Pure electric cars now in the works at AMG to supplement new hybrid models, Merc’s R&D boss has hinted
Andrew Frankel Autocar
16 January 2018

Mercedes-Benz is considering the addition of all-electric models to its AMG sub-brand, despite the in-house tuning division long time devotion to thunderous V8s.

“Are we going to see all-electric AMGs?’ said Mercedes R&D boss Ola Kallenius, “Why not? It is not a concrete programme at the moment, but it is conceivable. Besides we have been there before.”

805bhp Mercedes-AMG GT four-door to be revealed in March

Kallenius is referring to the SLS Electric Drive project that saw a tiny number of all electric SLS supercars built for specific customers.

Asked what customers would think of an AMG without its trademark V8 soundtrack Kallenius observed: “When we went to turbocharged engines everyone thought that would be the end of the AMG character, but we don’t exactly get many complaints about that any more. We all love the sound of the V8 and an electric car can still be thrilling, so we are going to have to develop a second love for that.”

In the meantime Mercedes-AMG is busy preparing its first ‘power-hybrids’, a genre of powertrain Kallenius describes as “using its battery power more for boost than for range”.

The new system is known to have been fitted to AMG’s extant 4.0-litre V8 which is already capable of developing 604bhp without any electrical assistance. Porsche’s equivalent system boosts the output of its 4.0-litre V8 from 542bhp to 670bhp, it seems likely AMG wants to go further still, all the way to 805bhp, making them the most powerful Mercedes-Benz cars to go into production, at least until the Project One hypercar hits the streets in 2020.

Why AMG needs the V8 in an electric future

Kallenius also confirmed that the new 3.0-litre straight six mild hybrid ‘53’ series engine launched at the Detroit show in both the CLS coupe and E-class saloon will eventually replace entirely the ‘43’ series of 3.5-litre V6 motors despite the latter’s resounding success in the marketplace.

The new engine features a conventional turbocharger an electric compressor charger plus a 48 Volt system powered by combined starter and alternator contained within an electric motor located between the engine and the gearbox. 

“It offers us better performance, CO2 emissions and incredibly smooth start up characteristics,” Kallenius explained. The new engine is part of the OM654 family that includes both the six cylinder diesel already seen in the S-class and the 2.0-litre four cylinder diesel now replacing the 2.1-litre unit that has served for years as Mercedes’ staple diesel unit.

Read more 

SLS Electric Drive review 

Mercedes-Benz unveils electric EQA hatchback concept

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive review

Our Verdict

Mercedes-AMG SLS Electric Drive

Mercedes' Electric Drive supercar is capable and beautifully well resolved, but its huge weight gain and prohibitive price detract from the overall appeal

Join the debate

Comments
2

16 January 2018

Aslong as they keep believing in the utopia people will buy quiet electric sportscars they wont go anywhere with that.

They need to keep focusing the EV effort on the everyday cars for everyday use, only a small fraction of people who buy pure AMGs, RSs, GTIs would be interested in a all electric performance car. How many Rimac cars do you see around, meanwhile all other Hypercars were sold way before production and any one of them has gone up in price. Pure performance is only part of the interest of those cars.

16 January 2018
Well I for one am complaining.

I won't replace my 10 year old 6.2 CLS63 with a 4.0 Turbo, let alone an eclectic/hybrid offering.

They may be even faster, but they are not as lovely.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Alpina D5 S
    The Alpina D5 S is the German firm's latest performance version of a BMW
    First Drive
    21 February 2018
    The latest executive express from the masters of fast diesels is a fabulous machine, but is the current it's swimming against simply too strong?
  • Hyundai Nexo FCEV
    This is the new Hyundai Nexo FCEV
    First Drive
    20 February 2018
    The new Nexo SUV is a showcase for both hydrogen power and autonomous tech. Does that make it an appealing purchase?
  • Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    This is the Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The Insignia GSi is Vauxhall's new performance flagship. Can this diesel estate version offer both pace and practicality?
  • Honda Civic Type R
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for Britain’s roads?
  • Aston Martin DB11 Volante
    The DB11 Volante chassis' torsional rigidity is 22kN/deg, down from 34kN/deg on the coupe – but substantially more than the 14.7kN/deg of the DB9 Volante
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The DB11 Volante is the first convertible variant of Aston Martin's new model generation. How does it compare to the likes of the new Ferrari Portofino?