Development chief confirms big engines will continue for at least another generation, with hybridisation a likely addition.

Despite stating at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that the ‘future is definitely electric’, Mercedes-Benz has also confirmed that its V12 and V8 engines, which are used in ‘600’, ‘650’ or ‘AMG 65’ (plus by Pagani) and ‘500’, ‘550’ or ‘AMG 63’ models respectively, will survive for another generation.

Speaking to CarAdvice at CES today, member of the board and head of group R&D at Mercedes-Benz, Ola Kallenius confirmed that V12 and V8s will continue for now, but the future of performance is not cylinder dependent.

“The V12 will survive,” Kallenius said, before pointing out that thinking of cylinder counts as a performance barometer is the ‘wrong perspective’.

“What the customer wants is a level of performance. If you buy an AMG, depending on which one you get you, you’re expecting a certain performance experience, how we deliver that performance experience is less and less relevant for the customer.”

According to Kallenius, an AMG customer is more focused on the performance figures and how the car behaves on a race track rather than how many cylinders it has.

Above: Mercedes-AMG One (formerly Project One)

“So, I can imagine high power four-cylinder engines we already have now combined with a Formula One style power hybrid to go with that, which could blow you away both on and off the track,” he continued.

“Let's not talk cylinders so much - the V8 will be there for many years to come. [But] we need to deliver a performance experience and that performance experience needs to be in the future with less CO2 and we will find the best way to deliver that.”

Kallenius also confirmed that Mercedes-AMG models will be going hybrid, to not only meet stricter and upcoming CO2 requirements but also to keep up with the performance demands on the market, which takes its inspiration from motorsport. Pointing out the Mercedes-AMG One, which is basically a Formula One powertrain in a purchasable vehicle.

What we suspect is that Mercedes-AMG will use the V8 powertrain with a hybrid system to deliver even more power and torque, following on from supercars expected from brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini in the near future. Whether it will keep its V12 as is, remains to be seen, but it would seem unlikely that much further investment will go into the current V12 engine.