Mercedes-Benz's V-12s Won't Be Dying Off Anytime Soon, Exec Says

The grand engine still has enough true believers to make it worth cranking 'em out. 

Mercedes-Benz

The best or nothing isn't just a tagline. In spite of ever-escalating regulations and ever-increasing power outputs from lesser engines, the mighty V-12 won't be leaving the Mercedes-Benz lineup anytime soon, Mercedes-Benz Cars divisional board member Ola Kallenius said

"The V-12 is around for the foreseeable future," Kallenius said to The Drive and other media outlets during a roundtable interview in Germany on Wednesday. "I don't see that going away quickly."

How come, you might ask—especially in an era when AMG's craftsmen have found ways to pull more than 600 horsepower from four measly liters of V-8? Well, as it turns out, there are a handful of very-well-off buyers for whom nothing less than a 12-cylinder engine beneath the hood will do.  Kallenius told the story of one esteemed AMG customer who refused to even take a ride in a vehicle powered by the company's latest V-8 engine. No, no, no, he said the customer replied—I only ride in V-12s. As it turned out, this loyal Benz buyer had no fewer than 35 different Mercedes V-12 vehicles in various colors from across the model spectrum. 

"It is a small clientele of connoisseurs that love V-12s," he added. "In some markets for some customers, that V-12 is still the ultimate, and that's what they want...so we will cater to that clientele with a very capable V-12 for the foreseeable future."

So long as that's the case, Kallenius said, Mercedes will find ways to make sure the V-12 engine—currently found beneath the hoods of the S-Class, S-Class Coupe and Cabriolet, SL-Class, and G-Class—still meets all appropriate governmental mandates. 

"Whatever the regulation is, we will meet the regulation," he said. "How long that segment has legs, I don't know, but we have no plans to give up on it."