V12s and V8s aren’t dead, says Mercedes Benz

Mercedes-Benz confirms V12 power for next SL, but boss says that small engines are just as potent.

Mercedes-AMG SL65

Fans of big, growly petrol engines, breathe easy… Mercedes-Benz isn’t getting rid of them. Well, yet.

The company’s head of group research and development, Ola Källenius, has told reporters at the Consumer Electronic Show reveal of the CLA that the company will continue to produce big-capacity petrol engines for the interim, confirming that the V12 is set to make a comeback in the next generation of SL roadster.

While he didn’t specify, we can safely assume he’s talking about the 463kW 6.0-litre twin-turbo brute currently used under the bonnet of the Mercedes-AMG SL65.

“The V12, the next S-Class that's coming up soon, it will be there,” Källenius confirmed.

However, the former head of AMG was quick to point out that there are other performance options within the Mercedes portfolio at present, with more to come thanks to Formula One-style hybrid technology.

“Let's not talk cylinders so much,” he said. “I mean, V8 will be there for many years to come, and the V12 is still there as well. What the customer wants is a level of performance. If you buy an AMG, depending on which one you get, you're expecting a certain performance experience.

“How we deliver that performance experience I think is less and less relevant for the customer. We need to deliver performance experience. And that performance experience needs to be in the future less CO2. And we will find the best way to deliver that performance.”

Källenius also pointed to the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine in the A45 hatch – which may well exceed 300kW in its next iteration – as an example.

“AMG has most powerful four cylinder engine kilowatt-per-litre displacement in the world,” he said. “Combine it with, let's say, a Formula One-style power hybrid to go with that, which could blow you away both on and off the track, [like] what you do today with a V8.”

He also confirmed that Mercedes-AMG would pursue the hybrid powertrain path as it chases both performance and emissions compliance.

“AMG has said is that they are going to hybridise their portfolio, so that's out there,” Källenius said. “And that's not too far away when that starts, and of course the inspiration comes out of motor sports and the most extreme example is Project One.”


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