The M256 inline-six was announced in fall of 2016, but we're only just seeing the engine put into production. It will first make its debut in Europe under the hood of the new CLS450. In that application, the engine will make 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. In the Mercedes-AMG CLS53 and E53, the new 3.0-liter will make 429 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.
The main reason for the change is that an inline-six can be built on the same assembly line as an inline-four, currently the most popular engine configuration in the world. It's more than simply adding on a couple of cylinders to the end of a block, but designing and building a V6 apparently is a more costly solution. Sure, a V6 can share parts with a V8, but unfortunately the automakers are building fewer and fewer V8 engines.
One question remains. What future Mercedes-Benz products will benefit from a new inline-six? Expect the engine to make its way into some of the German automaker's larger cars and SUVs, but smaller vehicles like the C-Class or GLC-Class may move to high-output four-bangers in an effort to downsize and increase fuel economy. Either way, customers will soon be able to enjoy the silky smooth burble of an inline engine.