New Mercedes-AMG E Performance sub-brand to electrify twin-turbo V-8 and turbo-4 models

Mercedes-AMG models will eventually be battery electric vehicles, but in the near term the German luxury brand is launching plug-in hybrid Mercedes-AMG E Performance models with turbo-4 and twin-turbo V-8 power aided by electric motors and some Formula One technology.

The first car to arrive as an AMG E Performance model is the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe due later this year. Previously speculated to be called the AMG 73, the so-far-unnamed big fastback will make more than 800 hp thanks to the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 and a rear-mounted electric motor that adds 94 hp on a constant basis and up to 201 hp (plus 236 lb-ft of torque) when called upon.

The motor will sit on the rear axle, along with an electronic limited-slip differential and a 2-speed transmission. The transmission is necessary because the motor only spins up to 13,500 rpm and second gear will allow it to add more power at speeds above 87 mph.

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

A 6.1-kwh battery pack will also reside in the rear. Adapted from the power units used in Mercedes-AMG’s Formula One racing program, it is made of 560 cylindrical battery cells that are each surrounded by a liquid cooling system to keep battery temperature at 113 degrees Fahrenheit during operation. The 400-volt battery will take a full charge from a Level 2 240-volt charger in about two hours through its 3.7-kw on-board charger, but it won’t have Level 3 charging capability. Mercedes says it has twice the power density of other lithium-ion hybrid batteries, it can discharge and accept a charge quickly, and it weighs 196 lbs.

The motor will allow for all-electric driving up to 81 mph in an Electric mode, but Mercedes is not quoting an electric driving range. Instead, company spokespeople said the point of the system is to improve power and efficiency, though fuel economy ratings are not yet available. Full electric boost will be available in S, S+, and Race modes, and an Efficiency mode will make it act like any other hybrid system. Mercedes will also allow drivers to choose the electric motor resistance in four levels, with anything from a sailing mode to one-pedal driving, and will incorporate its AMG Dynamics stability control system with settings ranging from Basic to Master.

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Mercedes-AMG said the electric motor send its power to the front wheels through the 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system when the rear tires slip.

This rear-mounted EV system will be paired with the brand’s familiar twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 in the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe and other cars to come, as well as the 9-speed MCT Speedshift automatic transmission used in many V-8-powered AMG models. Mercedes-AMG promises total output of at least 804 hp, which should unlock a 0-60-mph time of less than 3.0 seconds.

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

The Mercedes-AMG E Performance lineup will also include 4-cylinder cars. While Mercedes wouldn’t confirm it, the first out of the chute should be the replacement for the C63, which is due next year. It will use the same rear-mounted plug-in hybrid system, this time working with the M139 2.0-liter turbo-4 that powers the current CLA 45 and A 45 models. In those applications, the engine is mounted transversely, but it will use a longitudinal layout in its E Performance application. Those cars make 382 hp, but the E Performance models will increase output to 442 hp thanks to an electric turbocharger located between the turbine and compressor. Also set to appear in the Mercedes-AMG Project One, this electric turbo has the agility of a small turbo, allows the engine to create the peak power of a large turbo, and continues spinning when the driver’s foot is off the throttle pedal thanks to its electric control.

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Both the 4- and 8-cylinder engines will also come with a belt-driven starter-alternator that provides 14 hp to supply energy to the air conditioner and driving lights.

Together with the plug-in hybrid system, the 2.0-liter turbo-4 will make at least 643 hp, according to Mercedes, which is 140 hp more than the current C63 S. Mercedes may be switching from a V-8 to a 4-banger in its compact performance car, but that doesn’t mean power will suffer.

The Mercedes-AMG E Performance models will represent the first step toward electrification for the performance brand, and the plug-in hybrids will all use existing platforms developed for gasoline-powered cars. They AMG E Performance lineup will expand to several models beyond the AMG GT and C-Class mentioned above.

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Mercedes-AMG E Performance

Full EVs based on the Electric Vehicle Architecture of EQ models will be the next step. These will have motors front and rear, AMG-specific all-wheel drive and brakes, adaptive dampers, a custom sound, and wheels up to 22 inches in diameter. They’ll also get AMG design cues inside and out, and Mercedes they will fill the role of AMG 43 and 53 models, but not the higher performance 63 versions.

In the meantime, we can look forward to at least a pair of high-performance plug-in hybrids that will only enhance their power as they improve efficiency.

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