Automotive

Smarter new engine family to underpin Mercedes of the future

Smarter new engine family to u...
A cutaway look at the new inline-six engine from Mercedes
A cutaway look at the new inline-six engine from Mercedes
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The diesel four-cylinder engine made its debut in the E220D
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The diesel four-cylinder engine made its debut in the E220D
A cutaway look at the new inline-six engine from Mercedes
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A cutaway look at the new inline-six engine from Mercedes
A look at the new inline-six petrol engine from Mercedes
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A look at the new inline-six petrol engine from Mercedes
The OM656 inline-six diesel engine from Mercedes
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The OM656 inline-six diesel engine from Mercedes
The M264 four-cylinder from Mercedes makes use of a 48V electrical system
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The M264 four-cylinder from Mercedes makes use of a 48V electrical system
The new turbocharged V8 from Mercedes
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The new turbocharged V8 from Mercedes
Mercedes puts the new engines to the test
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Mercedes puts the new engines to the test
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In the push for more efficient engines, the world is moving to downsize and turbocharge everything at the moment - even the Ford Mustang is available with an EcoBoost motor. In spite of the downsizing push, Mercedes hasn't given up on the classic inline six and V8 yet. The German giant has unveiled details about its new family of engines, complete with support for electric turbocharging.

Although there were five engines announced, the most exciting in the range is undoubtedly the new inline-six code named M256. Inline-six engines have long been hailed as the smoothest engine configuration out there, and are still favored by the development team at BMW, but it's been eighteen years since Mercedes offered a car with one under the hood.

The new 3.0-liter M256 motor is expected to produce upwards of 300 kW (408 hp) and 500 Nm (369 lb ft) of torque, compared to the 245 kW (333 hp) and 480 Nm (354 lb ft) on offer in the current M276 — which is a V6 that's been in service since 2010. In spite of the extra power, the new engine should also be around 15 percent more efficient than the current offering, and an integrated particulate filter makes it much cleaner as well.

A look at the new inline-six petrol engine from Mercedes
A look at the new inline-six petrol engine from Mercedes

Interestingly, M256 is one of the first engines to make use of an electric turbo. Unlike a regular turbocharger, which is reliant on exhaust gas to spin up and provide a power boost, the Mercedes electric turbo can spin up to 70,000 rpm in just 300 milliseconds, offering a big shove in the back with almost no perceptible lag. It's driven by a new 48V electrical architecture, which also serves as an alternator and feeds high-draw elements like air conditioning and the starter motor.

Further up the engine lineup, Mercedes has also committed to the V8 engine with the twin-turbo M178 engine. The new 4.0-liter motor has been developed by AMG for use in regular Mercedes, and develops more than 350 kW (476 hp) of power - 15 kW (20 hp) more than the current M278 V8 can manage. Despite the extra grunt, the new engine is around 10 percent more efficient than the one it replaces.

These improvements come courtesy of extensive work cutting down on friction within the engine, along with a clever cylinder deactivation system allowing the motor to run on four cylinders under light loads. As soon as the revs drift north of 3250 rpm, or if the driver really puts his foot down, the deactivated cylinders spring back into action.

The M264 four-cylinder from Mercedes makes use of a 48V electrical system
The M264 four-cylinder from Mercedes makes use of a 48V electrical system

It's not all high-end AMG six and eight-cylinders in the refreshed engine lineup, though. The new M264 turbocharged inline-four with a specific output of 100 hp (75 kW) per liter will make its debut next year. It makes use of a twin-scroll turbocharger to offer up better low-down response without sacrificing top-end power. Although it also makes use of a 48V electrical system, there's no electric turbocharging for the smallest new motor.

Alongside the range of updated petrol engines will sit a diesel inline-six and inline-four engine, however neither has been treated to quite the same degree of innovation as the petrol engines. The four-cylinder made its debut in the E220D earlier this year, while the inline-six uses improved thermal management to minimize efficiency losses on cold starts.

The new engines will make their debut in the 2017 Mercedes S-Class.

