In Europe, having smaller and more efficient gas and diesel engines in an automaker’s lineup is imperative, as fuel can often reach $9 per gallon. Cadillac learned this the hard way, watching its sales flounder as it introduced a set of otherwise competitive vehicles.
But in launching a new brand to the European market, Infiniti isn’t set to make the same mistake. For 2012, the Japanese luxury make is tapping an alliance Nissan formed with Mercedes-Benz to source a 1.8-liter turbocharged gas-powered four-cylinder and a 2.1-liter diesel for the Infiniti M luxury sedan.
The U.S. is already familiar with the 204-horsepower gas engine, as it’s the new base engine in our 2012 Mercedes-Benz C250 sedan and coupe. However, the more interesting news is the 170-horsepower diesel mill that can achieve as much as 59 mpg in the European-spec Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI in mixed driving. Both engines are significantly smaller and less powerful than our base-model Infiniti M37, which makes 320 horsepower and nets 21 mpg in EPA-rated mixed driving. But with U.S. corporate average fuel economy figures soon to be stretching to 54.5 mpg over the next 13 years, this could be a sign of things to come.
Even if it’s not, however, don’t expect this to be the last we see of the Infiniti-Mercedes alliance. Already planned is a compact Infiniti hatchback based on the front-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz A-Class platform, a vehicle not currently sold in the States. In the future, we expect Infiniti to return the favor, developing technology for the German automaker.
Source: Auto Week (Netherlands)