It looks like impending CAFE regulations are going to have a bigger impact on GM’s future powertrains than initially thought. Officials have made it clear that V8s will have a limited role in GM’s future lineup and Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said we can all forget about a new Pontiac GTO and RWD Impala sedan. Now we have news GM will also be downsizing its engines and adding turbochargers to achieve quick improvements in fuel economy without losing out on performance.

Next year will see the introduction of a turbocharged 1.4L petrol engine in compact cars sold in the U.S. such as the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Astra, and this same engine is expected to filter across to mid-sized vehicles as well. Speaking with Automotive News, GM engineering chief Jim Queen revealed the carmaker’s plans to update its powertrain lineup. "You're going to see turbocharged four-cylinders in vehicles that no one could have ever imagined that they would be in," he said.

This is nothing new for anyone living in regions where the cost of fuel is much higher than that in the U.S. In Europe, for example, where fuel can cost double - or more - as much as it does in the U.S., compact cars with highly efficient, forced induction engines are very popular. Volkswagen, for example, has gone a step further and introduced engines with both super and turbo chargers to deliver extra power across the rev range.

Cross-town rival Ford has also announced its own plans for more turbocharged applications including in its performance lineup such as the Mustang range, which could soon be available with twin-turbo V6 and V8 powertrains.