Once upon a time, Mercedes prided itself on its line of reliable and powerful inline six-cylinder engines, which became a hallmark of the brand. Inline-sixes have largely disappeared from modern automotive lineups, but Mercedes wants to bring these motors back as modular units that can be easily downsized into four-cylinder, or even three-cylinder variants.
The new line of engines will begin with an inline-six cylinder for Mercedes higher-end vehicles, like the next-gen E-class line of executive sedans before moving down the ranks into the likes of the Mercedes C-class. These engines will start out as six-bangers, but Mercedes is designing the engine so it can be downsized without much trouble. With four-cylinder and even three-cylinder engines becoming increasingly popular in their own lineup with cars like the CLA, Mercedes is definitely looking forward with this tech.
But that isn’t the only advancement Mercedes has in the pipeline. A new “Autobahn Pilot” self-driving system should make its first appearance in 2016, and will feature a first-of-its-kind overtaking ability. A nine-speed transmission and Mercedes C-class hybrid are also in the works, following the S-Class hybrid, and will debut by the middle of the decade, to say nothing of the hopes to work even closer with Tesla Motors on pure electric cars.
Interesting things coming out of Mercedes these days, and I for one welcome the return of our inline-six overlords.