2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon

2012 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon

Just as BMW makes headlines for possibly going with a V-6 engine in its next-generation M3, arch rival Mercedes-Benz is now in the spotlight over news that it is planning to launch a new straight-six engine.

On top of this, there’s also word that Mercedes plans to continue its engine downsizing strategy with the launch of a new twin-turbocharged V-8 displacing just 4.0-liters in the year 2015.

However, you’ll recall that the automaker has only just taken the wraps off a pair of new engines, a 3.5-liter V-6 and a twin-turbocharged 4.7-liter V-8, so news that it will bring out even more engines, including a radical straight-six, does raise some doubts.

British magazine CAR, citing an anonymous Mercedes-Benz engineer, is reporting that the automaker will in fact launch a new straight-six engine in 2015, as well as a new low-cost four-cylinder range and twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8.

Importantly, the straight-six design will reportedly be used for both Mercedes’ gasoline and diesel six-cylinder engines in the future, but only for larger models. The V-8, meanwhile, is said to replace the current 4.7-liter unit.

The move would come as quite a surprise given the better packaging of V-6 designs, which allow engineers to sit the engines further back in the car, aiding both center of gravity and pedestrian crash protection.

However, there is some logic in the madness. Aston Martin was recently reported to be investigating the use of a straight-six engine in some of its future models and the links between the British brand and Mercedes-Benz could mean some joint engine development.

Stay tuned for an update.