Mercedes’ AMG performance subbrand is tiptoeing toward an electric future with its first plug-in hybrid.
The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance combines a 4.0-liter V-8 biturbo engine with an electric motor and high-performance battery. The 831-hp (843 PS) hybrid powertrain delivers a 0-to-100 kph (62 mph) sprint in 2.9 seconds, and it can hit 200 kph in less than 10 seconds.
Mercedes-Benz is taking a dual-pronged strategy to electrify the performance subbrand — with plug-in hybrids and all-electric models — as the luxury automaker targets lower emissions.
Parent company Daimler expects full-electric and hybrid vehicles to make up 50 percent of global sales in 2025 — earlier than its previous forecast of 2030. Daimler said it plans to invest more than 40 billion euros ($47 billion) between 2022 and 2030 to develop full-electric vehicles and be ready for an all-electric vehicle market by the end of that period.
The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance has its public outing at the IAA Munich auto show on Sept 6.
The coupe-styled, four-door car is capable of 12 km (7 miles) of zero-emission driving on a full charge.
The model’s hybrid powertrain is derived from the power pack in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One race car.
A 201-hp (204-PS) electric motor, packaged with the 6.1-kilowatt-hour battery, is located above the rear axle to improve weight distribution and vehicle handling, Mercedes said. The motor acts directly on the rear axle, delivering extra power when launching from a standstill, accelerating or overtaking.
The electric motor is integrated with an electrically shifted two-speed gearbox and the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential.
The battery features a new thermal management system designed to ensure even heat distribution in the battery — critical to the power pack’s performance and longevity.
AMG engineers developed new modules that are only millimeters thin to individually cool 560 lithium ion cells in the battery. About 15 liters of coolant circulate from top to bottom through the battery past each cell with the help of a specially developed electric pump.
The thermal management system ensures the battery operates at a consistent temperature averaging 113 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of how often it is charged or discharged. That allows the sports car to pull off successive fast laps in hybrid mode on the racetrack.
Direct cooling also makes it possible to use high power-density cells, reducing overall battery weight and size.
The hybrid AMG sports a low front section, short greenhouse and muscular design that reflects its sporty DNA.
The front bumper, based on the design of the two-door AMG GT, appears to be cast from a single mold. The outer air intakes are wider and more pointed toward the center of the car. The airflow is channeled into the wheel arch coolers through three vertical fins.
The rear bumper sports a plug-in charging port and fluted trapezoidal twin exhaust tailpipes — a visual clue of the model’s hybrid powertrain.