The Mercedes-Benz S-Class will receive a new AMG-developed, twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine next year as part of the most ambitious roll out of high-tech power units in the German manufacturer’s history.
The four new engines are equipped with clever technology aimed at enhancing performance, improving fuel economy and slashing emissions. Modular components across the engines, including a standard 500cc cylinder displacement, help to improve economies of scale.
The new V8, codenamed M176, will be introduced in the luxury saloon in the middle of 2017. Exact performance figures aren’t available but Mercedes claims the new V8 produces more than 470bhp and maximum torque of approximately 516lb ft at 2000rpm. The powerplant will replace the existing M278 V8, which produces 449bhp and 516lb ft in the S500.
The new engine, produced at the Untertürkheim plant in Stuttgart, will consume at least 10% less fuel than its predecessor. The gain comes from its smaller displacement, down from 4663cc to 3982cc, and a cylinder deactivation system that effectively turns it the V8 into a four-cylinder engine under partial throttle loads.
Lessons learned from the V8 engines fitted to the Mercedes-AMG GT (M178) and C63 (M177) have been incorporated into the build of the M176, such as the turbochargers mounted in between the cylinder banks, a so-called ‘hot inner V’ formation. This alone has resulted in a power gain of 5% over the M278 engine.
Cylinder shutoff can activate when the engine is turning between 900-3250rpm providing Comfort or Economy driving mode is engaged - the engine remains a V8 if Sport mode is active. Cylinders 2, 3, 5 and 8 are deactivated, and can be reinstated in milliseconds should the driver press the accelerator. An indicator on the main instrument cluster shows whether the engine is in four- or eight-cylinder mode.