The only formula that works for luxury sedan cars is “bigger means better”. The vehicles’ ample size offers the most comfort to passengers; their heavy mass makes these cars almost unsusceptible to side winds, while big engines provide powerful acceleration and a constant supply of traction.
However, according to a recent trend, powerful 12-cylinder engines are likely to become as rare as handmade shoes. Due to more stringent environmental standards, these cars are expensive to adapt and get certified; this is why sedan manufacturers are pulling the plug on the 12-cylinder engines.
BMW announced that the company was planning to pull the V12 engine of the M760Li xDrive model out of production. Audi revealed that the W12 engine found in the A8 will be replaced next generation, and Mercedes will stop selling V12 cars, and focus on a hybrid V8 instead.
How do buyers feel about these changes? One thing is clear – affluent car enthusiasts still prefer a 12-cylinder engine under the hood.
“Although the automobile industry is moving away from V/W12 engines, people who spend a lot of money always want the best of everything. This is why these buyers are opting for the V12,” says Konstantin Hollmann, founder, and CEO of Hollmann International. Hollmann International has been a seller of premium class cars including the Maybach, Rolls-Royce and Mercedes S-Class for many years. “V/W12 is and will stay absolutely unique and it is a great technical and engineering solution. People value that. The V/W 12 will stay legendary and many cars will hopefully become a classic and keep their value”, adds Mr. Hollmann.
Given the trend, why not include in your 2019 plans purchase of a classic executive sedan with a smooth run and good old 12-cylinder engine? We’ve compiled a list of the top five vehicles in this class.
Revived in 2003, the Rolls-Royce Phantom has retained the monumental appearance of the previous models, unparalleled comfort as well as a hallmark 6 ¾-liter engine. Only the engine has undergone some changes: the V8 has been replaced with a V12 engine producing 454 bhp, which is the stuff of legend. According to a popular Rolls-Royce test, you can put a coin on top of the engine, and the coin will not fall over.
The Phantom VIII debuted in 2017 and became even more powerful with the twin-turbo V12. So it comes as no surprise that it has earned BBC Top Gear Magazine’s ‘Luxury car of the year’ award in 2017.
The S-Class favored by those who like the restrained German style, maximum reliability, and the most up-to-date technologies. It was an S-Class model that almost 50 years ago became the world’s first ABS car equipped with airbags. It remains the most technologically advanced limousine to this day.
The V12 engine is supplied with the S600, S650 and AMG S65, including Pullman and Maybach. It is likely, however, that the next generation of S-Class cars will not feature the 12-cylinder engine due to tougher emission standards.
Bentley Continental Flying Spur
If Mercedes is creating a coupe based on S-Class sedans, Bentley is doing the opposite by creating sedans based on a coupe. The result, however, is no less impressive – there are very few limousines in the world that can accelerate to 186 mph as effortlessly as the Flying Spur. Unlike the majority of 12-cylinder limos, the Bentley Flying Spur – as well as other luxury sedans produced by Volkswagen – has a twin-turbo W12 engine. It makes the motor more compact and square-shaped, which has a positive impact on weight distribution – very important for a driver-centric car.
Just like the Rolls-Royce Phantom, Maybach came back to life in the early 2000s but its excessive similarity to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class (W220) has adversely affected the sales of the 57 and 62 models.
There is a resurgence of interest in the Maybach 57 and Maybach 62 limousines. Comfort? Status? These cars have them in abundance. Where else can you find a separate dashboard for rear seat passengers? New models come with the V6, V8, and V12 engines, the latter being a particular favorite among wealthy buyers, car dealers say.
Aston Martin Lagonda
Aston Martin Lagonda is probably the second most significant vehicle produced by the British car manufacturer – following close behind James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5. Having debuted in the 1970s, the sedan was equipped with the most progressive onboard electronics of its time. Created in collaboration with military and space specialists, the Aston Martin Lagonda became the industry’s first to include touch buttons and a digital dashboard. The V12 engine also lent the sedan its exclusive status. The multi-million-pound project never paid off but it has secured Aston Martin the status of an innovative company. Between 2015 and 2016 Aston Martin released a limited run of 200 Lagonda Taraf cars, the Lagonda fit for the 21st century. And although the sedan was not updated with revolutionary electronics, its mesmerizing look, luxurious salon, limited edition status and a high-performance V12 make it a dream vehicle for any car enthusiast.