Source: Daimler

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10 comments
10 comments
Grunchy
Sounds problematic and maintenance intensive! I read reviews of C230 and it seems most people have similar experiences: very, very expensive gremlins that can only be solved by the arrogant, dismissive staff at Mercedes Benz dealerships. Buy at your own risk. Make sure to choose the extended warranty. Ignore the massive depreciation.
Dangens
An engine is an 'engine'. DO NOT REFER TO IT AS A MOTOR. 'Motor' means an electric motor. Especially important in today's technological environment to clearly distinguish between 'engine' and 'motor'.
MQ
Dangens, that is a little narrow-minded..
Motor: hydraulic motor (rotary or piston), mechanical motor (usually rotary), steam (turbine)-motor, Electric Motor, etc...
A better way to think of it is that a Motor, converts "conducted"/"transmissed"/transferred energy to useful "motive" mechanical force, the energy (mechanical, chemical or electrical) coming from some other source of stored or generated source.
An Engine (loose definition) is "usually" a complete system taking "fuel" (usually stored chemical energy) and converting it into "motive force" (mechanical), (often) via the utilisation of established thermodynamic cycles.
A Gas turbine Engine is a complete system containing a Compressor, combustor (gas generator) and a Turbine (motor) while a "steam" thermal gas turbine is not an engine (in itself), as the "vapour/gas generator and the "motion generator"/turbine ("motor") are entirely separated and non-connected / non-exclusive freely exchangeable entities.
An electric motor is a further separation of energy systems, in that the whole system (may) includes: Air-fuel combustor (furnace), vapour generator (boiler), mechanical motive force creator (motor - turbine), Electrical Generator (Electric motor run backwards), conducting/transmission system and finally a Mechanical Converter (Electric motor) to do useful worm in a distributed sense.... We could see the whole system as an Engine (Ingeniously complex system)
All very confusing.
"Motor" does NOT refer to Electric Motors Exclusively. Just as Engine does not refer to Reciprocating Thermal Engines Exclusively. In common usage, an engine contains the whole thermodynamic cycle into one integrated package, while motor refers to a distributed/separated system.
LanceTurner
Wow, they are still not getting it. Look at the complexity of that engine, and compare it to an electric motor. I can't see why any car company is wasting millions of $ on developing more efficient IC engines when electric drive beats it in every aspect except range (which isn't needed by most drivers anyway, they just think they need it, but they don't, it's a false perception). Despite all this tech, not one of the cars using these engines will come even close to a Tesla Model S in performance and efficiency. The ICE is dead, it's just taking the big auto makers a long time to realise it. I expect some won't realise it until it's too late, and they will have to massively downsize, or will go under altogether...
oldengineer
You will confuse a lot of people by talking about an electric turbo. As I understand it, this engine has a conventional turbo (for big power at high rpm) and an electric supercharger (to give quick response and good torque at lower rpm). The word 'turbo' gets its name from the turbine driven by the exhaust - if there's no turbine it can't be a turbo. Maybe Mercedes own PR department started down this road but surely you know better?
habakak
LanceTurner....battery cost is the issue. Yes, electric cars is better than ICE cars in almost every respect. The economy reasons of efficiency and longevity (outside of all the other important reasons) ALONE compels the world to switch over to electric cars. However, cost will dictate the timetable. It is inevitable and will happen sooner than most people think. However, at this point selling electric cars is a loss-leader for most manufacturers. It is going to change very rapidly over the next 5 years though. In 10 years hardly anyone in the developed world will be interested in an ICE car anymore.
Martin Hone
Anyone noticed that the cutaway 6 cylinder engine has the centre 4 pistons all at the bottom of the stroke ? How do they balance that ?
RamonZarat
The future is 100% electric, period. So I guess Mercedes won't be part of it as obsolete ICE technology is soooo 20th century.
Riaanh
The commentators are spot one, this does look like one complicated machine! I am of the opinion that one of the reasons why the big manufacturers are so slow in developing EV's is due to the lower maintenance and repair costs. (apart from the battery pack)
What is not always appreciated about Mr Musk's vehicles is that it is not seen as a consumable by the manufacturer, but that according to his vision the vehicle will have an extended live, with the occasional upgrades. It is not a case of the owner having to scrap it and fork out $$$$$$$ for a new one.