who is credited for inventing the diesel engine over a hundred years ago. The wait is a thing of the past, and it’s possible to start the C250d instantly in virtually all weather conditions. It comes to life with the deep, low rumble that’s expected from a compression-ignition engine, but the noise isn’t overly loud and it becomes markedly less audible as the four-cylinder warns up.