While the next-gen 2022 SL lineup is fully under AMG control, Mercedes-Benz’s high-performance division is slimming down. Specifically, by cutting down on how many ICE cars it makes. However, all those cars are being replaced. Only instead of relying solely on internal combustion, AMG is fully embracing hybrids and electric vehicles.
AMG made electric Mercedes models before
Ever since the 300SEL 6.3, AMG has earned a reputation for its high-speed Mercedes cars. In the past, that speed came from large-capacity V8s or V12s. And while AMG now offers high-power turbocharged four-cylinder engines, too, it hasn’t forgotten about the V8.
However, not every AMG model has been powered solely via internal combustion. After all, the upcoming Mercedes-AMG One hypercar is a hybrid. But even before the One, AMG had a fully electric car.
Back in 2012, AMG unveiled a prototype EV version of the SLS AMG, fittingly called the SLS Electric Drive, Car and Driver reports. The next year, Mercedes put it into production. And while the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive was dropped after 2014, it certainly made an impression, Autocar reports.
In 2014, the most powerful ICE SLS was the AMG Black Series. Its 6.2-liter V8 made 622 hp and 468 lb-ft. But the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive was even more powerful. With four electric motors and a 60-kWh battery pack, the electric SLS made 740 hp and 738 lb-ft, Car and Driver reports.
Admittedly, the SLS AMG Electric Drive weighed 1000 pounds more than the standard SLS, MotorTrend reports. But thanks to its electric powertrain, it went 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds. The downside, though, was a max range of 120 miles. It also took 20 hours to recharge on a Level 2 charger, Car and Driver reports. And it retailed at around $544k, Motor1 reports.
Still, despite its drawbacks, the SLS AMG Electric Drive showed that Mercedes-Benz’s performance division could make EVs engaging. And ultimately, the German automaker saw it as a test-bed for future products.
Well, the future is now.
The AMG electrified future includes EVs and 800-hp Mercedes cars
To be clear, AMG isn’t abandoning internal combustion completely, Car and Driver reports. Instead, although it will offer all-electric models, AMG will also have an ‘E Performance’ hybrid lineup with genuine F1 tech, The Drive reports. While these hybrids won’t be as extreme as the Mercedes-AMG One, they will be genuine performance cars.
Besides extra horsepower and torque, the AMG E Performance hybrids have several additional benefits over pure ICE cars, Hagerty reports. The rear-mounted electric motor grants active torque vectoring, better weight distribution, and potentially even F1-style ‘push to pass’ speed boosts.
In another nod to F1, the AMG E Performance hybrids use electric motors to quickly spool their turbos, Car and Driver reports. Think of it as a kind of road-legal anti-lag. And AMG claims its most powerful hybrid, the four-door GT73, makes 804 hp and 738 lb-ft. That’s 84 hp more than the 2021 Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series.
In regards to the electric models, the first one will be an AMG version of the Mercedes-Benz EQS, MT reports. AMG plans to offer this EV in two different trims, and their dual motors should let them go 0-60 mph in less than four seconds, Motor1 reports.
What we still don’t know
As of this writing, we don’t know exactly when these AMG hybrids and EVs will be available. Mercedes plans to debut the E Performance models sometime later in 2021, Road & Track reports, but no exact date is given. As for the electric AMGs, the EQS isn’t launching until late 2021, R&T reports.
We also don’t know what other kinds of vehicles will get the AMG electrification treatment. At least initially, the E Performance lineup will include the AMG GT four-door and a C-Class-based sedan, Motor1 reports. But some old favorites could return.
Mercedes confirmed that it’s working on an electric G-Wagon, The Drive reports. And AMG already makes a tuned G-Wagon, the G63 AMG, that’s rather popular. Considering how many electric SUVs and trucks are about to hit the market, an electric AMG-tuned G-Wagon would likely be a lucrative offering.
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