SLS Electric Drive
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.”
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.
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.