By on October 31, 2016

mercedes-gas-i6

Mercedes-Benz is introducing a host of new engines with clever shared modular components, including a standard 500cc cylinder displacement.

These new engines include a new AMG-developed twin-turbocharged V8 for the S-Class and one of the most encouraging mechanical additions to the automotive landscape seen in a while — a high-tech inline-six specifically designed to compete with, and outclass, larger motors.

While Mercedes wants to keep you interested with claims of vastly improved economy across platforms, enhanced efficiency is definitely not the most impressive bit of engineering on offer. For example, the aforementioned inline six-cylinder features 48-volt systematic electrification, so there’s no belt drive for ancillary components at the front of the engine. This reduces the overall length of what would normally be a fairly long motor and frees it up for packaging in areas that may have not worked otherwise.

Those 48 volts also work with the engine’s electric turbocharger. Mercedes claims that it only takes the e-turbo 0.3 second to reach 70,000 rpm, followed by the larger twin-scroll exhaust-driven turbo. The intended result is seamless linear power delivery without any turbo lag. The new inline-six is rated by the company to “at least” 408 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque and Mercedes says it’ll come in silky smooth with 15 percent better CO2 emissions than the current V6 being offered.

mercedes-gas-v8

The other spec sheet darling is the slightly lower tech M176 twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. Although, on paper, this engine looks very similar to the 4.0 biturbo that Mercedes-Benz is already producing, right down to the matching 17 pounds per square inch of boost pressure.

Mercedes says this V8 will output over 476 hp and 516 lb-ft in the upcoming 2017 S-Class with a 10 percent improvement in economy — partly due to cylinder deactivation. However, cylinder shutoff is only active in an engine-speed range of 900 to 3,250 rpm and only when the vehicle operator has selected one of two conservative driving modes. Otherwise, it’s a full-time V8.

In addition to two diesel engines that are somewhat less likely to show up in North America, Benz is also offering a practical 2.0-liter turbo four for next year’s more economic models. The package includes twin-scroll turbochargers that merge the exhaust gas ducts of cylinder pairs into a “flow-optimized” manifold. Mercedes says this setup aids in the production of low-rpm torque. The engine also has a belt-driven 48-volt starter-alternator that is responsible for for fuel-saving hybrid functions such as energy recovery, imperceptible on/off at stops, and boosting the engine-speed range up to 2,500 rpm.

[Images: Mercedes-Benz]

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54 Comments on “Mercedes’ Inline-Six Makes the Rest of Its Impressive New Motors Look Like Mechanical Plebs...”


  • avatar
    don1967

    “clever shared modular components, including a standard 500cc cylinder displacement.”

    I’ve often wondered why carmarkers don’t build more modular engines of these dimensions. It’s hard to beat the power-to-smoothness ratio of a 2.0 four or 3.0 six.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The European ones *mostly* do.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Most of them care more about power/efficiency, where for naturally aspirated engines they seem to achieve the best results with ~600-~650 cc cylinders.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Much smaller than that. Back in the era of open F1 engine rules, the highest efficiency (most power output) was from roughly 375 cm2 cylinders, giving us primarily V8s in the three-litre era, four-cylinder turbos with 1.5L, and then finally 10 cylinders with the 3.5L engine size.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          The amount of cylinders in modern F1 is completely rule driven and every single engine manufacturer runs the max cylinders (excluding weird rules to grandfather old engines).

          Before Cosworth figured out how to make 4-strokes breathe, the cylinders were even smaller. IIRC, 1.5 liter V12s were de jure in the 50s/60s. And Honda set out to win motorcycle races on 4 strokes when everyone else used 2 strokes.

          How did they do it? Cylinders. This is a 125 cc inline-5:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xuvx15DLDmc
          (warning – very, very loud)

          Racers said they’d get ’em up to 22k – 24k in race trim. I think this one ‘idles’ at about 8k. That one seems to fluctuate between 8k and 13k to ‘warm up’.

