Daimler executive Bernhard Heil talked with Automotive News about the challenges of using four-cylinder engines in a front-wheel-drive setup and said that three-cylinder engines could work in transverse-mounted powertrains for hybrid cars. For now, though, the company doesn't actually have any plans to go in that direction, Mercedes-Benz spokesman Christoph Horn said in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen. Horn wrote that Heil "actually said that if ever MB would use a three-cylinder engine than [it would be] in a configuration where space is restricted, such as when using a hybrid power train in a compact car."
Of course, the only compact "hybrid" that Mercedes-Benz has is the 2015 C-Class, but that refers to the "hybrid" body is made of 48-percent aluminum, up from the current nine percent, as well as steel. It has nothing to do with the powertrain. Beyond that, there's always the Mercedes-Benz S500 Plug-in Hybrid that the company unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last fall, but that model, which will debut in Europe later this year and arrive stateside next year, has a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 and an 80-kilowatt electric motor that propels the plug-in from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds. Not exactly three-cylinder territory, that.