The V12 engine is an amazing piece of engineering. Making 12 cylinders work together in harmony is no easy feat, and making it run reliably is another thing. But if you wanted to make loads of power in the past, you needed to go for the V12. More cylinders simply meant more power back then.
But times have changed, and there are more efficient way to extract power out compact engines. You have more reliable turbochargers and electric assistance from hybrid drive systems these days. These advances in technology has made the V12 fall out of fashion. Besides, they're expensive to build and develop, and they're typically reserved for exotica and ultra-luxury cars.
However, one automaker not shying away from them is Mercedes-Benz. Daimler chairman Ola Källenius has confirmed that they won't be giving up on V12s, and there's a new model coming soon that will be fitted with one. Care to guess what it will be?
If you can't be bothered to guess it, a new (or heavily reworked) V12 will nestle its way under the hood of the next-generation S-Class. With that, it seems like Mercedes-Benz has found a way to make the big engine more efficient and cleaner than ever. Källenius didn't mention any details surrounding the engine, but it is possible that it's now packing mild hybrid tech to reduce emissions. Mercedes-Benz currently makes several mild hybrids, which is seen in specific variants of C-Class, E-Class, S-Class, and even their crossovers such as the GLE and GLS.
It won't be used in AMG models though, as Mercedes-Benz's in-house tuning arm will no longer be hand-building them. They'll be sending off the V12 in the form of the S65 Final Edition. Instead, the new V12 will likely be seen in the upcoming S600 (if the range-topper will still be called S600) and the next-generation Mercedes-Maybach S650. We might even see it in the future S-Class coupe if Mercedes-Benz decides to continue that line.
What about the Mercedes-Maybach GLS? Unfortunately, Källenius said that it was engineered with a V8 in mind and will never have that option. It would have been nice though, as a V12 GLS would make it a true rival against the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Bentley Bentayga.
Source: GT Spirit