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Mercedes sticks with V8 power

V8 M8: With reduced emissions, better fuel economy and strong Australian demand, V8-powered Mercedes models such as the C63 AMG have a bright future.

Benz V8 engines safe for now, thanks in part to Australian demand for Mercedes

Mercedes-Benz logo8 Apr 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER in NEW YORK

MERCEDES-BENZ says Australia's strong demand for high-powered AMG vehicles influenced the company's decision to use – and continue to use – V8 engines.

While some car-makers are shying away from large-capacity engines with their higher emissions, power-hungry nations such as Australia justify powertrains like the German brand's 4.0-litre and 5.5-litre turbocharged eight cylinder, says Mercedes.

While the company's naturally aspirated V8s are all but extinct, its more efficient and cleaner next-generation forced-induction eight cylinders are in high demand.

Speaking at the launch of the new V8-powered GLE AMG in New York, Mercedes-AMG board of management chairman Tobias Moers said Australia's demand for performance was partly to thank for its eight-cylinder models.

“One reason for C63 is with a V8 is Australia,” he said. “We have always to take into consideration the different markets and approaches and the different interests of the customers.

“Our shares within Australian Mercedes-Benz volume are very high, so we have to take into consideration the demand out of that market as well.”

Mr Moers said the hand-built AMG V8 would find its way into more models in various states of tune, securing the future of Mercedes V8s thanks partly to continuing demand from Australia.

“So far we think yes,” he said. “Having it in the GT and the C63, the 4.0-litre will for sure. It's base-line for the next-generation E-Class and whatever.”

The latest model to use an AMG V8 is the freshly launched GLE AMG SUV, which uses a pumped up 5.5-litre V8.

Mr Moers predicts the ML-Class replacement will perform well in Australia.

“ML was really successful in Australia what I expect is the same,” he said.

“We have nice shares with AMG within the Mercedes-Benz platform so we are happy with Australia.”

The new GLE and its BMW X6-hunting Coupe cousin are expected to touch down in Australia during the third quarter of this year, while smaller 4.0-litre V8-powered AMG GT sportscar and C63 sedan and wagons arrive in the middle of the year.

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