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New Mercedes-Benz CLS gets more power, uses less gas

Mercedes-Benz launches a new engine with the next generation CLS, using direct injection and twin turbos.

CLS engine
Mercedes-Benz developed this new 4.6-liter V-8 with direct injection and twin turbos. Mercedes-Benz

After Mercedes-Benz launched its 5.5-liter V-8 in the 2005 S550, that engine found its way into almost every other Mercedes-Benz model. It appeared in the CL, CLS, E, ML, GL, G, and SL class cars. Now, Mercedes-Benz has developed a new V-8 using direct injection and turbochargers, which will first appear in the upcoming 2011 CLS550.

If Mercedes-Benz stayed true to its model naming convention, this new CLS would be called the CLS460 Kompressor, or possibly Doppel-Kompressor. The new V-8 is smaller than its predecessor, displacing 4.6-liters, yet makes more power. The new engine achieves 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, a big boost compared with the 5.5-liter engine's 382 horsepower and 391 pound-feet of torque. At the same time, Mercedes-Benz says the new engine will get 20 percent better fuel economy.

Mercedes-Benz CLS
Mercedes-Benz launches the new CLS later this year. Mercedes-Benz

Direct injection is one technology helping the engine meet these specifications. Fuel injectors are mounted in the cylinder, spraying the gasoline mixture directly into the chamber, resulting in a more efficient burn than port injection provides. Twin turbochargers also account for a portion of this power boost. Mercedes-Benz says it tuned the turbos for low-speed torque, with 443 pound-feet coming on at 1,600rpm, making turbo lag unlikely.

The engine is also optimized for start/stop operation, allowing it to shut down when the car is stopped at a red light or in traffic. This feature has become popular in Europe, but in the U.S. has been used only in hybrids to date.

The 2011 CLS with this new V-8 goes on sale this fall.