Outstanding performance and a wide usable engine speed range, a low power-to-weight ratio and sound design, a low specific fuel consumption and exhaust emission values, ease of maintenance and pedestrian protection – the requirements for newly developed engines are both varied and demanding. The primary development goals for the engineers and product strategists at Mercedes-AMG GmbH were dynamic responsiveness, great agility, exhilarating liveliness and a high torque even at low engine speeds.
Completely autonomous development from Affalterbach
In conceptual and design terms the new powerplants by Mercedes-AMG are a product of completely autonomous development from the engineers in Affalterbach. For example, development work on the AMG 5.5-liter V8 biturbo engine – introduced in 2010 -- began in 2006.
Focusing on outstanding output and torque characteristics and decidedly sporty performance requires sophisticated technologies and solutions which are often based on motor sports engineering – which means that for mile after mile, the AMG driver benefits from more than 45 years of experience in international motor racing.
The development work on the new eight-cylinder biturbo unit started with fundamental packaging research, analyses of basic mechanical functions, the oil and coolant circuits and the power characteristics with various intake duct and cam-shaft configurations, plus the definition of fuel injection quantities, fuel consumption and exhaust emission values – all these were studied by means of flow simulations and on the dynamic simulation test benches at Mercedes-AMG. Nine of the very latest, high-tech test benches are available in the Mercedes-AMG test bench laboratory, which was taken into commission in 2004; engines with outputs exceeding 735 kW (1000 hp) can be dynamically tested in this facility.
These test facilities are able to simulate any road and environmental conditions to reproduce any conceivable type of operation. Cold or hot starting, mountain passes, stop-and-go traffic or fast laps on the North Loop of the Nürburgring – the engines were required to give their utmost. Even the intake air temperatures and densities can be varied by computer control, and the engines can be alternately filled with hot and cold coolant. Fuels of different grades are also available.
The goal of the detailed bench tests is to verify the performance of all the engine components, including the peripheral units. All the measurement data for the engines examined were systematically compared, and evaluated using reproducible test methods. For example, to ensure the very highest quality standards, the new V8 engines themselves were required to undergo 17,000 hours of endurance testing.
In conjunction with the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports transmission, the final test was an additional 4000-hour endurance test on a special engine/transmission test bench.
At the same time the first test engines need to prove their worth in practical trials. Whether in the icy cold of northern Sweden, the merciless heat of Death Valley, oxygen-depleted air on the 4300m high Mount Evans in Colorado (USA), lapping the high-speed circuits in Nardo (Italy) and Papenburg (Germany) or in stop-and-go traffic in inner-city Stuttgart – the standardized test program of Mercedes-AMG includes all climatic zones and route profiles. At the same time it makes the very highest demands on the day-to-day practicality, reliability and long-term durability of a new engine/transmission combination.
During the testing an AMG V8, for example, the individual trial stages at a glance:
Engine and transmission development
In addition, various endurance trials need to carried out with the aim of simulating the engine’s entire operating life under the most extreme conditions:
All in all, the different AMG test vehicles cover around 700,000 kilometers of mixed endurance testing on the roads when developing a new engine.