As part of the just sealed partnership between Renault-Nissan and Daimler, the German company will provide Infiniti (Nissan’s luxury arm) with engines. And according to Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co, Infiniti’s smallest G series will use Mercedes inline four-cylinder engines to improve fuel economy and cut emissions – the powerplant in question is likely to be Merc’s latest direct-injection turbocharged CGI engines, which can be had here in Malaysia with the C and E-Class.
Ghosn didn’t give any timeline or if the Mercedes engine will entirely phase out the current 328 bhp 3.7-litre V6 used in the G range, which most testers have given the thumbs up to. Sweet it may be, but carmakers are increasingly being pressured to lower emissions of their range, and putting a small four-pot in its volume seller will help Infiniti greatly in this matter. But it remains to be seen if US customers who are used to a minimum of six cylinders in this segment will bite – Mercedes itself doesn’t use four-cylinder engines in the US; the smallest engine in the C-Class is a 3.0-litre V6.
Even America is not spared from the downsizing wave. The big V8s will still be needed, but the V6s will be slowly replaced by high output four pots. Hyundai-Kia will also not have V6s in their latest Sonata and Optima/Magentis, using instead the 2.0-litre Theta II turbocharged GDI engine, which puts out 274 bhp and 375 Nm.