Mercedes-Benz says we can expect to see a whole range of new engines in the next-generation S-Class sedan set to arrive next year, but none piques our interest as much as a powerplant code-named M 256, for its extensive use of electrification in unexpected places.
We like the sound of this engine for a number of reasons: for one, it’s an inline six, a configuration Benz has moved away from in recent years, in favour of V6s. Notably, this engine will rely heavily on electricity, being built around a 48-volt electrical system that will allow the use of an electric water pump and air conditioning compressor, a move Benz says eliminates the need for any accessory drive belts and makes the engine more compact.
Then, there’s the electric turbocharger that, working in concert with an integrated motor/generator that turns the engine into a mild hybrid, will generate instantaneous power while basically eliminating turbo lag.
Mercedes is promising more than 408 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque from the inline six.
The M 256 is part of a larger family of modular engines, including gasoline four-cylinder and V8 variants, and a diesel that Benz says will be the brand’s most powerful ever to be used in a passenger vehicle. Despite the differences inherent in each design, the modularity comes through the use of common cylinder bore spacing so that each individual cylinder in all of the engines will displace 500 cc. That, in turn, makes it easy to suss out each engine’s displacement: the six will be a 3.0L, the four-cylinder a 2.0L and the V8 a 4.0L.
Look for these trick new engines to arrive in the S-Class next year, starting with the M 256 six-cylinder.
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