Mercedes-Benz AMG GT engine exposed

The 7 Best Mercedes-Benz Engines Ever Made

If you’re as fascinated by engines as we are, you’re in for a treat.

Some are designed for raw power, some for fuel efficiency, while others aim to strike a balance.

So, which is the best Mercedes engine?

That’s a tricky question, as the ‘best’ can vary based on what you’re looking for.

But don’t worry; this article will discuss all of Mercedes’s finest engines.

Let’s start!

Understanding Mercedes-Benz engine codes

If you see Mercedes’ engine code for the first time, it might feel a bit like deciphering a secret language.

But don’t worry; once you grasp the basics, it’s not as complex as it might seem.

Let’s break it down together.

Mercedes-Benz engine codes usually consist of three parts: a letter followed by three numbers, and sometimes ending with another letter.

  1. Type of Engine: The first letter represents the type of engine. ‘M’ stands for a petrol engine, while ‘OM’ denotes a diesel engine. The ‘M’ is derived from the German word ‘Motor,’ and ‘OM’ stands for ‘Ölmotor,’ which translates to oil engine – a term used for diesel engines.
  2. Engine Family and Series: The first two or three digits after the initial letter(s) represent the engine family and series. For example, in the code ‘M112’, ‘112’ signifies a specific series of V6 petrol engines.
  3. Specific Variants: The last digit(s) in the code can indicate specific variants within that series. For example, in the ‘M113 K’, ‘K’ stands for ‘Kompressor,’ referring to a supercharger.

Now that you understand the Mercedes-Benz engine codes, you’ll have an easier time reviewing the list in this article. It’s handy, isn’t it?

Top 7 Mercedes-Benz engines

Let’s take a look at some of the best Mercedes-Benz engines ever made!

1. M276 (Best Mercedes Petrol Engine)

Mercedes-Benz M276 - The Best Mercedes Petrol Engine
  • Capacity: 2,996-3,498 cc
  • Power: 248–385 hp
  • Torque: 251–384 lb-ft
  • Cylinders: V6
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Common vehicles with this engine: Mercedes-Benz W212 E 300, Mercedes-Benz W204 C 350, Mercedes-Benz W205 C 400

If there were a hall of fame for Mercedes-Benz engines, the M276 would undoubtedly have a special spot reserved.

Considered by many as the best petrol engine produced by Mercedes, the M276 blends performance, efficiency, and refinement in an impressive package.

The M276 series, launched in 2010, consists of 3.0-liter or 3.5-liter V6 engines that replaced the earlier M272 engines.

What sets the M276 apart is its implementation of key technologies that significantly enhance its performance and fuel economy.

Firstly, the M276 uses a direct injection system. This technology injects fuel directly into the combustion chamber, producing more efficient fuel use, increased power, and lower emissions.

Add to this the twin-turbo charging and a lightweight, die-cast aluminum engine block, and you have an engine that punches well above its weight.

The M276 engine family is quite versatile and powers a range of Mercedes-Benz models, from the S-Class to the SLK and the E-Class.

Across the board, it’s been praised for its smooth and quiet operation, rapid response to throttle inputs, and impressive power delivery.

One of the shining stars of the M276 family is the M276 DELA 30, a 3.0L V6 bi-turbo variant. It delivers a punchy 362 horsepower, providing drivers with an exhilarating experience behind the wheel.

In a nutshell, the M276 encapsulates everything the brand stands for; performance, refinement, and technological innovation.

2. OM606 (Best Mercedes Diesel Engine)

Mercedes-Benz OM606 (Best Mercedes Diesel Engine)
  • Capacity: 2,996 cc
  • Power: 134-174 hp
  • Torque: 155-243 lb-ft
  • Cylinders: Straight-6
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Common vehicles with this engine: Mercedes-Benz W124 E 300 D, Mercedes-Benz W210 E 300 D, Mercedes-Benz W210 E 300 Turbodiesel

When it comes to the longevity of Mercedes-Benz diesel engines, the OM606 holds an almost legendary status.

Introduced in the mid-1990s, this engine has proven itself to be incredibly reliable, often outlasting the very cars it’s housed in!

The OM606, a successor to the OM603, is a 3.0-liter inline-six diesel engine often called the best Mercedes diesel engine due to its robust construction and bulletproof reliability.

