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That time Mercedes roughly built an 18-cylinder engine

Doing some-more with reduction has turn an art form. Turbochargers and approach fuel-injection systems have helped fist some-more energy from smaller engines, though it wasn’t always that way. In a late 1980s and a early 1990s, good before a tenure “downsizing” entered attention jargon, automakers sought ways of doing some-more with more. Mercedes particularly deliberate one-upping opposition BMW’s initial V16 by building an 18-cylinder engine for a line of flagship cars that would have jettisoned it into Rolls-Royce and Bugatti territory.

“Mercedes is a association built around a supremacy of technology, so a engineers have an scarcely high grade of leisure to during slightest consider of surprising solutions,” a orator for a company’s repository dialect says. To that end, with work on a 6.0-litre V12 already good underway, a tiny group within Mercedes’ investigate and growth dialect began operative on a initial 18-cylinder engine.

w140 That time Mercedes roughly built an 18 cylinder enginew140 That time Mercedes roughly built an 18 cylinder engine

Mercedes-Benz S 500 prolonged wheelbase. The W140 array was built from 1991 until 1998.

It’s pretty easy to see a interest of an 18-cylinder engine for a association driven by engineering like Mercedes. It was a plans no one had mastered before, during slightest not for a series-produced oppulance car, and removing it right presented several critical technical challenges. The many simple one was simply wise 18 cylinders underneath a hood of a automobile like a S-Class though creation it demeanour cartoon-esque. The indent also indispensable to approve with ever-tightening emissions regulations in pivotal markets like Europe and North America, lapse excusable fuel economy, and stay cold even when coming a redline on a Autobahn. Mercedes knew a association that successfully overcame these hurdles would have a industry’s many prestigious engine in a powertrain armada, so it threw income during a project.

Making a V18 with dual banks of 9 cylinders would have caused a wrapping nightmare. Instead, engineers in Stuttgart adopted a some-more compress W pattern with 3 banks of 6 cylinders. They didn’t pattern a engine wholly from scratch; a sixes were subsequent from a 2.6-litre section Mercedes offering in a w124 and w201 sedans. The setup gave a 18-cylinder about 8 litres of displacement, definition it could have powered a range-topping indication called, if we keep in line with a company’s then-current fixing system, 800 SEL.

Documents buried in Mercedes’ repository prove a plan presented to Mercedes’ house members summarized dual clearly opposite variants of a engine. The initial would have been a comparatively simple section with dual valves per cylinder and an outlay of 490 horsepower. It’s a one that would have powered a suppositious 800 SEL. The second would have perceived an array of modifications (including a cylinder conduct with 5 valves per cylinder) to grasp a 680-horsepower output. Mercedes envisioned it as a heart of a range-topping super sports automobile in a category of one. It could have been a Veyron of a 1990s.

Yes, GMC done a V12 engine. And it was hugeYes, GMC done a V12 engine. And it was huge

Board members closely examined a offer though eventually incited down a project. They argued, not unreasonably, that a 6.0-litre V12 in growth during a time over all of a firm’s mandate for both flagship sedans and sports cars. The 408-horsepower 12 after found a approach underneath a hood of a w140-generation S-Class and a r129-generation SL, among other models.

When it came to racing, Mercedes was already conceptualizing a naturally-aspirated, 3.5-liter flat-12 for a Group C-spec C291, so it had no need for another engine, generally one that would have expected been formidable to homologate. Ultimately, a W18 was too over-the-top for a possess good.

Mercedes never got to exam a stillborn engine. It never done it over a plans stage, so no one listened what 18 cylinders organised in a W sounds like when they roar. But while a organisation mothballed a plan and never spoke of it again, it delicately recorded a technical cutaways shown to a board. Done by hand, they exhibit an eye-wateringly difficult masterpiece of engineering enthusiasts would still be articulate about currently if it had seen a light that awaits during a finish of a prolongation line.

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