The next iteration of AMG’s supercar will adopt a revised twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine with new mild-hybrid assistance, as well as a transaxle re-engineered to accommodate a fully variable four-wheel-drive system in selected models. That move is set to endow it with significantly greater performance potential than its predecessor.
Insiders at Mercedes-AMG’s headquarters in Affalterbach, Germany, suggest a series of driveline innovations will push the power output of future upper-end GT models beyond 650bhp. The innovations will include an electric boosting capability as part of a range of new mild-hybrid EQ Boost functions.
As well as increasing the power output, the addition of electric boosting via a starter/ alternator and new 48V electric architecture will bring a notable increase in torque to the GT’s upgraded V8 engine. The successor model to today’s GT R is set to generate up to 700lb ft.
As a point of reference, the most powerful current iteration of AMG’s V8, codenamed M178, resides in the GT63 S 4Matic 4-Door Coupé, where it kicks out 630bhp and 664lb ft with an initial range of EQ Boost functions. In today’s form, the GT R makes 577bhp and 516lb ft.
The new GT will once again be produced in both coupé and roadster bodystyles. It’s scheduled to reach UK showrooms in early 2022. Key rivals for the new model include the Porsche 911, which is also set to adopt hybrid functions when the facelifted version of today’s 992-generation model is launched, and the Aston Martin Vantage.
But whereas Porsche is looking to go down the full plug-in hybrid route, including all-electric capability for limited distances, this has been ruled out for future Mercedes-AMG GT models because of packaging concerns.
One source told Autocar: “With a 75-litre fuel tank behind the cabin, we’re already at the limit on packaging. For worthwhile distances on electric, you need a battery with at least 12kWh of capacity. As well as commanding space, it also adds quite significantly to the weight.”
Key to the future of the GT is a decision by Mercedes-Benz to twin it with the successor to the SL. Both models share vital elements of their platform, driveline and interior in a move that, AMG insiders told Autocar, has helped to streamline and lower the cost of their development despite the adoption of new technology.