The engine uses a cast-iron block, which, while slightly heavier than more modern aluminum alternatives, is known for its extreme durability and ability to withstand high mileage with minimal issues.

One of the most distinctive features of the OM606 is its mechanical fuel injection system, specifically the Bosch injection pump.

While newer models often use electronic systems, the mechanical nature of the OM606’s fuel system contributes to its famed reliability and easier maintenance. There are fewer electronics to fail, making this engine a favorite among DIY mechanics.

Performance-wise, the OM606 won’t set any speed records, but it delivers decent power for its size, especially in the turbocharged versions (OM606.962/963).

While it might not offer the most modern technologies, the OM606 is known for running smoothly for hundreds of thousands of miles, provided it receives regular maintenance.

It’s even become a popular choice for engine swaps in off-road vehicles due to its blend of reliability and performance.

3. M156 (Best Mercedes V8 Engine)

Mercedes-Benz M156 (Best Mercedes V8 Engine)
  • Capacity: 6,208 cc
  • Power: 451–510 hp
  • Torque: 465–479 lb-ft
  • Cylinders: V8
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Common vehicles with this engine: Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG, Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG

If you’re looking for raw power and spine-tingling acoustics, the M156 engine is prominent in Mercedes-Benz’s engine history, often referenced as the best Mercedes V8 engine.

And it’s not just any V8 engine; it’s the first to be entirely developed by Mercedes-AMG, the high-performance subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz.

Introduced in 2006, the M156 is a naturally aspirated 6.2L V8 engine. While the industry was beginning to shift towards smaller, turbocharged engines, the M156 stood as a defiant tribute to the raw power of a big, naturally aspirated V8.

The M156 engine is a remarkable piece of engineering; its most potent version was in the C63 AMG Black Series, producing a blistering 510 horsepower and delivering a 0-60 mph time in just over four seconds.

But the M156 isn’t just about power; it’s also about sound. The rumble and roar of this engine are unmistakable and are enough to send shivers down the spine of any car enthusiast.

The M156 also served as the base for the M159 engine used in the SLS AMG, an engine that managed to further improve upon the already impressive performance of the M156.

4. M113 (Most Reliable Mercedes Engine)

Mercedes-Benz M113 (Most Reliable Mercedes Engine)
  • Capacity: 4,266-5,439 cc
  • Power: 275-574 hp
  • Torque: 295-590 lb-ft
  • Cylinders: V8
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Common vehicles with this engine: Mercedes-Benz E 430, Mercedes-Benz S 500, Mercedes-Benz CLS 55 AMG

The M113 is one of the best and most reliable engines ever produced by Mercedes-Benz.

Introduced in 1998, this naturally aspirated V8 engine has proven its worth in countless vehicles, earning its well-deserved reputation for steadfast reliability.

The M113 engine comes in various sizes, including 4.3L, 5.0L, and 5.4L displacements.

The 5.0L version, found in the E500 and S500 models, among others, is particularly well-regarded. Despite its solid performance figures – providing between 288 and 302 horsepower depending on the version – it’s the M113’s durability that sets it apart.

One of the critical features of the M113 is its two spark plugs per cylinder design, known as “twin spark.” The M113 also uses a three-valve-per-cylinder design, which helps to improve the engine’s breathing efficiency and fuel economy.

This engine is built to last. With a robust design, including a cast-aluminum engine block and cylinder heads, the M113 can easily surpass hundreds of thousands of miles with regular maintenance.

It’s not uncommon for these engines to reach the 300,000-mile mark with no major issues, a testament to Mercedes’ robust design and excellent build quality.

Of course, like any engine, the M113 has its quirks and potential issues.

Still, they are well-documented and generally straightforward to address, especially considering the vast knowledge and resources available from the Mercedes-Benz community.

Reader’s tip: The 10 Most Reliable Mercedes-Benz Models And Years

5. M112 (Best Mercedes V6 Engine)

Mercedes-Benz M112 (Best Mercedes V6 Engine)
  • Capacity: 2,398-3,724 cc
  • Power: 168–255 hp
  • Torque: 166–332 lb-ft
  • Cylinders: V6
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Common vehicles with this engine: Mercedes-Benz W210 E 240, Mercedes-Benz W202 C 280, Mercedes-Benz S 350

When discussing the best Mercedes-Benz V6 engine, it’s hard not to mention the M112.

