Top 5 Great Mercedes Engines
Over the years Mercedes has produced some truly staggering engines. Some stand out more than others however. Today, we take a look at 5 of their most accomplished units, as well as the cars they were used in.
This 4-stroke, spark-ignition V8 was used in a lot of Mercedes’ high-performance cars back in the early to mid 2000s, coming in several different variations. Standard M113 units were produced in Unterturkheim, whereas the AMG iterations started life off in Affalterbach, AMG’s headquarters. The earliest 4.3-liter cars made just 280 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, and you can find them in the C43 AMG, the E430 as well as the CLK430 and the S430. The M113 E50 is, as its name might suggest, a 5.0-liter unit with 306 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque. It was used in everything from the E500 and the G500 to the S500 and the ML500. The M113 5.4L increased output to 342 hp and 367 hp thanks to the extra 400ccs, and you can find it in the E55 AMG, the S55 AMG, SLK55 AMG, etc. The M113 5.4L supercharged increased power yet again, but it varied depending on the model. It made 469 hp in the E55 AMG and 574 hp in the racing CLK DTM AMG. Lastly, there’s the M155 SLR engine used exclusively in the SLR McLaren. Output stands at 616 hp and 575 lb-ft of torque.
Ah, the M156, widely regarded as the best engine ever made. What made the M156 so special was the fact that it was AMG’s first self-designed unit. Built to be a naturally-aspirated racing engine right from the start, it was seriously understressed in most road car applications. Although it’s a 6.2-liter V8, it was sold and badged as a 6.3 to pay homage to the iconic M100 engine. Power ratings were all over the place depending on the application. The flagship S63, E63 and CLS63 all made 518 hp, with the C63 AMG making ‘just’ 451 hp. Because the engine is so understressed however, a lot of people opt to supercharge or even turbocharge it, gaining 100-200 hp in the process.
The M178 was Mercedes’ answer to downsizing and turbocharging. Introduced in 2010, it was so innovative and modern that Mercedes is using it to this very day. The ‘hot V’ layout places the turbochargers right in the middle of the two cylinder bankings, improving throttle response, eliminating turbo lag and creating a more compact package. You can find it in the facelifted C63, the E63, CLS63, etc. In its most potent form it makes 585 hp (Mercedes-AMG GT R). The normal GT makes ‘just’ 462 hp, and the S model around 510 horsepower.
Although over the years Mercedes’ most potent twin-turbo V12 can be found under four different engine monikers, it’s basically the same unit with different displacements. The earliest M275 is a 6.0-liter with 604 hp, found in the S65 AMG, G65 AMG and SLC65 AMG. The updated M285 is actually smaller, boasting just 5.5-liters and producing 543 horsepower. You can only find it in the Maybach 57 and the 62. The M257 is special in that it’s based on the M275, but uses different twin-scroll turbochargers, a Bosch ECU and different intercooler configuration to make 730 hp and 740 lb-ft of torque. It’s bespoke to the Pagani Huayra alone, i.e. you can’t find it in any other Mercedes model.
The M120 traces its roots to the early 1990s. This DOHC 4 valves per cylinder SFI V12 can be found in the 600SEC/S600 and the SEL/S600, making around 400 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. Although Mercedes didn’t extract the most out of it, they gave it over to Pagani, who certainly did. The earliest 6.0-liter versions in the Zonda C12 made only 400 hp, but Pagani sorted that out with the 7.0-liter iteration in the C12-S which pushed power up to 540 horsepower. By the end of the Zonda nameplate, the 6.0-liter’s power output increased to a hardly-believable 800 horsepower in the Zonda R Evolution.