Regulations are making it impossible to keep building V8s, even for sports car companies.
It's easy to fall victim to a negative state of mind after seeing news claiming that Mercedes-AMG and BMW M are looking towards electric powertrains to supplement horsepower production in their cars, but the truth of the matter is that batteries will be a saving grace for the large displacement engines we love, allowing automakers to continue to use the V8 in place of downsized and turbocharged power plants. Speaking to AMG boss Tobias Moers, Motoring found out that the Tri-Star will play the hybrid car to save its V8.
Already we saw the results of more stringent fuel economy standards when Mercedes began downsizing its large V8 engines and replacing them with 4.0-liter twin-turbo units, but even that engine, which lives under the hood of anything from the AMG GT R to the AMG C63, could face a pressure to get even smaller under new regulations set to go in place in Europe. Moers specifically referenced the AMG GT Concept as being one of the early Mercedes cars to call upon hybrid technology in order to keep its V8. Initially, a hybrid drivetrain won't be a necessity, but come 2020 when the EU will enact regulation requiring automakers to emit no more than 95 grams/kilometer across the brand, electric motors will be needed.
"At the first beginning when we bring [the GT concept] to the market, the electric engine is not first and foremost but beyond 2020, it will be an absolute need for us," Moers said. "You have more efficient cars, you have a range or electrified driving and you have more power." While this is the head of AMG making these claims, we can expect such changes to be enacted across the industry. Automakers have proven that the V8 is no longer a necessity thanks to the turbocharger, but for those that want it, it will have to come with some strings attached. Even so, don't expect larger V8 engines, like the 6.2-liter V8 from AMGs of old, to be revived due to hybridization.