With AMG no longer focused on chasing big horsepower numbers, efficiency could quickly become the new performance benchmark for the Affalterbach-based tuner. Currently in development is a range of new diesels, advanced lightweight materials and construction methods, as well as a hybrid system for the Mercedes Benz performance workshop.

The information comes from AMG boss Volker Mornhinweg, who explained that the new environmentally-friendly measures are more likely to enhance a vehicle’s performance capability rather than erode it. “We have the technology to improve economy and performance – and you’ll see it sooner than you think,” he revealed during a recent interview with CAR.

While fuel-efficient diesels and hybrids are still several years away, we have already seen the first implementation of AMG’s new green initiatives in vehicles like the SL65 Black Series. Mornhinweg said that the car’s 661hp (493kW) output could be one of the last times such a high power rating is found on an AMG car. However, its advanced composite materials and other weight-saving construction techniques will definitely be applied to future models.

“Power is not a problem for us, so we’ll be focusing heavily on materials technology to lower weight and boost the power-to-weight ratios of our cars. And because they’ll be lighter, they’ll be more agile and engaging to drive,” he explained.

Such an initiative couldn’t come soon enough. The standard SL65 already tips the scales at 2,043kg (4506lbs), while the new Black Series weighs in at a significantly lower 1,870kg (4122lbs). Still heavy by most supercar standards but an indication of what can be achieved with the application of weight savings mods.

Beyond that, AMG will launch a mild-hybrid petrol-electric model using technology borrowed from the recently revealed S400 BlueHybrid saloon. Other ‘green’ features will include engine stop-start technology, energy-recovery systems, and cylinder-deactivation. The other advantage of hybrids is the high instantaneous torque levels of their electric motors. “AMG is all about torque, and electric engines develop their torque at standstill,” Mornhinweg commented.

The launch date for the AMG hybrid is expected to fall around the end of the decade. Other initiatives include high-torque diesel models, although the number of AMG oil-burners would be kept low, possibly just a single model.