Ahead of next week’s IAA Munich Mobility motor show 2021, Mercedes-AMG has launched the AMG GT 63 S E Performance plug-in hybrid after their first teaser last week. While the name is incredibly long, it did not adopt the much-rumoured ‘73e’ moniker.
Mercedes-AMG will be using the ‘E Performance’ label for their new range of electrified models, a name that first appeared on their 2021 W12 Formula 1 racer as well as on the Project One F1-derived hypercar.
On the exterior, the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance maintains the looks of the regular GT 63 S variant, down to the front fascia, side skirts and exhaust tips. There were no design changes to the six-cylinder variants in the 2021 update, so nothing is changed here too.
The E Performance model-specific badges however are limited to the fender emblems paired with a new chrome finishing on the decorative trim. The rear ’GT 63 S’ emblem is highlighted in red, which is difficult to see in these images thanks to the Jupiter Red paintwork. Similar to other mainstream plug-in hybrid Mercedes-Benz models such as the C350e and E350e, the charging port is located at the right corner of the rear bumper.
Even with an increase in horsepower and torque, the GT 63 S E Performance continues to ride on 21-inch wheels and standard fitted AMG ceramic high-performance composite brake system, measuring a massive 420 mm at the front and 380 mm in diameter at the rear.
The layout of the electrified components in the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance is perhaps a world’s-first for plug-in hybrids, with the electric motor positioned transversely inside the rear axle. Called the Electric Drive Unit (EDU), the compact rear axle also integrates an electrically shifted two-speed gearbox plus limited-slip differential (LSD).
The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine sees no changes to its output and performance curve of 639 hp and 900 Nm of torque that first premiered in the GT 63 S variant in 2018. Maintained is also the AMG Speedshift MCT 9G automatic transmission with a multi-clutch system and 4Matic+ fully-variable all-wheel drive traction with Drift Mode.
Peak output of the electric motor is 204 hp, and combined with the V8 engine, the system output is a massive 843 hp and up to 1,470 Nm of torque. Mercedes-AMG quotes 2.9 seconds to hit 100 km/h from standstill, with 200 km/h reached in under 10 seconds. Compared to the regular GT 63 S variant, the additional electric power shaves just 0.3 seconds off the century sprint time. The top speed maintains at 316 km/h.
Much of the technological breakthrough lies in the battery pack placed on top of the rear axle. The AMG High-Performance Battery (HPB) is a lithium-ion battery pack in cylindrical format that has a lot of development work with the all-conquering Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team.
The compact HPB pack has a capacity of 6.1 kWh with 70 kW (95 hp) of continuous output and a 150 kW (204 hp) of peak output for 10 seconds. It only weighs 89 kg, which is half of what a regular uncooled battery pack of the same energy content weighs. Fully charged and driven as gently as possible, the emission-free range is a measly 12 kilometres and up to speeds of 130 km/h.
The HPB in the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance is designed for fast power delivery, thus it gets a new dedicated direct cooling system with modules that are millimetres thin. Around 14 litres of coolant circulate around the battery pack to keep it within the optimum operating window of 45 degrees Celsius.
A comprehensive AMG Dynamic Select driving mode is thus calibrated and programmed for the new Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance, with six configured modes (plus one Individual) ranging from electric-only to a balanced mode to full-on Race mode. To keep owners happy and passengers entertained, the sonorous and powerful start-up sound typical of AMG is emitted via the cabin loudspeakers when starting in electric-only Comfort drive mode.
Drivers can also alter the electric regeneration strength, from Off to Level 3 which allows for “one-pedal” driving as the regeneration power is as high as 100 kW. In Race mode, regeneration is at its lowest to allow for consistent dynamics and vehicle behaviour.