It is no secret that the world over, automakers are being forced to build cleaner, greener, more fuel-efficient cars. This has happened before, and many people still carry memories of the performance-killing emissions equipment that almost killed the American muscle car. But this isn’t 1975, and automakers have figured out how to make fuel-efficient cars without sacrificing performance.

Ford’s plan is to add smaller turbocharged engines to its lineup. It’s smallest engine ever is a 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder EcoBoost that, when dropped in the European Focus, gets up to 49 MPG. But as Motor Authority reports, Ford could be working on a performance version of the 3-banger that makes up to 177 horsepower.

That would be pretty amazing, getting 177 horsepower out of 1.0 liter of displacement. Kind of takes that whole “no replacement for displacement” theory and turns it on its head, doesn’t it? At 177 horsepower, it would be more powerful than the original Mustang SVO’s 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine.

In base form, the 1.0 liter EcoBoost is slated to make between 98 and 123 horsepower. But Ford could deliver a more powerful version of this motor for the American Focus or (more likely) the Fiesta to bride the gap between the base cars with its 140 horsepower, and the sure-to-be-expensive Focus ST with 247 horsepower. Of course, that’s if they decide to forgo the 1.6 liter EcoBoost that will first be offered in the 2013 Fusion when it goes on sale this fall.

177 horsepower from a 1.0 liter engine. Only Ford could make that happen…and we hope they do.