Mercedes-AMG Four-Cylinder Gaining Electric Turbocharger . . . Sometime
Mercedes-AMG, the performance arm of Mercedes-Benz, joins other German automakers and adopts electric turbocharger technology. Electric turbochargers, as they are sometimes called, do the same job as normal turbochargers – therefore, acting like a compressor and forcing a higher density of air into the combustion chamber – but instead of being driven only by exhaust from an engine, it’s helped to turn by an electric motor.
The main advantage of e-turbos is the boost that comes now, rather than purely exhaust-driven turbos that require time to wind up and provide a boost – the dreaded turbo lag. Using a thin 1.6-inch thick electric motor built into the turbocharger’s compressor wheel shaft, AMG’s e-turbo design (developed in collaboration with Garrett) makes it possible to rotate the turbo before the exhaust gases flow, greatly improving the slow response speed and engine power.
Electronic turbochargers also allow finer control of the boost pressure, as the operation of the turbocharger is partially independent of the exhaust pressure, at least at low speed. Mercedes-AMG says new e-turbo will even keep the compressor wheel spinning when the driver takes his foot off the accelerator – to prevent boost pressure from bleeding and provide immediate engine response when the driver comes back into the gas. This system, by the way, is powered by a 48-volt electric system like this in a wave of new luxury goods and mild hybrid vehicles.
Mercedes doesn’t say which product will get the new e-turbo first, or when, but it has revealed which engine will get the technology: the four-cylinder M139, which is currently used in the new compact Mercedes-AMG CLA45 and the next GLA45. That said, these two vehicles were introduced with 382-hp versions of the M139 late last year (with a 416-hp version promised for warmer “S” models). So unless AMG hides the details of the current M139 spec sheet e-turbo, and is responsible for the 416 hp iteration, the technology will likely be moving to later AMG versions. compact with 45 badges. AMG says that the e-turbo is heading towards its “next generation of vehicles”. We’ll probably have to wait for updates or mid-cycle changes to these compact AMGs in a few years, then, to see the e-turbo and 48 volt systems go into production.
Of course, e-turbo technology will later extend to AMG six- and eight-cylinder models, too, especially considering how the new AMG six-cylinder 43- and 53-badge products have 48-volt electrical systems. and sweet tech hybrids on board. Either way, Audi’s work on electric turbos will soon be called into question in Mercedes’ luxury cage fight, and never before have we looked forward to a bunch of hot air.