Returning to Roots: Mercedes-Benz to Drop V-6 Engines for Inline-6

By Joel Arellano | October 26, 2011
Car Magazine, in the midst of interviewing a Mercedes-Benz engineer, inadvertently uncovered some startling news. According to the British magazine, the German automaker is planning to return to its roots by dropping the V-6 cylinder engines currently powering its vehicles and replace them with inline, or "straight", six cylinder engines instead. When someone—usually a car enthusiast—mentions a vehicle's engine as "inline-four" or "V6", he or she is describing how the engine cylinders are arranged. "Inline" means that the cylinders are in a straight line, while "V" means, you guessed it, they're in two rows that are joined at the bottom, forming a V. Mercedes-Benz has used inline-six engines throughout its illustrious history for both cars and airplanes with the M130 straight-six engine introduced in 1951 in the Mercedes 200 and 300 models. The automaker later replaced the engine with its first V-6 engine, the M112, the descendants of which continue to power various Mercedes-Benz vehicles today.
Inline-6 engines have several advantages over V-6 engines, including quicker delivery of power which can rival that of a V-8 engine. Unfortunately, inline-6 engines are longer than their V-6 counterparts, making it harder to package them into ever-shrinking designs. In addition, V-8 engines are smoother in power delivery. It will be interesting to see how both will affect future Mercedes design since the new engines have been approved for release in 2015. Interestingly, German rival rumors are swirling that BMW will switch from its line of inline-6 engines to V-6s. The Bavarian automaker's image is strongly bound to the straight-six, and one has to wonder if the company will reconsider if Mercedes-Benz makes its move. Source: CAR Magazine