Mercedes-Benz in-house tuner AMG is best known for its thunderous, cacophonous V-8 gasoline engines. The brand's latest model is something of a departure, though.

The 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG still offers ballistic performance, but uses only a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine--albeit turbocharged to 355 horsepower.

AMG has now said that it's a trend it expects to continue--while hybrids knock high-performance diesels aside in the pursuit of both power and economy.

According to Edmunds (via our sister site Motor Authority), AMG Chairman Ola Källenius thinks hybrids will be the future of performance vehicles.

Diesel, says Källenius, doesn't deliver the aggressive characteristics of a gasoline engine--nor its pure throttle response, nor the NASCAR-style sounds common to many AMG products.

Hybrids, on the other hand, still allow automakers to use gasoline engines as a main source of propulsion, without sacrificing too much in the way of efficiency.

AMG will produce a hybrid vehicle "when the market is ready for it and in markets [that require it] due to their regulations".

AMG's more traditional engines will still continue for some years though, and even with improvements to regular gasoline engines the company hopes to return a 20 percent reduction in fuel consumption by its 50th birthday in 2017.

Most of those changes will likely come through reduced capacity engines and turbocharging, as shown in the potent little CLA 45 AMG--but big engines will remain, and AMG says even its V-12 engines produce low enough emissions to meet regulations for several more years.

When the company does turn to hybrids--and it says such a change could be surprisingly quick, with the might of Mercedes-Benz behind it--it's likely to use techniques from the world of Formula One to harness energy--think flywheels and capacitors rather than heavy battery packs.

AMG isn't the first company you'd think of when high fuel efficiency is a priority, but performance car fans will be glad to know that even the quickest cars will get cleaner, use less fuel and cost less to run in future.


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