How Mercedes Built the World’s Most Powerful Four-Cylinder Engine

In addition to creating vehicles that are capable of climbing steep grades and that make use of plug-in technology, Mercedes-Benz has focused its attention on creating more powerful and efficient engines. Proof of its efforts to hone engine technology is the development of the M-139 engine, which has the distinction of currently being the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine.

The M-139 engine was created to take the place of the M-133 engine. The M-139 is another 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, but it can produce nearly twice the amount of horsepower similar engines create. It’s an engine designed with 416 hp. 

What makes this engine so powerful?

When it came to the M-139 engine, Mercedes did several little things that work together to make the engine the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world. To the average person, the most obvious change is the engine’s placement. It’s placed laterally, which Mercedes did to improve the overall vehicle’s overall aerodynamics. The second advantage is that the intake/outtake is shorter, which generates a better overall response time from the engine, which helps improve its power.

The turbocharger makes use of roller bearings instead of journal bearings, which means less friction.  The decrease in friction doesn’t lead to higher RPMs but it does mean that when you step on the gas pedal, you get a boost of power sooner rather than later. Another interesting aspect of the Mercedes M-139 engine’s turbocharger is the twin-scroll design which enables the engine to easily separate each exhaust pulse, this lowers the torque while improving response time.

The M-139 is a closed deck engine. The reason Mercedes opted for a closed deck was because the deck needed to be considerably sturdier in order to handle the additional high cylinder pressure the engine generated. Open deck versions broke down too easily. The closed-deck design also improves the cooling process.

Larger and variable exhaust valves provide the engine with the means to easily and efficiently deal with used fuel, which improves the vehicle’s power and gas consumption.

The final factor that helps make the M-139 the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world is Mercedes’s trademark Nanoslide cylinder liner. The liner not only weighs less than other types of liners but is designed in such a way that it reduces friction by fifty percent. All these things combine to make the M-139 a formidable engine.

Four-Cylinder Performance Cars

There was a time when vehicles with a four-cylinder engine was basically treated like a joke. The smaller engine meant the car didn’t have good acceleration, tended to be difficult to handle, and just lacked the overall power to keep up with vehicles that had a larger engine. That’s changed. Improved technology makes vehicles with four-cylinder engines more appealing. 

Fuel efficiency is a key reason to look at four-cylinder vehicles, even among performance cars. While larger engines have become considerably more efficient in recent years, they still don’t match four-cylinder fuel sippers. The smaller engines are a great choice when you are looking for a smaller vehicle that you can use to get groceries, commute to work, or simply drive all over town.

Fewer cylinders means fewer things that can break, which means your automotive repair bills will be smaller. You’ll also enjoy a much quieter ride. Today’s four-cylinder engines have a great deal of torque, which means you’ll be able to accelerate more quickly than you could in older vehicles. In fact, today’s four-cylinder vehicles can accelerate faster than those with a larger engine.

The great thing about the M-139 is that you’ll get more power from the engine, which means you can take your more economical car on more driving adventures, even if those adventures take you over mountains and across rugged terrain.