Mercedes says V12 and diesel engines will live on
Mercedes-Benz will continue to offer large-capacity petrol engines and diesel motors even though it admits the future will be dictated by electric vehicles.
Speaking to Australian media at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where the German brand revealed its second-generation CLA four-door coupe, Mercedes-Benz board member in charge of research and development, Ola Kallanius, said ongoing customer demand for V12 engines in flagship limousines like the S-Class will ensure its longevity while cleaner, more efficient diesel motors will continue to be relevant for years to come - particularly in Europe.
"The V12 will survive," he said, later adding that "I don’t want to make any statements on forward technology, but the next S-Class is coming up soon and it will be there."
However, he conceded that rapid advances in battery technology and electric motors could eventually substitute for large-capacity engines, which have traditionally been bought by wealthy yet conservative traditionalists for their blend of refinement and power.
"What the customer wants is a level of performance and how we deliver that performance experience is less and less prevelant to the customer, so I can image high-powered four-cylinder engines that we already have at the moment combined with F1-style power hybrid which could blow you away with what a V8 could do today," he said.
"Let’s not talk cylinders, as we need to deliver a performance experience and that has to, in the future, deliver less CO2."
On the diesel front, Kallanius said Mercedes-Benz has already committed to significantly reduce harmful nitrous oxide emissions and will be the first car maker to meet stricter Euro 6D regulations ahead of its introduction.
"We have launched a completely new generation of diesel engines, and we have the widest offering of Euro6 engines in the market so the NOX discussion we have had is technically solved," he said.
"We are combining that with plug-in hybrids, and both of those take away from some of the emotional discussions we have been having recently. And I believe this year we will be the first to introduce an engine that complies with the Euro6D, so that takes it to a new level.
"A plug-in hybrid is ideal for someone that lives and drives mostly in the city, but if you drive a lot of miles, especially in Germany at high speeds on the Autobahns, diesel is unbeatable."
As Editor in Chief of the Drive Network, Amac is one of Australia's most experienced automotive journalists with more than 25 years experience in newspapers, magazines, broadcasting and digital media.