The M112 engine family forms the foundation for the M113 engines. However, the M112 engines are designed in a V6 configuration, available in various displacements from 2.6L to 3.7L.

Like the M113, the M112 was one of the first Mercedes engines to use a three-valve-per-cylinder design and twin-spark ignition.

One of the most impressive versions of this engine is the M112 E37, a 3.7-liter variant that offers a strong blend of performance and efficiency.

Power outputs across the M112 range vary from 168 to 255 horsepower, depending on the specific variant and the model of the car it’s fitted to.

Notable models featuring the M112 engine include the C-Class, E-Class, SLK, and CLK, among others.

Whether providing smooth and reliable power for a luxury sedan or giving life to a sporty roadster, the M112 proves itself as a versatile and dependable powerplant.

6. M177 (Most Powerful Mercedes Engine)

Mercedes-Benz M177 (Most Powerful Mercedes Engine)
  • Capacity: 3,982 cc
  • Power: 469-503 hp
  • Torque: 479-516 lb-ft
  • Cylinders: V8
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Common vehicles with this engine: Mercedes-AMG W205 C63, Mercedes-AMG X290 GT 63, Mercedes-AMG W222 S63

Welcome to the realm of ultimate power within the Mercedes-Benz engine lineup.

The 4.0-liter V8 engine, codenamed M177, is the most powerful Mercedes engine ever made. Produced by Mercedes-AMG, the M177 is a twin-turbocharged V8 engine that puts ‘high performance’ into a whole new perspective.

Introduced in 2015, the M177 replaced naturally aspirated M156 and M159 engines. It’s found under the hood of the most potent AMG models, including the AMG GT, C63, E63, and S63, among others.

The engine incorporates direct fuel injection with piezo injectors, a ‘hot V’ turbocharger configuration, and NANOSLIDE cylinder wall technology for reduced friction.

This combination allows the M177 to produce phenomenal power outputs, from 469 horsepower in the base version to an earth-shattering 791 horsepower in the Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance (with a little help from the electric motors).

What’s particularly remarkable about the M177 is how it combines this raw power with everyday drivability.

Despite its potency, it remains smooth and responsive at low speeds, transforming into a roaring beast when the throttle is opened.

7. M256 (Best Mercedes Engine for Tuning)

Mercedes-Benz M256 (Best Mercedes Engine for Tuning)
  • Capacity: 2,999 cc
  • Power: 367–435 hp
  • Torque: 369–384 lb-ft
  • Cylinders: Straight-6
  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Common vehicles with this engine: Mercedes-Benz C257 CLS 450, Mercedes-Benz W213 E 450, Mercedes-Benz W223 S 580 e

For car enthusiasts who love to squeeze every ounce of performance from their vehicle, tuning is a popular approach, and some engines lend themselves to this practice more than others.

The Mercedes-Benz M256 engine has rapidly gained a reputation as the go-to choice for tuners.

The M256, part of Mercedes-Benz’s latest engine family, is a 3.0L inline-six petrol engine that employs an innovative 48-volt mild hybrid system known as EQ Boost and an electrically driven supercharger (eZV).

While it’s potent in stock form, delivering up to 435 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque, it’s the M256’s tuning potential that truly sets it apart.

The engine’s robust design, along with its advanced turbocharging and supercharging setup, provides a solid foundation for modifications.

Tuning firms have extracted significant performance gains from the M256, with some tuned examples pushing well over 450 horsepower.

The modifications typically involve remapping the engine control unit (ECU) and upgrading the air intake and exhaust system.


Throughout this article, we’ve taken a deep dive into some of the best engines Mercedes-Benz has ever produced, from the dependable M113 and versatile M112 to the high-performance M177 and the tuner’s favorite, M256.

Each engine tells a story of technological advancement, performance ethos, and a steadfast commitment to quality that sets Mercedes-Benz apart.

So, whether you’re a Mercedes-Benz owner, a prospective buyer, an enthusiast, or a curious reader, we hope this exploration of the best Mercedes engines has provided valuable insights.

Remember, behind the emblem of the Three-Pointed Star lies an engine that continues the brand’s time-honored slogan: “The best or nothing.”

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