Those are the words of Antony Sheriff, managing director of McLaren, who spoke to a Dutch publication regarding the future of its supercars. The new Mclaren MP4-12C, with its compact, turbocharged V8, is an impressive machine, but Sheriff may be exaggerating the demise of exotic, multi-cylindered engines.
In a sense, Sheriff is right; the glory days of the V12 are over. There will likely never again be an era where a V12 is casually stuck under the hood of, say, a Jaguar XJ. If anything, we are in a period of downsizing where something with half the number of cylinders is the more likely option.
That’s not to say that the V12 will go the way of the straight-8 or other obscure, exotic engines; it’s far too entrenched in the landscape of the automotive world to ever fade away. Can you really imagine something like a Pagani or a front-engined Ferrari without a V12?
In the 1970’s, the “quartz revolution” came and nearly wiped out mechanical watches. These little circuit-board time pieces were cheaper, more accurate, never needed cleaning or servicing. In every objective sense, they were superior. A mechanical movement was thought to be an arcane bit of craftsmanship destined for the dustbin of human achievement. Yet they endured, carrying on slowly, to the point where a few decades later, a fairly small but dedicated market is thriving for them, in high-end timepieces that most people give zero consideration to, whether they cost $100 or $100,000.
I think this is what will ultimately happen to the V10s, V12s and perhaps, even V8s. Most people will have no use for them. They will be regarded as symbols of profligacy and frivolity. But they will endure and be cherished by a select few.
It’s either that or a hologram…