Mercedes-Benz is ultimately going to phase out its V-6 engines. The German automaker is not giving up on six-cylinders; they’re simply straightening them out. Over time the company’s new inline-six will replace V-6 engines within the lineup and the reasoning for it is a bit surprising.
Speaking with Road & Track during the recent Detroit Auto Show, Mercedes R&D chief Ola Källenius confirmed the 3.0-liter inline-six is now the six of choice at the company. The confirmation came just as Mercedes revealed the all-new AMG53 cars, which feature the inline-six paired with a light electrification system the company calls EQ Boost.
Oftentimes engineers prefer inline-sixes in favor of V-6’s due to more advantageous noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) qualities, but that’s not the reasoning here. Instead, Mercedes says it’s switching to straight because four-cylinders are so popular.
Wait, what? Källenius says having common block types between four and six cylinder engines is a manufacturing matter. The new M256 inline-six is so closely related to the company’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder that the two engines can be produced on the same assembly line.
In fact, their combustion chambers are nearly identical, while their block configurations are also very similar.
With the world transitioning to electrification, the six-cylinder has had to find a new common thread with other engine families as there are fewer V-8’s of which to base sixes.
Källenius declined to state how soon the V-6 will be gone from the Mercedes-Benz lineup, but it may happen fairly quickly. He did confirm the E43 will be phased out in favor of a new E53 using the inline-six, following that of the CLS53 and E53 Coupe/Cabriolet.
As Mercedes redesigns the C Class lineup and SUV lineup, the inline-six will likely find its way throughout the rest of the portfolio.