Mercedes-Benz to use 3-cylinder engines for compact fwd hybrids

Article by Andrew Christian, on March 31, 2014

Mercedes-Benz will fit three-cylinder engines for future hybrid versions of its compact fwd drive vehicles, disclosed Bernhard Heil, chief of powertrain development of Daimler AG. Mercedes' engineers, however, are not keen to the idea of using three-cylinder engines, but its small size will be necessary for transverse-mounted hybrid powertrains.

Heil told Automotive News in an interview that in packaging a hybridized engine in the front end, the four-cylinder engine has its limitations. Since Daimler's rwd vehicles have enough room, they will be fitted with four-cylinder engines and up. Mercedes' C class, E class and S class are designed to contain bigger engines, while a hybrid-four-cylinder combo does not give rise to packaging issues.

According to Heil, Daimler also intends to offer a small gasoline engine developed jointly with Renault. Mercedes already offers a slightly modified 1.5-liter turbo-diesel engine from Renault in compact cars marketed in Europe. Both the three-cylinder engine and the four-cylinder engine Daimler is co-developing with Renault are designed to be contained into the compact A class, B class, CLA and GLA.

The engines are expected to debut in the next two year, but it remains unclear whether they would be launched in the United States. Mercedes models bound for US are typically run by the most powerful engines in its lineup.

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