By Bennett Oghifo
The first performance hybrid from Mercedes-AMG is entering series production and draws on technologies from Formula 1. The concept includes a distinctive drive layout with electric motor and battery on the rear axle as well as a high-performance battery developed in-house. The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE (weighted, combined fuel consumption: 8.6 l/100 km; weighted, combined CO2 emissions: 196 g/km; weighted power consumption: 10.3 kWh/100 km) combines superior performance and impressive driving dynamics with maximum efficiency thanks to its special powertrain. The E PERFORMANCE model thus transfers the DNA of AMG Driving Performance into the electrified future. The combination of 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine and electric motor generates a system output of 620 kW (843 hp) and a maximum system torque of more than 1,400 Nm. The electric drive’s immediate response at the rear axle, rapid torque build-up and improved weight distribution make for a new, highly dynamic driving experience. As in Formula 1, the battery is specifically designed for fast power delivery and draw. The electric range of 12 kilometres allows a practical operating radius, for example in the city or in residential areas. Mercedes-AMG is breaking new ground in communication on electrification together with brand ambassador will.i.am: The world-famous musician and multiple Grammy Award winner is the protagonist of the marketing campaign “Everything but quiet”. He not only contributed to the concept, but also wrote an exclusive song for the release video.
“With the new Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE we are transporting our brand DNA into an electrified future. In doing so, we are following our own technical path, which is what has always made AMG so special and desirable. Developed entirely in Affalterbach, the performance hybrid offers a fascinating level of driving dynamics and rightly bears our new technology label E PERFORMANCE. With this new concept, we are also opening up to new target groups who will experience Mercedes-AMG as the performance luxury brand of the 21st century. Our departure into AMG-typical electrification is flanked by a large-scale campaign. And I am delighted that we have also been able to win over a special partner for this in the form of superstar will.i.am, who we have been able to inspire with our technology”, says Philipp Schiemer, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
“Mercedes-AMG has always stood for top performance and maximum driving dynamics. In developing our E PERFORMANCE hybrid strategy, it was therefore clear from the outset that we would pursue a stand-alone concept for AMG that combines our core brand values with high efficiency. It is now entering series production with the new Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE. The layout with the combustion engine at the front and Electric Drive Unit on the rear axle offers numerous advantages. The optimised weight distribution, best possible utilisation of torque and the very fast power delivery promise driving dynamics at the highest level. Added to this is the high-performance battery developed in-house, which has twice the power density of conventional drive batteries and, like many other components, is inspired by technology from Formula 1”, says Jochen Hermann, Technical General Manager of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
Expressive design with striking front apron
The expressive design with a low front section, muscular body, squat greenhouse and dynamic fastback highlights the sporty genes of the four-door coupé. Another striking feature is the characteristic front apron, which is based on the design of the two-door AMG GT. It appears to be cast from a single mould, and blends homogeneously into the dynamic design of the overall vehicle. The outer air intakes are wider and more pointed towards the centre of the car. The airflow is channelled to the wheel arch coolers by three vertical fins.
Exclusive identification features at the rear are the rear apron with integrated plug-in charging flap and the model designation highlighted in red. With the hybrid, AMG is also introducing externally fluted trapezoidal twin exhaust tailpipes. The “E PERFORMANCE” badge on the wings indicates the hybrid drive. As in the entire model series, numerous paint finishes and equipment features are available for the hybrid version. For example, there are four matt paint finishes, five metallic finishes and two non-metallic finishes to choose from.
In addition, there are seven new paint finishes from the extended customisation range. The exterior design can be further accentuated with the new AMG Night Package II or a combination of the Night Package and Carbon Package, for example. In addition, there are new 20 and 21-inch light-alloy wheels, each in two colour variants. The exclusive Edition is also available for the performance hybrid.
As the new flagship of the model series, the AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE is particularly extensively equipped. It has received all the upgrades of the latest model facelift, such as the AMG RIDE CONTROL+ suspension with new damping system. Also on board as standard are the adapted AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system and the MBUX multimedia system with special hybrid displays.
MBUX multimedia system with hybrid-specific displays
The standard Widescreen Cockpit features the MBUX multimedia system with AMG hybrid-specific displays and functions. In the instrument cluster, the driver can read the electric range, the power consumption, the output and torque of the electric motor and the temperatures of the battery and electric motor. High-quality graphics on the multimedia display visualise the power flow of the entire drive system, rpm, output, torque and temperature of the electric motor, as well as the temperature of the battery.
