Mercedes announced its intention to go all-electric by the end of the decade in July 2021. However, that statement was accompanied by a large asterisk at the end, indicating that it would occur only where “market conditions permit.” It means that, even if the ICE is phased out in some regions, the German luxury brand will almost certainly continue to sell gasoline-powered vehicles in the majority of the world.
Those will not necessarily be small engines, as Mercedes is determined to keep the V8 alive until 2030, if not beyond. Joerg Bartels, the automaker’s VP for vehicle development, told Australian magazine CarSales that the eight-cylinder engine is here to stay. He explained that it all boils down to stricter emissions regulations. If the Stuttgart-based company can make it work while meeting CO2 fleet average targets, it has no plans to retire either the V8 or the smaller inline-six.
“Finally, it must fulfill our overall CO2 strategy, for which we have a clear path: CO2 neutrality by the end of the 1930s, by 2039. And by 2030, we want to be entirely electric. But why should we stop if there is still a customer demand [for gasoline V8s] in some regions and it is still part of our offering?”
Mercedes is well aware that improving ICEs to meet tougher regulations, particularly Euro 7, will be difficult, but it recognizes that some customers will still want to buy cars with six and eight cylinders. Bartels is confident the engineers can make just about every engine comply with tougher legislation, but that comes along with high costs some customers won’t be willing to pay.
Bartels admitted that it will be difficult to justify high development costs for ICEs once Euro 7 goes into effect in the middle of the decade, but that day has not yet arrived. Meanwhile, the V8 engine is available in a variety of models and will be used in future products, including the second-generation AMG GT.
The AMG C63, on the other hand, will ditch the V8 in favor of a four-cylinder, and the next E63 is expected to do the same. Mercedes, on the other hand, will gladly sell you the Maybach S-Class in S680 trim with a mighty V12, one of the last twelve-cylinder new cars money can buy.