There was little question about Mercedes-Benz's commitment to increasing fuel economy across its lineup, and now a new report suggests the German automaker is considering hybrid powertrains across all versions of the next-generation C-Class.
Mercedes is in the process of launching its refreshed third-generation C-Class as we speak, but company engineers are hard at work preparing the next iteration, which is scheduled to debut in roughly two years. Fuel economy and emissions for the next C-Class are expected to be greatly improved upon, and now Autocar is reporting that nearly every next-gen C-Class is scheduled to employ a hybrid powertrain to increase efficiency.
This is not the first time we've heard about Mercedes possibly using hybrids to go greener. Last year, we reported that the German automaker may make its flagship S-Class into a hybrid-only lineup. We do know that it has fast-tracked the production of a plug-in hybrid based on the S500 sedan, and gas-electric hybrid models for both the E- and C-Classes.
While no exact specifications for the car's forthcoming powertrain have been divulged, the automaker is also reportedly considering further alternatives to improving emissions and fuel economy. Autocar learned that Mercedes powertrain engineers are toying with cylinder deactivation technology for I-4 engines, allowing the mill to run on just two cylinders while under light loads. Taking its green initiative even further, Mercedes may also be considering even smaller three-cylinder engines for the next C-Class.
Aside from powertrain research, the Stuttgart automaker says reduced friction in engines, transmissions, and wheel bearings should help improve economy. Despite the added heft of a hybrid powertrain's requisite battery pack, engineers aim to shave ten percent off the car's curb weight - a minimum of 320 pounds lighter than the lightest U.S.-spec C-Class.