Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will add a turbocharged motor to every vehicle in in its lineup over the next two and a half years. The move is largely in response to tightening emissions regulations rather than a quest for big power, so those of you who were hanging out for a force-fed 300kW A-Class will unfortunately have to keep dreamin'.
This news comes hot on the heels of Mercedes' recent announcement that it intends to eliminate fossil-fuel-powered models entirely by 2015, and is a clear sign that Mercedes is putting into effect the first phase of its wider plan to reduce our dependence on oil.
The use of a small turbocharger will enable Mercedes to produce smaller, lighter motors that are still capable of producing just as much power as today's engines, yet use much less fuel during low-throttle cruising. The weight saved by the reduced size of the engine will also add to the fuel economy benefits, while less fuel burned means less pollutants released, so Mother Nature can also breath a little easier.
Indeed, like many other European manufacturers, Mercedes is under political pressure to rein in its emissions. Current plans by the European Commission call for Mercedes to reduce the CO2 emissions of its entire fleet from its current level of 178g/km to 138k/km by 2012 - a drop of 22.5 per cent. Turbochargers may help get them there, but boosted Benzes are merely a stopgap solution: the ultimate goal will be a completely zero-emission line up.