The new models were developed under the direction of Paul Daimler, the eldest son of automotive pioneer Gottlieb Daimler. The engineer headed the vehicle development of DMG. He knew the principle of the Roots compressor from aviation engine development during the First World War. Now he was relying on the concept of the belt-driven supercharger and wanted to use it in a car.
A first attempt with the sleeve valve engine of a Mercedes-Knight 10/40 PS was not successful. That is why two new valve-controlled engines were developed at Daimler: both were inline four-cylinder engines with overhead camshafts, V-shaped valves and centrally embedded spark plugs. An upright shaft on the end of the engine powered the camshaft and water pump. The Roots compressor was fitted to the front of the engine and powered by the crankshaft.