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Mercedes-AMG V8 to live on

Great eight: Mercedes-AMG’s 4.0-litre V8 is not yet threatened by alternative powertrains such as plug-in hybrids, says AMG’s engine expert.

Petrol V8 set to continue as an Mercedes-AMG mainstay for years to come

Mercedes-AMG logo3 Apr 2017

By RON HAMMERTON in ARIZONA

V8 FANS can rest easy: Mercedes-AMG has no plans to give its booming bent-eight engines the chop any time soon, according to AMG V8 program manager Bertram Tschamon.

When asked at the GT Roadster media launch in Arizona if AMG’s current 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 might be the last of its line, perhaps killed off by ever-stricter emissions restrictions or the drive for greater fuel economy, Mr Tschamon answered: “No, I don’t think so.” From that we can assume that AMG envisages a successor to the current V8 that went into production in 2015, initially for the GT Coupe and then across a range of other models, including the C63 and E63.

However, it is unclear when AMG might consider replacing this unit, as Mr Tschamon indicated it not only has plenty of life in it, but also that the AMG powertrain team could not think of many ways to improve on its basic design.

“We have discussed this,” he said. “But if we did a new one, we would basically make the same engine again. There’s no point in making a new engine if it looks basically the same when we finish it.

“But, maybe we will have a brilliant idea in five years’ time.” So far, AMG’s production V8 power has peaked at 450kW in the new E63 S, but GoAuto has been informed that the engine has reliably turned out 500kW in bench testing.

While several rival motor manufacturers such as Volvo have already axed large-capacity petrol engines or are planning to do so as the industry moves towards electrification or perhaps hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion, Mercedes is planning to continue internal combustion engine development in parallel with alternative powertrains.

Mr Tschamon threw cold water on the idea that Mercedes-AMG might switch to petrol-electric hybrids to generate high performance while cutting fuel consumption and emissions.

He said the main problem was the size of the battery needed to generate both high performance and reasonable all-electric driving range.

Instead, AMG will leave the electrified cars to its parent company Mercedes-Benz for now and keep working on its versions of the Benz modular petrol engine family that – using 500cc cylinders – will include 1.5-litre three cylinder, 2.0-litre four-cylinder, 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder and 4.0-litre V8.

The new straight six is set to make its debut in the facelifted S-Class due in Australia in the second half of this year.

As GoAuto has reported, a hot version pushing out up to 350kW of power is said to be in the development pipeline to replace the current V6 AMG engine used in the likes of C43, E43 and GLC43 (see separate story).

While the petrol engines from three cylinder to V8 seem assured at Mercedes for the foreseeable future, the big 6.0-litre V12 might not be so assured.

Like the 4.0-litre V8, the V12 is developed by AMG on behalf of Mercedes which employs it in the S-Class, including the S600 L and S65 AMG L.

Internationally, one of its prime uses is hauling the massive – and massively heavy – armoured Mercedes-Maybach S600 Pullman Guard, the limo of choice for many heads of state, captains of industry and Russian oligarchs.

The engine is also sold in its AMG form to Italian niche supercar-maker Pagani for its Huayra mid-engined sportscar.

V12 sales numbers are small, and while there is no plan to drop it anytime soon, the business case for a new version to meet the next-level European emissions challenges might be hard to make.

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