How long is this dying breed going to last before environmentalism takes over?
Flip through the pages of world history. Go through everything that has happened on the face of this big blue dot in the universe. Be a walking talking encyclopedia for that matter, but you won't be able to answer what I'm going to ask you. So, think hard before you retort - Can you give me one example of anything that comes to your mind that has been and will be on the face of the Earth forever?
I bet there is not one thing that occurs primarily. Time is a phenomenon that has the capability to make everything obsolete. Let alone materialistic stuff, you and me and humans in general are heading towards extinction. Yes that's a very far-fetched thought but it is happening and there's no denial. So where do you and I who consider ourselves car enthusiasts fit in?
There has been a lot of evolution in the automobile industry over the years. From Carl Benz making the world's first motorable car in 1886 to Tesla introducing semi - autonomous driving technology on its cars, we have come a really long way. During this evolution of the motor car, we have left behind certain things in favour of better ones to come. Inevitable as it can thought of. One such victim of this continuous process of evolution is the mighty V12 engine. For those who know their cars, they know why a V12 is considered the holy grail, the king of all other engines. Think of engines as animals and thy will be the Lion. Yes there might be bigger engines than a V12, they might be more powerful than it too but the V12 marked the commencing of an iconic era. An era which is seeing the last of its days.
With a heavy heart, let me tell you why.
The V12, which you can essentially think of as two straight six engines joined at the crankcase, is one of the smoothest engine configurations ever made. Straight six engines themselves act as the primary and secondary balance and having two banks of six cylinders in a V12, all the vibrations are cancelled out within the engine itself without using any additional balance shafts. This makes for an engine that gives you smooth silky power delivery over the entire rev range.
Another aspect of a V12 engine, perhaps its most loved characteristic is the symphony it makes.
YES, IT'S NO CRASS CACOPHONY, IT'S AN ACTUAL 'BEETHOVEN-Y' SYMPHONY
One has to hear it to believe it. Aural pleasure is key to a sports car and the V12 delivers, and boy in a fantastic manner! Legendary cars such as the
The Lamborghini Diablo
and the Ferrari F50
all have V12 as their choice of engine. There is a long raging debate over natural aspiration and forced induction and which one is better and you have to accept, nothing sounds as good as a naturally aspirated V12. Instant power delivery and razor sharp response makes for a sense of excitement.
Isn't that what thou want?
But as we see the dawn of the day, V12 engines are on the last leg of their glorious love affair with cars. Emission control rules and regulations and the hunger for more horsepower has pushed us towards smaller turbocharged engines which make the same (or even more) power much more efficiently while being smaller in displacement. They let out less pollutants and are comparatively frugal too. Very few manufacturers today have a naturally aspirated V12 in their product range. The Italians being one of the most stubborn in this area. Aston Martin too ditched their 6.0 Litre V12 in favour of a twin turbo one from AMG.
The AMG built twin turbo V12 in the new Aston Martin DB11
Today cars are more about capability. Not the driver's capability but the car's capability to go as fast as possible. Cars are engineered today to go around a track in the least amount of time. Dual clutch transmissions, rear wheel steering, turbos, magnetorheological engine mounts and infinite amount of electronic witchcraft have made it all possible. Take the Porsche 918 for example. It is a brilliant car and certainly one of the fastest around the track. But it is so advanced that it takes the driver out of the equation and does the driving part for you. A naturally aspirated V12 that makes as much power as say a Twin turbo V8 will ask you to rev its heart out rather than delivering it all low down. Screaming all the way to the rev limiter, the engine would feel alive under your feet. Also, you're going to have a hoot doing that, even if it is slower.
The times V12 lovers are going through right now are best explained by that one high school girlfriend you had. You know it's not going to last, but for the time it does, it will be stupendously fun making you grin from ear to ear!
Here's a smiling V12 for you!