A less powerful turbo four-cylinder hybrid will power the new AMG C-class, while a hybrid twin-turbo V-8 will be saved for several future models.
- Mercedes-AMG has two high-performance plug-in hybrid powertrains coming under the E Performance name.
- One uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, and the other is a hybrid version of its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. Both have a 4.8-kWh battery pack and an electric motor, a two-speed transmission, and an electronically controlled limited-slip diff on the rear axle.
- These new E Performance models will debut by the end of the year along with AMG's version of the EQS electric sedan.
AMG will use its twin-turbo V-8 plug-in hybrid powertrain in several E Performance models, but not the C-class. AMG CEO Philipp Schiemer told Car and Driver that the upcoming C63 will switch to the turbo four because of a demand for a balance of performance and efficiency. He assures us that the new one will be "as emotional and as dynamic as the current C63," but we'll have to test one ourselves before we can concede.
Mercedes-AMG's M139 turbocharged 2.0-liter four-banger currently powers the A45, CLA45, and GLA45. In those models it's mounted transversely, but in the upcoming plug-in hybrids it'll be mounted longitudinally. The hybrid four is equipped with a new electrified turbocharger that minimizes turbo lag while still offering the performance of a larger, laggier turbo. Mercedes says this internal combustion engine can make more than 442 horsepower on its own, so we can expect total output with the electric motor to be significantly higher than that.
Unlike other AMG hybrids such as the GT53 and GT43, which use an electric motor placed between the engine and nine-speed automatic, these plug-in hybrids have a permanent-magnet synchronous AC motor on the rear axle. This improves the weight distribution, among other advantages. A 4.8-kWh battery pack developed by AMG weighs 196 pounds and can provide up to 201 horsepower for up to 10 seconds, or 94 horses continuously. The rear axle carries a tw0-speed automatic transmission just for the motor and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential. All-wheel drive is standard.
The twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 plug-in-hybrid powertrain will be saved for the upcoming AMG GT73 four-door along with other models, and it has the same electric motor and dedicated two-speed trans mentioned above. AMG says the V-8 plug-in is capable of exceeding 804 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque, and it will launch future models to 60 mph in less than 3.0 seconds. In our testing, the 630-hp GT63 S reached that mark in 2.9 seconds, so it's safe to say the new E Performance models with the V-8 will reach the sub-3.0-second mark with ease.
These plug-in powertrains support all-electric driving up to 81 mph, and in that mode, rear-wheel drive is the default. The rear-mounted electric motor is capable of driving the front wheels, too, if more traction is required. Range estimates in electric mode have not been announced. When the battery is depleted, the car automatically reverts to Comfort mode, which only uses electric drive at low speeds. Four levels of regenerative braking can be selected from a steering wheel button.
We'll know more details about the new cars from Affalterbach these powertrains will motivate by the end of the year, and we think they'll include the new Mercedes-AMG C63 and GT73. Additionally, Benz's performance division will unveil its take on the EQS electric sedan, which will compete with other performance-oriented EVs such as the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, Audi RS e-tron GT, and Tesla Model S Plaid.