Mercedes-Benz reveals variable-displacement V8 engine

With many auto makers dropping cylinders off their larger engines Mercedes-Benz was rumoured to be developing a hardcore turbocharged V6. But those rumours have now proved false with news that Mercedes is set to continue with a naturally aspirated V8 engine in the next generation of the SLK AMG.

Details have been released before the new sportscar debuts at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show. The latest AMG powerplant, labeled M152, is based closely on the M157 engine that already sees use in the new CL63 AMG and its four-door brother – the S63 AMG. But the M152 is different in a few key areas, first of all, is the removal of the twin turbochargers. It also uses a new air intake, cylinder heads, valve drive, oil system, crankcase and, most importantly, a Formula One-derived cylinder deactivation system. This new system allows it to cut back to just four cylinders when required and with only four pistons firing, fuel economy is markedly improved.

Compared to the previous V8 engine, output has increased by 46kW to 314KW in total, while max torque is up from 510 to 540Nm. Mercedes claims that the new SLK 55 AMG will return a combined fuel consumption of 8.5 l/100 km, a huge 3.5litre or 30% drop on the preceding model with its lower power V8 engine.

The new engine will be used exclusively in the SLK55 AMG when it debuts and will represent the only V8 option in the segment.

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