          The formula for power in a 4 stroke hasn’t changed since the dawn of the engine:
          Horsepower = Torque * RPM / 5252

          You can only make so much torque out of an N/A engine of a given displacement. May as well make it spin to the moon and attach it to a close ratio gear box.

          The 125 cc bike in the video had a 12 speed transmission because its powerband was basically 19k-22k. If you let it drop out of there for a second, you’d start losing time to the 2-strokes.

    • 0 avatar
      ckb

      Why not standard size was my first thought as well. The thing is, a lot of variables go into displacement size (piston diameter, stroke, head shape). Heads on different cylinder number engines are obviously all different but do manufacturers have common piston and rod sizes?

  • avatar
    dal20402

    This is great. But how much will an E-class with this new engine cost? Will there even be one at all, or will you have to buy a giant jacked-up wagon to get it?

  • avatar
    Tosh

    Considering that AMG-Mercedes is about to lose the F1 Driver’s Championship to its own back-up driver due to season-long random engine-related failures in its main driver’s car, anyone thinking of buying a Mercedes should insist on being supplied with a backup car and engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      WTF? There is no correlation with your statement.

      • 0 avatar
        Tosh

        Oh, you’re right, no correlation. In Dieter Zetsche’s OWN words: “Certainly it’s difficult to scientifically develop a correlation between our efforts and success in motor sport and our success on the business side.”

        • 0 avatar
          Tosh

          But wait! Then he says: “But I’m totally convinced that it is not by accident that in the last three years our brand has developed a fantastic momentum and coolness factor and this resulted ultimately in lots of sales.

          “At the same time we took off in motor sport and I think that is not by accident, there is a strong correlation in both directions.”

          So, correlation, yes?

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Nor is Rosberg a backup driver, even if Hamilton is a multiple-times champion.

      • 0 avatar
        Tosh

        Would ‘understudy’ be more accurate?

        • 0 avatar
          PeriSoft

          Referring to any driver who can regularly push Lewis Hamilton to the point of bad behavior as a ‘backup’ or ‘understudy’ seems slightly absurd. Rosberg might not be faster than Alonso, but he’s certainly in the top 4 on the grid.

          I’d give Hamilton a very, very slight edge in outright speed and maybe in consistency – enough to detect in a championship, but not enough to put the drivers in different categories.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Why isn’t this amazing inline six in my E-class?

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Yes, yes but how reliable is it gonna be?

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Why do they put all that sh*t on top to make it look like Alien’s head?

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Back in the old days, they’d tell us “carburetor” is a french word that means ‘leave it alone’. People ignored that, keeping mechanics busy.

      Today, they don’t want anybody messing with the engine except trained mechanics, so they cover everything with black plastic to keep shade tree mechanics from doing anything except change the oil.

  • avatar
    Ooshley

    BMW are looking pretty clever right about now.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Maybe it was designed in cooperation with Alien Ware gaming computers

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Excellent…because their V6 engines are horrible. Balance shaft issues and timing chain problems are top complaints.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      kmars2009,
      Don’t forget the commonality in the MB V6 and the Pentastar. They were designed together by the same team.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Please elaborate on any timing chain or balance shaft issues that Pentastars are having.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          I think he’s referring to the Mercedes 90° V6s.

          • 0 avatar
            kmars2009

            Most Mercedes-Benz built between 2000-2008 were of very poor quality. Even the S-Class had cost cutting all over. Cheap interior, cheap trim pieces, as well as various engine components. Fortunately, once Chrysler was dumped, things began to change…back to the good.
            I own a ’91 420 SEL and a 2011 S 550. When I look at the S 500 (W220), it sickens me that Mercedes-Benz put out such crap.
            It’s great they are rediscovering themselves again.

          • 0 avatar
            Eyeflyistheeye

            It was Juergen Schrempp’s fault. He didn’t give a damn about quality. Fortunately, Dr. Z is a much better CEO and human being than Schrempp ever could hope to be.

            I’ve learned that no matter how much I like a company, if I don’t trust the person who’s running it at the time, I won’t buy their products.

