The push by governments around the world for stricter emissions regulations for new cars has all carmakers, from mainstream makes like Toyota and General Motors all the way up to exclusive brands like Mercedes-Benz and even Ferrari, working on new methods to clean up their act. One of the easiest methods of reducing emissions and improving fuel economy is to downsize an engine’s displacement but this often comes at the cost of performance.

There are a number of ways to draw more power from an engine but one of the most cost effect and reliable methods is super- or turbocharging. Speaking at an Automotive News Europe press event, Daimler R&D chief Thomas Weber confirmed that all Mercedes vehicles will feature turbocharged engines in series production by the end of 2010 at the latest. This will allow engineers to use smaller and lighter engines without sacrificing performance.

Mercedes has already showcased its new DiesOtto engine, which delivers an amazing 238hp (175kW) and 400Nm of torque from its 1.8L displacement. Initial tests have seen fuel consumption at around 39mpg (6L/100km), and this was in a large S-class saloon.

Weber explained that installing turbocharged engines is just the first step to improving overall emissions and fuel economy levels. In the medium term Mercedes will introduce more hybrid vehicles, the first of which will be based on the current S-Class sedan and will arrive next year. In the longer term Mercedes will offer zero-emission vehicles. The first will be an all-electric Smart car due in 2010, and this is expected to be followed by a fuel-cell model less than 12 months later.

Main rivals BMW and Audi are also adding more forced induction engines to their lineups, however, while BMW is also heading towards turbocharged engines Audi has decided to adopt supercharging technology.