Electric cars have become the focal point of discussion for strategy when it comes to mainstream cars launched by auto majors. But they represent challenges of a more evolved nature when talking of super sports and performance cars since customers have historically been in tune with the engineering ethos of such machines, the high-pitched and signature sounds their big horsepower engines make and the holistic engineering prowess that they represent. Regardless, Mercedes-Benz sees the switch as making no difference to their overall game plan, global executives said in a closed conference.
Historically and now from an AMG strategy, Mercedes-Benz has enhanced the technology of an existing Mercedes and made it a real AMG with driving dynamics and vehicle and system performance by deploying their 'one man, one engine' philosophy.
That will shift as the company migrates to the AMG-specific fully electric architecture, says Chief Technology Officer of Mercedes-AMG, Jochen Hermann. "We will have seven exclusive cars on this new AMG. EA platform, and that's something for the future."
But the question remains as to what happens to the philosophy of 'one man, one engine' which is essentially according to the company's website why the engines produced in the cars are such unique specimens: They're technological, lightweight masterpieces that unpack an enormous amount of power with maximum energy efficiency.
Hermann says that "we still have this combustion engine where we have this one man, one engine, and it's a pure essential benefit of AMG, AMG customers love that one man, one engine and when it comes to an electrified powertrain, we are spending a lot of time thinking about what that will be, and will share an answer on in due course of time. We think it's something that makes an AMG an AMG and we will have to have an answer but it will not be easy ." Even so, he goes on to add "going electric was not a threat for AMG but an opportunity to bring an experience to customers that hasn't been done before with an electrified powertrain."
Last year, Mercedes sold 40,300 units in Q1 2023 globally, which is a growth of 44% from the year before. Here, Mercedes-Benz India has launched AMG E 53 Cabriolet and GT 63 E Performance in Jan-April 2023, and most of the planned 10 overall product launches in India will be from the TEV segment, including AMGs which according to officials have sold in the high triple digits last year. The vehicles launched in India by Mercedes-AMG in 2023 are a mix of ICE and Plug-In-Hybrid (PIH) and while the AMG E 53 Cabriolet is an ICE; the AMG GT 63 S E Performance is Mercedes-AMG's first PIH.
How does the latest tech in the India-launched AMG car work?
Hermann says the front of the vehicle came with the AMG GT 63 S E V8 engine. "So, on the front axle, you have the AMG V8 which is an all-wheel drive vehicle, but the real new part is on the rear axle where we will have an electric drive unit with additional 150 kilowatt and importantly, it's not just added on the rear to the rear axle, but it's included in the all-wheel drive. So, what we can do, not only can we drive in an all-wheel drive with V8, having torque and performance on the front and the rear axle, but we can do the same thing with the electric engine on the rear axle. So it doesn't only drive the rear axle, it can also drive for front axle." The car is then an all-wheel drive V8 and all-wheel drive electric, that's combined in one powertrain. "From a vehicle performance standpoint, with software we can shift torque from one axle to another and endow the car with unprecedented driving dynamics."
Technology for the next gen of AMG cars is also being sourced from Merc's involvement in motorsports. "The high-performance battery is a technology directly derived from Formula One. We have cylindrical cells directly cooled and the reason for doing that is that we can keep the temperature of the battery cell itself at a very precise level, in this case it's 45 degrees Celsius. So, each single electrical battery cell is surrounded by the liquid and is cooled completely by the entire cell itself. So, we can really drive that battery to a limit and as you may know from other hybrid systems, power hybrids, we see this car also as a transformation car for the customers going into that electrified future. Because sooner or later, you have to have fully electric cars and we think there's a strong market for fully electric sports cars."