Mercedes-Benz's V12s Won't Be Dying Off Anytime Soon, Exec Says
The grand engine still has enough true believers to make it worth cranking 'em out.
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 V12 won't be leaving the Mercedes-Benz lineup anytime soon, Mercedes-Benz Cars divisional board member Ola Kallenius said.
"The V12 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 V8? 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 V8 engine. No, no, no, he said the customer replied—I only ride in V12s. As it turned out, this loyal Benz buyer had no fewer than 35 different Mercedes V12 vehicles in various colors from across the model spectrum.
"It is a small clientele of connoisseurs that love V12s," he added. "In some markets for some customers, that V12 is still the ultimate, and that's what they want...so we will cater to that clientele with a very capable V12 for the foreseeable future."
So long as that's the case, Kallenius said, Mercedes will find ways to make sure the V12 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."