V8 engines are somewhat special. These types of engines have a devoted cult following among car enthusiasts, mostly due to exceptional performance, and increased smoothness when compared to a 6 or 4-cylinder engine.
Most AMG flagship performance models are V8s, and some higher trim non-AMG models. But as the car industry keeps progressing, V8 engines are being downsized due to strict emission and efficiency regulations. Soon enough, engines like these will be gone, so we should enjoy them while we still can.
AMG is the performance-oriented department of Mercedes. AMG variants of mainstream models offer top of the line specs and performance, but they do cost a lot more compared to a regular non-AMG model.
These days, AMG uses a 4.0 BiTurbo engine for every V8-powered AMG model. Models such as the C63 AMG or the GLC 63 use a more downtuned version of this engine, offering around 510 horsepower.
Models like the E63 AMG or different variants of bigger Mercedes AMG SUVs or the AMG GT models offer up to 600-620 horsepower.
At this moment, the highest level of tune on this engine is offered in the GT 63 S 4-door coupe, with around 630 horsepower.
Mercedes also produced a heavily reworked version of this engine for the new Mercedes AMG GT Black Series, a track-ready monster offering 720 horsepower.
AMG V8s of the past, such as the 6.2-liter, naturally-aspired V8 was, still is, and will forever be one of the best performance engines ever to be produced. The legendary 6.2 went out of production in the mid-2010s with the SLS AMG Black Series offering the most powerful variant of this engine with 630 horsepower.
Not too long ago, Mercedes also used V8s in higher trim non-V8 versions. Cars with a 500 mark, such as the S500, E500, CLS 500 to name a few, were offered with V8s. These V8 engines were mostly there to ensure a smooth working engine with a lovely sound.
These engines were fairly thirsty, and Mercedes decided that there was no need for a non-AMG Mercedes to use a V8 engine as they managed to achieve comparable smoothness levels with their state-of-the-art 6-cylinder engines.
In the past couple of years, V8 engines have been dying, and Mercedes is only trying to use V8s in their most powerful and exciting AMG models. Moreover, today’s engines are using forced induction such as turbocharging or hybridization to achieve performance levels that could only be achieved with a V8 not too long ago.
The future of V8 engines
As mentioned previously, V8 engines are being replaced with smaller, more efficient powertrains. For example, the C63 was always exclusively V8, and the upcoming C63 will ditch the V8 in favor of a V6 for the first time in history.
It is expected that in the next couple of years Mercedes could stop producing V8 engines entirely. The same thing happened with V12 engines. V12 engines are the smoothest engines of all time. Not too long ago, a luxurious top-of-the-line S600 was unimaginable without a V12. These days, there are no V12 Mercedes cars anymore.
Automakers nowadays surely do manage to produce powerful and efficient engines. For example, the new A45 AMG makes a whopping 400 horsepower with a measly 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. But one thing is for certain, the V8 sound, feel and smoothness simply cannot be replicated with a smaller engine.
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Additional questions about powerful Mercedes engines
Are V8 engines better than V12 or V10 engines?
All three of these engines are impressive as far as performance or smoothness is concerned. V8 engines are known for offering great low-down torque, but they don’t rev as high as a V10 engine. A V10 engine offers a characteristic sound and is widely considered as one of the best sounding engine types ever.
A V12 engine is primarily used for huge luxury limos, such as Rolls Royce. V12 engines are incredibly smooth and well suited for luxury driving. But, V12 engines found in many Ferrari or Lamborghini models are the polar opposite of what a Rolls Royce V12 is.
These V12s sound like old F1 cars, and that’s the reason why the car community is mourning over the soon to be extinct V12 supercar.
Are electric cars better performing than a comparable V8?
These days, electric car enthusiasts rave about the ability of a new Tesla to reach 60mph from a standstill in less than 3 seconds. And this surely is impressive, and fast 0-60 times are somewhat of an electric engine specialty because electric engines produce maximum power as soon as you touch the accelerator.
But, that’s only half of the story. V8s and other traditional performance-oriented engines do not produce 100% of their power from low rpm regions, but after they reach a certain speed, they will keep on accelerating until topping out.
Electric engines, on the other hand, always have a lower top speed compared to a similarly powered combustion engine.
Is there a way of saving V8 engines from impending doom?
From the environmental perspective, the demise of V8 engines seems fairly logical, and an obvious step towards producing environmentally friendlier means of transportation. However, many people are trying to find how we can still enjoy a mighty V8 engine without the harmful effects.
One such way is CNG (compressed natural gas) conversion. This method is fairly common in large inefficient engines. CNG has a much lower carbon content compared to regular fossil fuels and is considered one of the cleanest liquid fuels on the market.
Many other ways are sure to be available soon, but it seems undeniable that the V8 is slowly coming to an end. Germans are widely adopting the cylinder deactivation system in which a V8 engine shuts down 4 of its cylinders, making it essentially a 4-cylinder engine for when V8 power is not necessary.
The future of the traditional combustion engine is grim and uncertain. The next couple of years are sure to produce many hybrids and EVs, and the infrastructure will follow soon as well. So, as of right now, we should enjoy V8, V10, V12 engines because in the not-too-distant future these engines will surely go extinct.