SPACE IN­VADERS

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Driving -

De­spite the ben­e­fits there are is­sues with I6 too and the most pro­nounced amongst th­ese is pack­ag­ing. An I6 en­gine will al­ways be longer than an equiv­a­lent ca­pac­ity V6 and for those brands of­fer­ing front-wheel drive lux­ury cars, that makes them nearly im­pos­si­ble to fit trans­versely and ac­com­mo­date a gear­box. Mercedes is in the for­tu­nate po­si­tion of pri­mar­ily pro­duc­ing rear-wheel drive con­fig­u­ra­tion ve­hi­cles, but al­though this solves the is­sue of en­gine/gear­box pack­ag­ing with a lon­gi­tu­di­nal lay­out, it cre­ates a crash safety prob­lem all of its own. En­sur­ing frontal im­pact pedes­trian safety com­pli­ance re­quires a larger mar­gin be­tween the lon­gi­tu­di­nal in-line en­gine’s for­ward mount­ing points and the grille/bon­net en­ergy de­for­ma­tion zone, en­forc­ing a longer bon­net struc­ture. Pre­vent­ing the lon­gi­tu­di­nally mounted en­gine from punc­tur­ing the cabin dur­ing a se­vere im­pact is a se­condary crash safety chal­lenge with any I6, but Mercedes as­sures us that engi­neer­ing so­lu­tions have been se­cured for all th­ese is­sues.

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