In a world of rising gas prices, strict emissions standards, and a demand for better and better performance, automakers face often conflicting goals. Jaguar, which has built massive V12 engines in the past to power their coupes and luxury cars, is the first niche automaker to admit that it may one day ditch V8 (or larger) engines entirely
Jaguar’s marketing and product director Steven de Ploey told Australia’s Drive magazine that Jaguar “…is not wedded to V8s. CanJaguar exist without V8s? “The answer is yes, but is it our intention at this stage to eliminate the V8 from our engine pallete? Clearly not because we need it for our performance.”
Wow! Here’s a guy, and a company that gets it. V8 engines may have been the standard for performance in the 20th century, but the 21st century will be about hybrid and electric supercars. Jaguar has already utilized small turbines in its C-X75 Concept car, and was planning to use a high-output four-cylinder turbo engine before cancelling the project entirely. de Ploey estimates that such a drastic move is still at least a decade or more away, and he could also be mistaken. Innovations like Aston Martin’s hydrogen-powered Rapide S or plug-in hybrid drivetrains could still keep the V8 engine alive for a long time yet.
For now, V8 engines still deliver a power-to-cost ratio that is too good to ignore, but hybrids are fast becoming a premium performance option among luxury car buyers. And if there is anything luxury car buyers love, it’s “premium” anything.