According to a report from, Mercedes-Benz is taking a long, hard look at a new three-cylinder engine for its upcoming range of small cars and hybrids. Daimler already offers a 1.0-liter three-banger in the diminutive smart fortwo, and this new powerplant would likely be destined for the rear engine bay of both the next-gen smart as well as Mercedes' own A-, B- and C-Class cars.

In addition to the three-cylinder engine, Thomas Weber, director of group research and car development at Mercedes-Benz, says the German automaker plans to offer a hybrid powertrain option on each of its models – from minicars like the smart to its line of large luxury sedans and commercial vans. To make that goal a reality, MB is working to reduce the weight of its hybrid drivetrain by 10 percent. The last interesting little nugget from this report is that Mercedes is looking for a partner to help develop this small engine family. We can't help but recall rumors from last month indicating that fellow German automaker BMW was working on its own new three-cylinder engine architecture. How 'bout a collaboration?