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MOTORING: AMG to ditch V12 engines

Kampala, Uganda | MOTORING GURU | Say it isn’t so! Mercedes-AMG expected to adopt hybrid turbo V8 as its flagship engine

As the march of technology continues and emissions regulations begin to bite, automotive juggernauts will fall by the wayside. Case in point, the Mercedes-AMG M279 engine, known outside Benz nerd circles as the biturbo 6.0-litre V12.

Capable of generating an immense output of 463kW at 5400rpm and 1000Nm 2300rpm while retaining a creamy-smooth power delivery, the V12 engine is reserved for top-shelf AMG models such as versions of the S-Class coupe and sedan and the G-Class SUV.

However, in an interview with U.S. publication `Car and Driver’, Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers effectively confirmed that the big turbo V12 will be axed.

“Eventually, the 12-cylinder engine will be phased out at AMG,” Tobias revealed.

He said that Mercedes-Benz high-performance division would instead “follow another path”.

The new direction of travel for Mercedes-AMG is towards an electrified powertrain. Mercedes-AMG has already confirmed it is readying a petrol-electric hybrid version of its smaller but newer twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 that powers its AMG 63 models today.

This will spell the end of the 463kW SL65 and S65 AMG models, although these will at least stick around until the end of their current life cycles, the U.S. publication reported. At this stage there is no word on whether there will be a new-generation G65 AMG as a last-hurrah for 12-cylinder AMGs, although this report certainly makes that seem less likely.

Although he didn’t elaborate on what this path will entail, the logical assumption is that some of the 4-litre twin-turbo V8 models will be paired with an ‘EQ Boost’ hybrid system, similar to that featured in the new straight-six ‘53’ AMG models

Mooted 12 months ago at the 2017 Geneva motor show, AMG’s new hybrid V8 will pump out around 600kW, significantly more than the V12’s 463kW.

The naming convention for the ludicrously powerful AMG hybrid engine could be 73, given that AMG recently trademarked S 73, GLS 73 and G 73 in Europe.

At the time, the German hot haus insisted the hybrid V8 motor will propel the new Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupe to 100km/h in less than three seconds.

Currently the highest state of tune for that car is in the GT 63 S model, which bangs out 470kW/900Nm and is good for an stomach-churning 3.2sec sprint to 100km/h.

The AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe already has a mild hybrid (48-volt) system, a 3.0-litre inline six-cylinder turbo worth 320kW and 520Nm, and it’s only a matter of time before we see a flagship hybrid version of the V8.

The AMG GT 53 4-Door Coupe runs a mild hybrid powertrain to boost power and reduce emissions

Moers recently told journalists that “…in the performance segment I think that hybridisation and electrification is going to be the key,” which will sound the death knell for the V12 in the AMG line-up.

But the V12 won’t be completely binned, not just yet.

The colossal V12 is built on the AMG assembly line and is expected to continue to power some Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-Maybach models. Some customers won’t accept anything less than 12-cylinders.

Moers said “We will continue to build the engine for other sub-brands,” which is in line with comments made by his Mercedes-Benz colleague Ola Kallenius in 2016.

Mercedes-Benz’ research and development kingpin, Kallenius stated that the V12 won’t die – not completely.

He reckons that certain rusted-on customers only buy the top-end models because of the colossal V12 engine.

“The V12 is a segment for connoisseurs, it’s a small and exclusive segment and we will continue to offer that,” said Kallenius.

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