A few weeks ago, Mercedes USA dropped an eight-cylinder bombshell. Daimler’s Stateside arm announced that it had ditched the vast majority of its 2022 model year V8s, leaving the S580 and S580 Maybach as the only 4.0-litre options left.
At the time, the company said it had “prioritized its focus to comply with various global, external and internal requirements, as well as several other factors”. The only issue directly mentioned was “challenges in the supply chain”. However, when Road & Track asked Mercedes-AMG boss Philipp Schiemer for more details, he pinned the blame on a problem we’re hearing about for the first time - quality.
“We are updating our vehicles every year, and we are not satisfied with the quality,” Schiemer said, adding, “So we have to do some retesting and this is the process we are in at the moment. So it depends from model to model”. It also, he says, differs “from country to country.”
Schiemer refused to describe what this quality issue is. It’s a perplexing situation to have this unknown problem afflict some markets and not others, and for customer Aston Martin - which uses the V8s in much of its line up - to be entirely unaffected. The ambiguity from Mercedes is odd, too.
Road & Track speculates it may all be down to a compliance snafu, and the publication says it’s awaiting clarification on the matter from Mercedes.
Whatever the cause of this temporary V8 drought, it’s a shame to see so many models drop from the line-up. With the C63 switching to hybrid inline-four power and other AMG models likely to follow, a lot of these big-engined heroes have a sell-by date. In bigger models, at least, the ‘M177’ might live on longer than expected, thanks in large part to electrification. In a separate interview with R&T, AMG CTO Jochen Hermann reckoned that the twin-turbo engine will be good to go for another 10 years.