Do 8, 12 or 16 cylinder engines have a future?

The programmed thermal tip is now recorded. But the bigger cars are likely to see their days as sooner than expected!

We all know Bentley, Bugatti, Aston Martin, McLaren, Lamborghini o Ferrari. All of these manufacturers have two things in common: they are luxury brands and everyone makes at least one V12 engine. Others still keep the Holy Grail, the famous W16. But the latter know very well that, due to the impending electrification of their ranks, all good things will come to an end. And it was a while ago the end of heat engines, scheduled for 2035.

Downsizing will kill the cylinders

Within a few years, the “downsizing” is a big trend among engineers accepting more stringent specifications. Anti-pollution standards, particularly in the Old Continent with the advent ofEuro7, make the development of thermal vehicles more complicated. Reducing the number of cylinders mechanically reduces both consumption and therefore emissions.

In fact, the smaller an engine is, the less it consumes in principle. The low number of cylinders results in less frictional loss and less fuel needs to be burned. Finally, a smaller engine is also lighter, reducing the mass to be moved. To compensate for the raw power loss, a turboa squeezer or even a electric motor can be used. Today, this practice is widespread and we see many manufacturers building 3 or 4 cylinders and leaving the larger 6 or 8 cylinder engines.

Inevitable loss of knowledge

The German media Automobilwoche recently interviewed Paolo Tumminello, automotive philosopher and professor of design at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences on the subject. “Big machines mark the end of an era. It’s true that electric motors are lighter and more efficient,” he said. “Combustion engines, on the other hand, are among the most beautiful constructions ever devised by man.”

In fact, we are right about the art of designing and assembling machines. The 3.8 liter V6 block of a Nissan GT-R example is built entirely by hand, by six master craftsmen, also known as “Meister Takumi”. The design professor added: “For our civilization, the removal of multiple cylinders, the true monument of the machine age and symbol of imaginative genius, is a tragic loss”.

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Hybridization to save large vehicles

The second-hand market works very well, and especially for models that, of course, have an engine with a large displacement. Ribs are rising, and that’s understandable. In an increasingly sanitized world with electric motors devoid of any beauty, second-hand models have seen their popularity rise over the years. Because the end of the thermal models also sounds the end of the fun sounds of the big engines. But maybe not immediately!

In fact, for people with the means, cars with V10 and even V12 blocks are still available for sale on the market. And for some brands, they even intend to make it last. In a condition, pass a hybrid module. The example of SF90 The Prancing Horse is the perfect example. Equipped with a V8 4.0 bi-turbo block of 780 hp, the latter is associated with a 220 hp electric motor.

At Lamborghini, boss Stephan Winkelmann also confirmed that the successor to the Aventador will be well equipped with a new version of the V12.

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