The head of development at Mercedes-Benz says the Stuttgart-based brand’s V12 “will survive”, although he adds focusing on the number of cylinders in an engine is the “wrong perspective”.

Speaking to CarAdvice, Ola Källenius said most customers desire a certain “level of performance” rather than a specific number of cylinders.

“The V12 will survive,” Källenius told the Australian publication.

“What the customer wants is a level of performance. If you buy an AMG, depending on which one you get you, you’re expecting a certain performance experience … how we deliver that performance experience is less and less relevant for the customer.

“So, I can imagine high-power four-cylinder engines we already have now combined with a Formula One style power hybrid to go with that, which could blow you away both on and off the track,” he said.

Källenius also confirmed the brand’s eight-cylinder engine would be around for “many years”.

“Let's not talk cylinders so much – the V8 will be there for many years to come. We need to deliver a performance experience and that performance experience needs to be in the future with less CO2 and we will find the best way to deliver that.”

That way – for both standard models and hotter Mercedes-AMG derivatives – is, of course, hybridisation.