Mercedes to Phase Out V-12
Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers tells Automotive News that the smart money is moving onto hybrid V-8s.
Obituaries are tricky things. They have to blend the dichotomy of life and death into a cohesive retrospective that both mourns and celebrates. On top of that, they don’t tend to put smiles on readers’ faces. Unfortunately, that’s what we have here today. Welcome to the obituaries.
According to Automotive News, there’s been (or at least soon to be) a death in the family: the Mercedes V-12. Once Mercedes completes its phasing-out of the AMG 65 line, which they’re currently in the process of doing, a Merc with a dozen cylinders will be relegated to the likes of secondhand lots and old issues of Road & Track.
The reason? Business, of course. While Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers admits that there’s still a demand for V-12-powered Autobahn bombers, he believes continued investment comes at too great a price and that the company’s money would be better invested in “electrified V-8 vehicles.” In other words, the smart money is moving onto hybrid V-8s. Though it does appear, for the time being at least, they will continue offering V-12s through their Maybachs brand.
While this news may go widely unnoticed by the world at large, it’s a tough loss for the car community. The company’s current M279 V-12 has been around, in some form or another, since 2003. The thing is old enough to drive itself (with an adult present), and over that entire time it remained true to what it always was: marvelously ludicrous. It powered ludicrous things like the Piganis and CL 65 AMGs. It did this not by simply moving them forward but by virtually pulling the earth in the opposite direction thanks to its 738 lb-ft of torque (in AMG 65 variety). That was unheard of in a road car before the wonderful loons at Mercedes-AMG got bored and decided to make it a reality. Getting behind the wheel of anything with that much torque required a Class A license and a couple East Coast turnarounds before Mercedes liberated torque figures for the common(ish) man. What’s even more impressive is that it had to be electronically capped at 738 because nothing short of a drivetrain made out of Thor’s hammer could handle it.
With its life coming to a close, let us choose not to mourn the passing of the great and wonderfully insane engine that is the Mercedes V-12, but celebrate its glorious, tire-obliterating life. It had enough torque to jump-start a dead solar system and a power band like butter.
Goodnight, sweet prince.