This conventional-looking Mercedes-Benz C250d is a far cry from most Pikes Peak racers, but this diesel-powered luxury sedan nonetheless set a record at this year’s hill-climb. Running up the 12.4-mile route in 11 minutes and 22 seconds, the C250d broke the record for diesel-powered production cars.
It’s no accident that this run up the hill closely follows the announcement that Mercedes-Benz will bring a diesel-powered C-Class to the U.S. in C300d 4Matic form. Mercedes-Benz is keen to prove that its diesel powertrains are tough enough for the U.S., and a run up Pikes Peak, with its thin mountain air and extreme road conditions, is meant to prove that the diesel is ready to take on the States. The car that will go on sale here next year is mostly identical to the Pikes Peak car, with the same 2.1-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that mates with a seven-speed automatic transmission and 4Matic all-wheel drive.
Mercedes Benz C250d Pikes Peak Nittel
Of course, the C-Class did have a few modifications to prepare for the hill climb, including a stripped-out interior, a roll cage, a fire extinguisher, and enhanced brakes and tires. No changes were made to the engine, which Mercedes-Benz expects will achieve around 34 mpg combined, though EPA ratings are not yet released for the C300d.
The previous diesel car record was set in 2007 by John Hamilton, who piloted a 2000 Volkswagen Golf TDI up the hill in 14 minutes and 3 seconds. Rally driver Uwe Nittel was behind the wheel of the C250d for this year’s record-setting run.