Mercedes-AMG is finally showing off its first plug-in hybrid, and it's a doozy. The new GT63 S E Performance takes Formula 1 technology and brings it to the street, melding AMG's existing twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor and an advanced battery pack, all stuffed into the existing GT 4-Door Coupe body. The result is AMG's most powerful production vehicle ever, and a sign of what's to come from the brand.
The twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V8 puts out the same 630 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque as in the existing GT63 S, though it now features an integrated 48-volt starter-generator system. Positioned at the rear axle is a single electric motor putting out 201 hp and 236 lb-ft that has its own two-speed gearbox; as it works directly on the rear axle it provides quicker responses and acceleration. There's an electronically controlled limited-slip differential for better grip and power delivery in corners, and electric power can be sent to the front wheels as required. AMG also overhauled the standard air suspension setup and the GT's stability control system.
The lightweight 6.1-kWh lithium-ion battery pack lies just above the EV motor, and development of the battery was influenced by the one used in Mercedes' F1 car -- the AMG team in Affalterbach, Germany, worked closely with the F1 engine shop in the UK on the system's engineering. The 400-volt battery weighs just 196 pounds and has double the power density of traditional batteries, thanks to a world-first direct-cooling system that always keeps the battery at the optimal operating temperature.
All that adds up to a whopping total output of 831 hp and 1,033 lb-ft, with Mercedes saying the GT63 PHEV will hit 60 mph in 2.9 seconds, 125 mph in under 10 seconds, and reach a top speed of 196 mph. Where the GT63 S E Performance is lacking is electric range. AMG says it will only do about seven miles on electricity alone, but that's on purpose. The powertrain was designed for "fast power delivery" instead of a long range, so performance is the real goal here. It will hit 80 mph on electric power, and there's an AMG-specific sound that's played outside the car at speeds up to 18 mph, fading out when the car reaches 31 mph. The charge port is located on the rear bumper, and while AMG doesn't give any charging specs it will use a 3.7-kW on-board AC charger.
There are seven drive modes in total, with the new Electric mode joining Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, Race, Slippery (for wet conditions) and the configurable Individual mode. In the EV mode all-wheel drive is still always available thanks to the electric motor's mechanical connection to the drivetrain, and when the battery has been depleted the car automatically switches to Comfort mode. In Comfort the car deploys electric driving when it's most beneficial, like at low speeds in the city. Delve into the Sport and Race modes and the V8 wakes up, with the electric motor providing a performance boost. The car typically starts up silently in electric mode, but a special sound "typical of AMG" is played through the interior's speakers to let the driver know the car is ready.
The GT63 S E Performance has four levels of regenerative braking that are controlled by a button on the steering wheel, with the lowest level of regen basically unnoticeable to the driver, while the highest level offers one-pedal driving like with a full EV. When the car is in the Race drive mode, the regen system is automatically set to Level 1, which offers the "most reproducible vehicle behavior" on-track. The E Performance also comes standard with massive carbon-ceramic brakes, with 17-inch discs and six-piston calipers up front, and 15-inch discs and single-piston calipers at the rear.
We already saw the updated six-cylinder GT 4-Door models earlier this year, and the V8 PHEV sticks close to that same formula. The front air intakes are larger and have new vanes, there's a bunch of new paint offerings including four matte finishes, and Mercedes added more exterior appearance packages. Hybrid-specific details are limited to fluted exhaust tips and red badges. The E Performance also has a bunch of unique info pages in the MBUX infotainment system, a new steering wheel design and more color and trim options for the interior.
Mercedes isn't saying anything about how much the GT63 S E Performance will cost, but with the normal GT63 S already starting at $162,950, don't be surprised if the PHEV crests the $200,000 mark. Full US specs will be announced closer to the E Performance's on-sale date for the 2023 model year.
Mercedes-AMG GT63 S E Performance is a high-power plug-in hybrid