AMG developing new Mercedes inline-six

Posted on Jul 23, 2017 by

’s new M256 inline six-cylinder engine will soon come in hot AMG flavour making close to 450 horsepower

amg inline six

Now that Stuttgart has launched its M256 inline six-cylinder 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine in the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S 450 and S 500 models, it’s time to hand over the new powerplant to the mad geniuses in Affalterbach for use in AMG performance cars.

At the launch of the mid-life facelifted 2018 S-Class range in Zurich this week, Auto Middle East learnt from AMG engine development boss Bertram Tschamon that an Affalterbach-built inline-six cylinder will power future base AMG models.

“It’s in development for the entry-level performance models,” Tschamon said, “But we can’t talk about a launch time frame at the moment.”

While Mercedes-Benz confirmed further work with the M256 design to lob off a pair of cylinders and make a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder for its use, the Mercedes-AMG side of the business will stick to the M133 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo used in the current A 45 AMG hot hatch. A reminder: the M133 is in turn, basically, half of the 4.0-litre V8 now familiar across Mercedes’ range.

“So in the future, AMG will have a line-up of four-cylinder, inline-six, V8 and V12 engines,” said Tschamon.

In the 1990s Mercedes dropped its traditional inline-sixes in favour of V6s which were at the time related to the company’s incoming V8s. Now two decades later the inline-six is made possible again, much to the excitement of enthusiasts everywhere, despite the inherent length of the design making it twice as long as a V6. Mercedes has solved the length issue by placing the engine’s timing gear at the back, and getting rid of the fan and belt drive for components such as the air conditioning compressor with a move to a 48-volt electrical system to run auxiliaries that would normally be powered by the engine.

It is more efficient to produce the four-cylinder engine and the new inline-six cylinder in one family

Mercedes-Benz powertrain development Armin Herold explained: “In the past the production system for the V6s and the V8s was the same. So this was the same family.

“But now, twenty years later or 10 years later, we have V8 power from our 2.0-litre four-cylinder. So at the moment it is more efficient to produce the four-cylinder engine and the new inline-six cylinder in one family. That’s why we went back from the V6 to the inline.”

Herold and his team moved the exhaust very close to the M256 inline six, for a quick warm-up process in cold start situations, which wasn’t possible with a V6 layout.

“From this engine, we cut off two cylinder and we have a four-cylinder,” he said, “Which will come in the Mercedes-Benz line-up in the future.”

In the S 500, the M256 inline-six makes 408 horsepower and 500Nm of torque thanks to an electrically-assisted turbocharging, which is expected to rise to 450bhp or thereabouts in AMG trim.

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