Earlier this month Mercedes Benz unveiled two new entry-level E-Class models for the European market. The cars featured highly-efficient four-cylinder engines in both gasoline and diesel guises and are just a taste of what is to come from the German luxury marque.

Mercedes’ new engine design has been labeled ‘M 271 Evo’ and at the heart of the technology is the adoption of direct injection and turbocharging.

Of most interest to the North American market is the 1.8-liter gasoline version, which may appear in local versions of the C-Class next year. The engine is already destined to appear in the C, E and SLK models overseas.

Along with providing lower fuel consumption and fewer emissions, the new engine helps Mercedes' balance sheet since available production facilities can be more fully utilized. Speaking with Automotive News, Mercedes’ internal combustion engine development chief, Peter Lueckert, explained that the M 271 Evo is “reaching clear fuel savings simultaneously with a boost in the performance”.

The engine comes with two power outputs: 154hp in the 180 CGI and 181hp in the 200 CGI. At the same time, maximum torque goes from 170lb-ft to 184lb-ft for the 180 CGI, and from 184lb-ft to 199lb-ft for the 200 CGI. In the process, fuel consumption falls up to 12% when compared to Mercedes’ previous four-cylinder gasoline engine.

Also planned is a 250 CGI version with 201hp and 229lb-ft on tap. This engine will replace the current six-cylinder naturally aspirated engine in some markets, which it achieves up to 20% less in fuel consumption. The engine will appear in the new 2010 E-Class Coupe where it will deliver a fuel economy of 32.7mpg.

Mercedes has even more plans to cut consumption, however, as the automaker will also be launching engine stop-start systems later in the year to further improve fuel efficiency by 5%. For more details on Mercedes’ new four-cylinder CDI turbodiesel engine, check out our previous story by clicking here.