Downsizing strikes again.
The tie-up between Mercedes-Benz and the Renault-Nissan alliance is all set to expand in the years to come as the automakers have teamed up to jointly work on a couple of new gasoline four-cylinder engines. The 1.2- and 1.4-liter units benefitting from direct-injection will find their way underneath the hood of the base variants from the A- and B-Class lineups in their next generation.
Needless to say, the A-Class hatchback will lead the way at some point in 2018 and it’s going to be followed by the other members of the family: A-Class Sedan, CLA, CLA Shooting Brake, B-Class, GLA, the rumored GLB, and another unknown model. In total, Mercedes’ compact model lineup will consist of eight cars.
Developed under the codename “M282,” these engines are being engineered exclusively for transverse applications, so these will not find their way under the hoods of bigger Mercedes models. The 1.2 and 1.4 mills will be joined by a thoroughly updated iteration of the existing “M274” set to make the transition to the “M260” codename and destined to be offered in 1.6 and 2.0 flavors.
The upgraded 2.0-liter unit is going to serve as foundation for a new unit set to replace the M133 currently powering the “45” models where it pushes out 381 horsepower (280 kilowatts) and 350 pound-feet (475 Newton-meters) of torque. In the next range-topping A45, CLA45, and GLA45 models, the 2.0-liter engine has already been confirmed to push out in excess of 400 hp.
While a 1.2-liter engine might seem too small, let’s keep in mind the much bigger and heavier Ford Mondeo is available in some parts of the world with a tiny three-cylinder, 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine.
The downsizing trend is not expected to continue in the future as some of the automakers have admitted going below 1.2 liters for gasoline engines would not allow them to meet emissions standards. As a matter of fact, it was the Renault-Nissan alliance that made this statement at last year’s Paris Motor Show, adding “we’re reaching the limits of downsizing.” As a consequence, it’s unlikely the two companies will have a diesel engine with a displacement smaller than the current 1.5 dCi — an engine you’ll find in the cheapest A- and B-Class models (and just about all Dacias).