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What is the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance 4 Door and why does it matter to AMG?

 
Zak Adkins
Journalist

AMG’s most powerful car ever will be released this year, but what is this Mercedes-Benz with the super long name all about?


Enter what could possibly be the biggest tongue twisting name of all time: the Mercedes-AMG GT 4 Door 63 S E Performance – the brand’s first hybrid performance model. 

Inspired by technologies used in Formula One, the E Performance combines electric punch with classic petrol V8 power, this time utilising the now common 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder engine. 

The combination of electric and petrol power generates a maximum system power output of 620kW and “more than” 1400Nm of torque. That makes the GT 63 S E Performance the most powerful AMG model to ever be produced. 0-100km/h takes 2.9 seconds and the car will reach 200km/h in 10 seconds before surging to a top speed of 316km/h.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4 Door E Performance rear 3/4 static
The E Performance is a big car and weighs a hefty 2380kg!

It won’t be cheap though, with UK pricing just announced for this big bruiser. The E Performance will start at GBP 173,655 ($329,000) with first deliveries occurring in April in the UK. That’s $34,576 cheaper than the non-hybrid AMG GT 63 S 4 Door that you can currently buy in Australia. 

The E Performance will go up against key rivals such as the Porsche Panemera Turbo S E-Hybrid, but the E Performance still comes out on top as the most powerful in its super-hybrid class.

AMG hybrid V8 powertrain deep dive

The electric propulsion system used in the E Performance model is positioned at the rear axle and makes 150kW of power. There, it is mated to an electronically controlled two-speed gearbox which also houses the electronic limited-slip differential. 

There are several advantages to this electric layout including immediate torque response, the ability to send power forwards to the front wheels and improved weight distribution and axle load. 

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4 Door E Performance 3/4 track
This car will be just as at home on the track as it will be on the public road

The E Performance uses a small 6.1kWh battery pack which powers the electric motor to produce 150kW for bursts of up to 10 seconds. If owners feel they need to use battery power alone, they can travel up to 12km just on electricity, which might just come in handy in places like central London where low emission zones are now in place (Australia is yet to adopt this mindset).

When all electric charge has been used, owners can use the 3.7kW onboard AC charger to plug the E Performance into a charging station, wallbox or household socket, making the E Performance one of the fastest plug-in hybrids ever made. 

The 6.1kWh battery pack scores direct cooling power with special coolant which flows to each of the 560 cells. This ensures the battery remains at an even temperature to make sure peak performance is always achieved. The cooling system keeps the battery system operating at an average temperature of 45 degrees celsius which Mercedes-AMG says is optimal for this model. 

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4 Door E Performance battery tech
Mercedes-AMG battery tech features direct cooling to each of the battery cells

Several drive modes can be configured via the AMG Dynamic select function, which spans from full electric mode to RACE. 

In electric mode, the E Performance will alert its surroundings by playing an “AMG Sound” through external loudspeakers to warn pedestrians that the car is approaching. 

On the other spectrum, Race mode is configured to set the car for maximum attack with all performance parameters set to launch mode.

There are four modes of regenerative braking available in the E Performance, where Level 0 is most similar to driving a manual car and coasting in neutral (with no engine braking felt), and Level 3 where the driver can virtually drive the E Performance with just one pedal. 

The 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine

Found in most 63-badged models in the Mercedes-AMG lineup nowadays, the 4.0-litre twin-turbo unit is well known in the AMG fan club as a characterful and powerful engine. 

In this E Performance application, it produces 470kW of power and 900Nm of torque over a wide rev band between 2500 to 4500rpm. Two small turbochargers are located in the ‘hot-vee’ of the engine to help improve throttle response and reduce infamous turbo lag. 

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4 Door E Performance powertrain
It’s a complicated setup but it should work brilliantly

Linked directly to the engine is a nine-speed automatic transmission which then shifts power through a 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system. 

Although unconfirmed for this E Performance model, the standard non-hybrid version can be put into drift mode which disconnects the front axle and puts all available power to the rear wheels. Sounds fun!

Driving dynamics and braking hardware

The E Performance comes standard with AMG Ride Control+ which is based on multi-chamber air suspension combined with adaptive electronic suspension.

Mercedes-AMG says that development engineers tried hard to increase the difference between sportiness and comfort by widening the gap between minimum and maximum damping force. Like many adaptive suspension systems today, the E Performance can immediately change from a soft setup to a race setup with the simple push of a button. 

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4 Door E Performance engine
The twin-turbo V8 engine returns in yet another AMG product

These dynamics are impressive considering the sheer weight of the E Performance – 2380kg – making it almost the same weight as a Toyota Prado four-wheel drive. 

On the braking front, the E Performance comes standard with ceramic brakes as the main tool of bringing this ultra-fast sedan back to planet earth. The discs measure 420mm at the front and 380mm at the rear. Mercedes-AMG says the brakes are fade-resistant also for those who might think of taking their E Performance to the track. 

What makes the E Performance an important model for the brand?

The GT 63 S E Performance marks an important milestone in AMG’s history as the first performance Mercedes to go hybrid in a big way. It’s the first AMG to be a plug-in electric model and also the most powerful production model in the company’s history. 

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4 Door E Performance interior
As a customer, you will receive the same luxurious interior of any Mercedes product

Previously, the most powerful Mercedes road car was the 551kW SLS AMG Electric Drive which the new E Performance could easily out muscle now. The SLS was also only built in very limited numbers and cost almost GBP 500,000 when new. Second hand editions are currently for sale asking over GBP 1,000,000. 

That makes the E Performance a relative bargain in comparison. We will only have to wait a few months until reviews from Europe give us a better idea of what the E Performance is like on the road – and on track.