            Example:

            Roger Smith at GM (no introduction needed)

            Jacques Nasser at Ford (glitzy pieces of crap)

            Takeo Fukui at Honda (at least they were reliable, if extremely dull and conservative compared to Honda’s competitors)

            Bob Eaton at Chrysler (Killed Chrysler’s ’90s renaissance through endless penny-pinching)

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      M276 engine?

      Where’s this balance shaft you speak of? It’s a 60 degree V-6…..

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The balance shaft issues were resolved around halfway through 08 on the 272 and idler gear on the 278. The 112 and 113 never experienced the issue. All these engines are pretty bullet proof. They handle abuse way better than most competitors’ products.

  • avatar
    MeaMaximaCulpa

    Straight six?!?!?!? Mercedes is back on track(ish, the quality is still crap and the styling is over the top but a straight six is a step in the right direction)

  • avatar
    jthorner

    I love straight-6 engines. But then again I also like real station wagons and manual transmissions. In other words, don’t use me as a marketability bellwether :)>.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Sounds like you can throw some adventuresome stuff out there when it only has to properly perform for three years.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Very happy to see straight sixes return. I hope this engine sounds better than the F1 engines it shares its tech with. It’ll be nice if the engine ends up in C and E classes.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      I bet all the F1 engines would sound way better if they were uncorked. The fuel limits imposed never allow these engines to operate flat out. I would prefer if the FIA went to 1 liter engines that could run at full capacity, then these 1.6s that are detuned.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    While I was getting my leased BMW washed, I stepped into the Benz dealer next door to take a look at the new E. Liked what I saw, but the tool of a salesman swore to me that Benz was going “all 4-cylinder” when I mentioned the new inline 6. He also sighed when I asked him to raise the hood for me to take a look. Judged by my plain manner of dress I guess.

  • avatar
    skor

    I’m glad the I6 is not dead. The I6 was always a good balance of power, smoothness, efficiency and reliability. What caused the near death of the I6 is length, which meant the I6 generally can’t be mounted sideways.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      It’s alive and well in the trucking industry. In high zoot luxury cars, the V8 is still favored. Too bad that the domestic truck makers got rid of their I6 engines in pickup trucks, I suppose the engine bay isn’t long enough anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        The full-sized trucks could still fit I6 engines. They went to V6 engines because they can share the designs with transverse cars (Ford & FCA) or make the V6 by lopping 2 cylinders off of a V8 (GM). An I6 requires a unique design and would be limited to longitudinal applications.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Yep, The I6 pretty much has to be RWD (or you mount it transverse in a wide car with a horrible turning radius).

    IMO the bigger news here is the 48v electrical bus, if it actually makes it to production and sticks.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      The Chrysler LH platform used longitudinal engines in FWD applications. They were intended to eventually have AWD options. The Mercedes 5-speed auto that Chrysler still uses is a longitudinal design that can accommodate FWD, RWD, and AWD. We need longer hoods anyway, along with upright grilles, and hood ornaments that can impale those pesky pedestrians.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Yes! More straight-six! Don’t care about the rest of the press release!

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I loved loved the I6 in my BMW 325i – a nice torque curve and did it ever like to rev; so much that I could easily hit the limiter since it never felt like it was running out of power on top or was getting thrashy.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Sanctimonious hearsay deriding these cars I can’t afford!

  • avatar
    Noble713

    Hopefully Japan will follow Germany’s lead, and this will convince Toyota and Nissan to make inline sixes again. I want a successor to the JZ, dammit!

    • 0 avatar
      Caboose

      3.6L I-6 Lexus RC, please, minus 300-400 pounds.
      -OR-
      2.0 I-6 Miata at its current weight.
      -OR-
      4.2L I-6 Lexus LS.
      -OR-

      Yay! I love mixing Japanese cars, I-6 lust, and lots of poppies!

  • avatar
    carl0s

    It’s just a shame Mercedes lag behind with their own gearboxes while everybody else uses ZF or Aisin.

    48v will soon be the norm. Another manufacturer was saying it was becoming a necessity.


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