With about a year until the next-generation E-Class is unveiled, previously unknown details about the midsize Mercedes-Benz model have started to appear. The latest rumor regarding the car involves one of its new inline-six diesel engines, which is expected to feature not one, not two, but four turbochargers. Actually, strike that, because two of the turbochargers will be powered by electricity, not exhaust gases, therefore the term "electric turbochargers" should be better-suited. Electricity from a newly developed 48 Volt battery will help spool them up and thus create lag-free acceleration at low rpm, in a similar way to the Audi RS5 TDI Concept.

Part of an engine family that is currently in development, the six-cylinder diesel will allegedly have a 2.9-liter displacement and feature two power outputs. A twin-turbocharged version is expected to deliver around 313 horsepower, while the quad-charged version (two traditional turbochargers and two electric ones) is said to develop over 400 horsepower. The brawnier version will therefore become the most powerful diesel engine in a production car when it goes on sale, which should happen sometime in 2017.

All V-6 engines from the current E-Class will be phased out, whether diesel or gasoline, with newly developed straight sixes to take their places. The gasoline version will be a twin-turbocharged, 3.0-liter inline-six that should also deliver over 400 horsepower in its most powerful version, although some reports suggest that the same engine found in the G500 4X4² concept will take care of the "over 400 horsepower" area in the next E-Class.

Continue reading to learn more about Mercedes’s future plans.

Why it matters

If the "electric-turborchargers" work as advertised by Audi and its RS5 TDI concept – where two turbochargers were augmented by a battery-powered compressor at low rpm - forced-induction engines should in theory amass even more fans. For example, I love turbocharged engines, but the throttle response and linearity of a naturally aspirated engine could never be replicated by a turbocharged one, at least until now. Audi will probably be the first to offer such technology in series starting with 2016, but we should use electricity to improve every turbocharged engine in existence, if you ask me.

Mercedes-Benz is also said to take modularity to the extreme with the upcoming inline-cylinder engine family, going as far as sharing parts between diesel and gasoline versions. As some of you know, the modularity revolution already started in 2014, when the twin-turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 from the Mercedes-AMG GT and C63 was essentially created by mating two four-cylinder engines from the 45 AMG series. Previous rumors suggested that the German carmaker will be able to manufacture diesel and gasoline engines on the same production line in the near future, resulting in economies of scale and higher profit margins.

2017 Mercedes E-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Exterior Spyshots
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Read our full review here.

Source: CAR

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