Mercedes Is Ditching V6 In Favor Of Straight-Six Engines

At the Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes-AMG took the covers off of the new CLS53 and E53. The models are powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline-six engine. The straight-six motor, according to a report by Road & Track, will find its way into future models.

The V6 engines are being phased of the automaker’s stable in favor of Mercedes-Benz’s straight-six engines, mainly the M256 motor. The change, according to Ola Källenius, Mercedes-Benz’s Research and Development chief, has to do with the emergence of four-cylinder engines.

“Because four-cylinder is the dominating engine formula for the world, it makes more sense now to tack the six onto that,” Källenius told the outlet. “That’s opposed to the previous strategy where you have the V8 and the V6 of the same tree.”

When Källenius puts it like that, it makes sense. With Mercedes moving towards putting four-cylinder engines into its base vehicles, having inline-six motors that share a similar architecture with two more cylinders in higher-up models is a natural progression.

“In terms of our overall engine production strategy, the new four-cylinder and six-cylinder are branches of the same tree,” said Källenius. “The combustion chamber of those are essentially the same, the cylinder distance of 90 mm is the same, and you can run these engines over the same production line.”

As one would expect, the move to inline-six engines won’t happen overnight. And some models are definitely not in the plans to get the motor, like the C-Class, claims the outlet. One model that is slated to get the engine, though, is an E53 sedan that will replace the E43 model.

Better get used to inline-six engines from Mercedes, because they’re here to stay.

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  • cargeniuass

    I’m curious as to why more manufacturers/engineers don’t come out with more advanced versions of bigger engines that have cylinder deactivation? Is the tech just not as effective as thought? I’d assume the best engine would be a v8 that can perform as input dictates like the corvette engine.

    • Christian Wimmer

      Mercedes offered this technology on the W220 S-Class and the C215 CL-Coupe back in 1998/1999-2006 but only on the 5.0 V8 and the 6.0 V12. To my knowledge they worked great but the fuel savings were minimal at best and eventually the technology was deemed ineffective.

    • Bill Nguyen

      Lots of cars have had cylinder deactivation I think, but it seems to do jack… Gotta still deal with the overall weight of the car and displacement of the cylinders I guess.

      • lagunas3ca

        Unfortunately, the 911 is one of them. There is nothing weaker than pulling up to someone at a stop light and having the Active Fuel Management engage while they’re admiring your car and the sound of its engine with their jaw dropped. Not to mention it sounds/feels like your car is about to break when you step on the gas because the lagging response time and jitters. Automatic disable for me, in any vehicle. Anybody that drives a sports car and cares that much about fuel consumption is an idiot. Belongs with the Prius.

        • Cobra C

          If sound is your only criteria, electrification will greatly disappoint

  • bxniels0

    What’s the reason to not have it in the C-Class? Is it to with packaging size?

    • Christian Wimmer

      Yes, probably packaging reasons.

      But you can always get a W201 190E 2.6 or a W202 C240/C280/C36 AMG if you want a C-Class with an inline-6! Early W203s were awful so I don’t consider them to be real Benzes! 😀

    • Kagan

      Probably, but the next generation will get it.

  • Kagan

    Ain’t straight six worse for the balance?

    • Nehalem

      straight six is the most balanced engine along with R8 and V12. packaging (it’s too long) – is the only problem for most of the cars

      • Kagan

        That was the question balance of the car not the engine I know a R6 is naturally balanced but it gets longer so it should put more weight in the front?

        • Nehalem

          compared to what? V6 weights more I suppose. M276 weights 171kg and about this new M256 I see only phrases ‘lighter’. Straight 4 fits only a lawn mower and not normal mercedes. I have E500 V8 and sometimes I think it will fall under the ground when I move out of the curb ))

          • Kagan

            Obviously a v6.

            It could weigh a bit less but it is longer you put more weigh further in front = front heavy = worse balance!

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