Mercedes-Benz will drop supercharged Kompressor petrol engines from its future line-up in favour of turbochargers.

Mercedes will add a turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine in the new A-class this autumn, Automotive News Europe said.

“Turbochargers are superior to superchargers in terms of noise and cost,” said Juergen Frey, head of engine development for the new A class. “When we introduced the supercharged engines [in the mid-1990s] it was the right decision. Turbocharging has greatly improved in the meantime, and we have virtually no turbo lag anymore.”

Turbo technology is cheaper than supercharging hardware for petrol engines, and in general delivers better fuel consumption. V12 petrol models from Mercedes-Benz and Maybach use turbochargers.

Many diesel engines already are turbocharged, but virtually none are supercharged. On the petrol side, Mercedes, Jaguar, Mini and General Motors offer a few supercharged models. Petrol turbochargers are offered by far more automakers, including Volkswagen group, Renault, Opel, Saab, Ford, Volvo, BMW, Honda, Nissan, Mazda and Mitsubishi.

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Turbochargers are making a comeback because they, combined with smaller engines, can help automakers reduce fuel consumption to meet pending 2008 CO2 emission rules.

Modern turbochargers have reduced the delayed throttle response of earlier models with lower-mass designs and smaller units. German supplier Robert Bosch expects turbochargers on 40% of petrol-powered cars in Europe by 2008.

Mercedes’ switch to turbochargers eventually will lead to the automaker ending use of the supercharged engines it markets as Kompressor, the German word for supercharger.