It may seem surprising that Mercedes, a premium German luxury brand would ever use a Renault engine. It’s not that Renault makes bad engines, quite the contrary because Renault has developed some of the greatest F1 engines of all time, but the brand value of Renault is nowhere near Mercedes.
But, in 2010 Mercedes and Renault & Nissan signed a mutual agreement that entails some technology sharing between the manufacturers. Daimler bought a 3.1% share in both Renault & Nissan, and Renault & Nissan bought a 1.55% share in Daimler each.
The partnership resulted in a co-development of a 1.6L 4-cylinder turbo engine mated to a Renault transmission which was offered in the Mercedes Vito van. But Renault also provided a 1.5L diesel engine that is still used in some A-Class, CLA-Class, and B-Class models. Furthermore, a C200 model was also offered with a 1.6L Renault engine.
Before the C200 started using a 1.6L diesel Renault engine in the 2021 model year, the C200 used to offer a 2.1L engine. The new engine in the C200 was a direct result of Mercedes wanting to achieve the highest possible efficiency standards, but still offer enough punch and a fairly sophisticated powerplant.
Renault developed a 1957 cc 4-cylinder engine with 160hp and 360Nm of torque. It’s worth mentioning that the outgoing 2.1L engine offered slightly less horsepower, and pretty much the same torque numbers. The fuel consumption of the 1.6L engine is also lower at an estimated 4.2L/100km (56 MPG US)
The manual versions of the C200 are capable of even more impressive fuel efficiency results compared to the outgoing version. The 0-60MPH times of these models are somewhere around the 8-second mark. All the technical aspects of this engine are fairly impressive for an entry-level Mercedes C-Class.
It’s also worth mentioning that Mercedes does not offer this version of the C-Class in some markets, including the US. These types of engines appeal mostly to the European market, and the asking price is somewhere around $41k-47k, depending on the transmission and trim options.
Mercedes A-Class, B-Class, CLA-Class
But probably the most widespread Renault engine inside a Mercedes is the 1.5L 4-cylinder found in the A180, and other entry-level Mercedes B-Class and CLA-Class models. This engine is fairly identical to the one found in the Renault Megane, the only difference is the slight increase in horsepower in the Mercedes variants.
Mercedes also sells a minivan called the Mercedes Citan, this minivan is literally a re-badged Renault Kangoo, not many people are even aware of its existence because it bears little to no relevance for the Mercedes brand name. This platform is also shared with the Dacia Dokker, so basically, the very same minivan wears three different badges.
Renault has provided 100k+ Renault engines to Mercedes since 2012 for the A-Class, B-Class, and CLA-Class models. These types of agreements are fairly common in the automotive industry because they ensure a hefty saving to all the brands involved. Especially today when car engines are being downsized and a 4-cylinder is the most popular engine on the market.
Renault & Nissan engines reliability
Mercedes-Benz is a brand that is known for its premium build quality, exceptional luxury vehicles, and a general increase in complexity compared to brands like Renault or Nissan. This means that Mercedes takes a different approach when developing a new model compared to Renault and Nissan which focus on availability.
The most popular engine used between these brands is the aforementioned 1.5 dCi 4-cylinder. This engine had some issues in the early stages of production, but Renault made sure to sort out all those issues fairly early in the production.
That’s the reason why this engine is so widespread as it is. Though it may seem that a Renault engine in a Mercedes is a recipe for disaster, the facts are reassuringly in Renault’s favor as these engines offer great reliability, efficiency, and power.
Some reports suggest that these engines are also fairly oil-thirsty, but other than that, the later versions of this engine have only gotten better and better, and rarely any specific issues were reported.
Is it worth buying a Mercedes with a Renault engine?
When buying the C-Class, or any other Mercedes model that offers a Renault engine, you should not focus on the ‘’Renault engine’’ part of the car. The vast majority of people own these cars without ever being aware that the engine is not developed by Mercedes.
And that’s the silver lining of the entire story. People just don’t realize because there is no need to be suspicious. Many modern Mercedes models are 4-cylinder engines that differ slightly from the ones offered in these models. So, yes, if you want an entry-level Mercedes with these engines, it is worth it.
Does Mercedes offer its engines to other manufacturers?
As mentioned previously, these joint ventures by car manufacturers are fairly common, and Mercedes has been providing the incredible 4.0L AMG BiTurbo V8 engine to Aston Martin for a while now. The Aston Martin Vantage, DB11, and the recently released Aston Martin DBX all use the aforementioned AMG V8.
Audi, Porsche, Bentley, and Lamborghini all use different variants of the same V8 engine. The Audi RS6/RS7/RSQ8, The Bentley Benteyga/Continental, Porsche Panamera/Cayenne, and the Lamborghini Urus all use the same 4.0L V8 engine in different stages of tune.
All car manufacturers these days do this, Chevy does it, GM does it, VAG does, Toyota does it. It’s an easy cost-cutting measure that most people will never be aware of.
What’s the best Mercedes engine ever offered to a different manufacturer?
As seen previously, these types of ventures are common in the entry-level car market, but also at the highest end of the car industry. A perfect example of this is the iconic AMG 6.0L twin-turbo V12 engine Mercedes provides for the exotic Pagani Huayra hypercar.
Mercedes used to offer a variant of this engine in the older S600 Mercedes models, and those models can now be bought for just $30k. For a spot of context, a ‘’regular’’ Huayra will set you back for $1million at the very minimum.