The rear-seat passengers receive information on the energy flow as well as the power and torque of the electric motor on their optional multimedia display.
AMG Performance steering wheel in a twin-spoke design
The standard AMG Performance steering wheel with its distinctive twin-spoke design and seamlessly integrated control buttons also offers tangible and visible added value. The three rounded twin spokes combine strength with lightness. The round AMG steering wheel buttons impress with brilliant displays and their perfect turn-and-press operating logic. This allows important driving functions and all driving modes to be controlled without having to take one’s hands off the steering wheel. As a new feature, it is possible to select the regeneration levels of the hybrid drive via the steering wheel buttons.
Many individual choices are available in the interior. Exclusive colours emphasise either the sporty or luxurious side of the new flagship model – for example the combination of Exclusive nappa leather in titanium grey pearl/black with contrasting topstitching in yellow or fine Exclusive nappa leather in truffle brown/black in the STYLE trim (diamond stitching). In addition there is a choice of five further colours in Exclusive nappa STYLE leather: sienna brown, classic red, yacht blue, deep white and neva grey. The seats in the front and rear are completely single-tone in the chosen interior colour, as are the armrests in the doors, the leather edging of the floor mats and the steering wheel rim.
The details of the AMG-specific Performance hybrid drive: combustion engine in the front, electric motor in the rear
In the AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE, the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine is combined with a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, a high-performance battery developed in Affalterbach and the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. The combination of the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine and electric motor generates a system output of 620 kW (843 hp) and a maximum system torque of more than 1,400 Nm. The driving performance of the most powerful series-production vehicle from Affalterbach to date is correspondingly impressive: acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h takes just 2.9 seconds, and 200 km/h is reached in less than ten seconds. Acceleration only ends at 316 km/h.
The 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor is positioned at the rear axle, where it is integrated with an electrically shifted two-speed gearbox and the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential in a compact electric drive unit (EDU). Experts refer to this layout as a P3 hybrid. The lightweight high-performance battery is also located in the rear above the rear axle. This compact design has numerous advantages:
The electric motor acts directly on the rear axle and can therefore convert its power more directly into propulsion – for that extra boost when moving off, accelerating or overtaking.
The power of the electric motor can inherently be applied at full torque, therefore particularly agile starting is possible.
In addition, the driver immediately experiences a noticeable performance increase thanks to the integrated, electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential: The hybrid model is even more agile when accelerating out of bends, and provides more traction and therefore more driving safety.
As slip at the rear axle increases, the drive power of the electric motor is also transferred to the front wheels as required for more traction. The mechanical connection of the fully variable all-wheel drive makes this possible by means of a propshaft and the drive shafts of the front wheels.
The positioning on the rear axle improves the weight as well as the axle load distribution in the vehicle and thus forms the basis for the convincing handling.
The AMG concept offers very high regeneration efficiency, as the system allows only minimal mechanical and hydraulic losses from the engine and transmission.
The automated two-speed transmission at the rear axle with its specially calibrated gear ratio ensures the spread from high wheel torque for agile starting to safe continuous output at higher speeds. An electric actuator engages second gear at around 140 km/h at the latest, which corresponds to the electric motor’s maximum speed of around 13,500 rpm.
With the increase in performance due to the additional electric motor, the development team was also able to improve the efficiency of the entire vehicle in parallel – and achieve lower emissions as well as lower consumption.
Inspired by Formula 1, developed in Affalterbach: the AMG high-performance battery
When defining the electrification strategy, it was clear from the outset that all essential components would be developed in Affalterbach. At the heart of this is the AMG high-performance battery (HPB). Development of this lithium-ion battery was inspired by technologies that have already proven themselves under the toughest conditions in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team’s Formula 1 hybrid racing cars. In the course of development, there was a lively exchange of expert knowledge between the High Performance Powertrains (HPP) Formula 1 engine shop in Brixworth and Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach. The AMG high-performance battery combines high power that can be called up frequently in succession with low weight to increase the overall performance of the vehicle. Added to this are the fast energy draw and the high power density. This means that during a brisk drive in hilly terrain, for example, drivers can immediately call on the full power potential on uphill stretches, while regeneration is strong when driving downhill.
By Bennett Oghifo