AMG going green? Direct injection, hybrids, diesels on the horizon

Mercedes-Benz' high-performance division, AMG, is going green, AMG chairman Volker Mornhinweg announced at Geneva the night before the 78th international auto show opened. Specifically, Mornhinweg promised the high-performance cars will emit 30 percent less carbon dioxide by 2012 thanks to smaller, turbocharged engines, hybrid systems and diesels. It's not known which of these, or if all, will be used to attain the goal.

The chairman did offer, however, some particulars. By 2010, AMG cars will feature direct-injection gas engines and systems that will shut off the engine when stopped thanks to an advanced and efficient starter-generator mounted to the crankshaft, he said, according to Car and Driver.

As part of a consortium with GM, Chrysler and BMW, Mercedes is developing a two-mode hybrid system that will allows cars to drive short distances on electricity alone. Once developed, AMG hopes to launch the technology on its CL, SL or CLS-based vehicles.

As for diesel, AMG is keeping an eye on it, citing North America may not be ready for a high-performance compression-ignition vehicle. "We are monitoring the diesel. There is currently no demand, but if that changes, we can react immediately," Mornhinweg says. AMG will decide it will build its second diesel-powered model (it offered a C30 CDI back in 2003 in parts of Europe) by the end of 2008.

Another option hinted at involved turbocharged V6 engines, as turbo V8s are already near reality.

AMG sold a record 20,107 vehicles last year, with more than half of that number finding homes in North America.