We’ve known for a while now that Mercedes-AMG will be unveiling a PHEV model – heck, we’ve even seen it in the metal on two separate occasions. But now, we finally get to find out what’s underneath the sheet metal, revealed in today’s electrification presentation in addition to the fully-electric tech.
As part of the marque’s “E Performance strategy”, Mercedes-AMG today unveiled two separate PHEV powertrains, pairing an electric motor to the German carmaker’s existing 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines.
Said to be developed together with Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP) and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, both powertrains will feature a nine-speed AMG MCT-Speedshift torque converter automatic gearbox, and the AMG 4Matic+ all-wheel drive technology.
The electric motor is placed on the rear axle in a P3 hybrid layout, where it is integrated with an electrically-shifted two-speed transmission and an electronic rear axle differential lock into a compact Electric Drive Unit (EDU).
Power output on the electric motor will be dependent on the model itself, but at its peak, it can provide up to 204 hp and 320 Nm of torque. The motor acts directly on the rear axle, bypassing the gearbox, though when the rear wheels are slipping too much, power can also be sent to the front wheels temporarily via a cardan shaft.
This PHEV layout is quite unlike the ones used on regular Mercedes-Benz PHEV models, where the electric motors are usually placed on the front axle. Mercedes-AMG says that this is crucial to its E Performance models as it retains the handling properties of its existing ICE line-up (despite adding an average of 200 kg in weight), while providing a higher, more direct torque output to the wheels.
The electric motor is juiced by a new 400V 6.1 kWh AMG High Performance Battery, which supposedly only weighs 89 kg. The battery is capable of providing 70 kW of continuous power or 150 kW peak power for ten seconds, the latter translating to a power density of 1.7 kW/kg – supposedly double of a conventional battery, according to AMG.
To achieve that, Mercedes-AMG had to an all-new direct liquid cooling system, dissipating heat from all 560 individual battery cells, to keep the battery at a happy working temperature of 45 degrees Celcius, even during hard driving on track, with all electric horses at their maximum-output.
As with all other electrified cars on the market, the new Mercedes-AMG PHEV drivetrains also features a four-stage kinetic energy recuperation system selectable by the driver via a button on the steering wheel. In Level 3 – the highest of the four starting from zero – the generator is capable of capturing up to 90 kW of energy.
Just like any other AMG models, the entire hybrid powertrain is tied into the AMG Dynamic Select and AMG Dynamics system, with six individual driving modes that alters everything from the ESP, rear differential, power outputs, and all-wheel drive system for various driving situations. In Electric mode, the new Mercedes-AMG PHEV models can reach a top speed of 130 km/h without using a drop of fuel.
Now, back to the powertrains themselves. Mercedes-AMG was being a little coy on the electrified V8 unit, only stating that the total system output can “technically” exceed 816 hp and 1,000 Nm of torque, as well as a 0-100 km/h time of under three seconds. No word on when we’ll see the first application of this powertrain, but it’s likely to be on the AMG GT73e.
As for the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-banger, Mercedes says that the combustion engine can produce more than 449 hp, even before factoring in the new electric motor, thanks to a new turbocharger derived from the AMG Project One that can maintain the boost pressure at all times, ensuring a continuous direct response.
Again, no mention on when it’ll be unveiled, but the company did confirm that it’ll be featured in the next C-Class-based Mercedes-AMG model. With such beefy outputs, we’re guessing this means that the next Mercedes-AMG C 63 will be down-sizing from a 4.0-litre V8 to now a 2.0-litre with four-cylinders.