Along with the three-cylinder engine, the next-generation C-Class will also get a hybrid optionEnlarge Photo
Expect to see smaller engines and more hybrid options for future Mercedes Benz models, as high fuel prices and greater environmental concerns push buyers – even luxury oriented ones - towards more efficient vehicles. The solution for most automakers, including arch rival BMW
, is to downsize engines and increase the use of forced induction, and this is exactly what Mercedes plans to do for its next-generation of cars.
Mercedes has already shown off its DiesOtto engine
, which in prototype form has already achieved 39mpg fuel-economy in the large S-Class saloon, and it’s just months away from launching the new S400
and ML450 hybrid
vehicles. A new report from AutoWeek.nl
, however, suggests that the automaker has much more drastic plans in store.
Mercedes R&D chief Thomas Weber has revealed that by 2012 almost the full lineup will be available with a hybrid option, and that customers will also be able to opt for three-cylinder engines in certain models. The three-cylinder engines will be much lighter than current four-cylinder designs, not to mention a whole lot more fuel efficient.
Weber went on to reveal that Mercedes is currently looking for a partner to help develop the new three-cylinder engine and that some of the models it will appear in include the Smart ForTwo, A and B-Class and even the next-generation C-Class.
The U.S. market won’t likely see a three-cylinder C-Class for some time to come, however, there’s a strong chance that we will get a four-cylinder model
in the not too distant future.