With the GT73e waiting in the wings, Mercedes-AMG, in a somewhat unexpected development, officially unveiled what is likely to be the preview model overnight in the shape of the new GT63 S E-Performance.
Bowing as AMG’s first ever plug-in hybrid, the E-Performance, which slots in above the standard GT63 S, combines the proven 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine with a 6.1-kWh battery that delivers a maximum output of 150 kW for a total system deliverance of 620kW/1 400 Nm.
Well up on the 600kW/1 000Nm rumoured for the GT73e, the battery in the E-Performance, which weighs 89 kg and developed using traits from the Mercedes-AMG Formula 1 team, offers a continues power figure of 70 kW with the mentioned maximum lasting for ten seconds.
Developed especially for the E-Performance, the battery is charged via a 3.7 kW on-board charger with its inclusion being skewed towards performance rather than range. As such, the claimed all-electric range is a mere 12 km with a further inclusion being a belt-driven starter-generator that adds 10 kW for short bursts.
With the electric motor mounted above the rear axle and outfitted with a two-speed transmission of its own, a design similar to the BMW i8, the E-Performance is an effect an all-wheel-drive model with the entire setup resulting in a top speed of 316 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 2.9 seconds with the 0-200 km/h sprint over in less than ten seconds according to AMG.
Despite the starring of the mentioned transmission, the front-mounted twin-blown V8, which produces 470kW/900Nm on its own, continues to be mated to the nine-speed MCT ‘box.
A departure from the standard GT63 S though are the AMG Dynamic Select driving modes, now consisting of seven settings; Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race, Individual and the new Electric that allows for emissions-free driving at up to 130 km/h until depletion of the battery pack and activation of the petrol engine.
In addition, the E-Performance also features four regenerative braking phases where otherwise lost energy is recouped, stored and then deployed when applying the anchors. These comprise the following:
- Level 0: low levels of regeneration;
- Level 1: Recouping of energy, while still low, can be felt when braking. It is also the default setting when in Race mode;
- Level 2: Regeneration requires little braking input;
- Level 3: Up to 100 kW can be stored in the battery with the possibly of one-pedal driving as the maximum level of regeneration negates the use of the brakes fully.
Aside from the powerunit, Mercedes-AMG has also made subtle changes to the E-Performance’s exterior, interior and chassis with the former consisting of wider side air intakes in order to aid cooling, a new rear bumper and newly designed 20 or 21-inch AMG light alloy wheels.
Also featuring is a revised front bumper, quad exhaust outlets in a twin design and the charging flap located on the right. As with the standard GT63 S, the E-Performance can be outfitted with the AMG Night Package or in combination with the AMG Carbon Package.
Underneath, the GT63 S E-Performance comes standard with a revised version of the AMG Ride Control+ adaptive air suspension and dampers, as well as an electronically controlled limited slip rear differential and altered AMG Dynamics system.
As standard, the brakes are carbon ceramic and made up of a bronze coloured six-piston caliper setup at the front and single at the rear with the discs measuring 420 mm and 380 mm respectively.
Inside resides the least amount of changes in the form of hybrid specific graphics and readouts located within the dual 10.25-inch MBUX infotainment system and instrument cluster, no less than nine Nappa leather options and a hybrid display setting for the dial located at the base of the AMG Performance steering wheel.
Going on sale later this year, no pricing for the GT63 S E-Performance has been revealed, but if approved for South Africa, expect a sticker of around R4-million given the R3.3-million starting price of the conventional GT63 S.