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Mercedes-AMG’s first performance hybrid entering series production

The first performance hybrid from Mercedes-AMG—AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE—is entering series production for the European market, drawing upon technologies from Formula 1. The concept includes a distinctive drive layout with an electric motor and battery on the rear axle as well as a high-performance battery developed in-house. The E PERFORMANCE model thus transfers the DNA of AMG Driving Performance into the electrified future.

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(Details and specifications for the US version will be announced closer to US market launch for MY23.)

As in Formula 1, the battery is specifically designed for fast power delivery and draw. Electric range is 12 kilometers (7 miles).

In the AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE, the 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine is combined with a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, a high-performance battery developed in Affalterbach and the fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive system. The combination of the 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine and electric motor generates a system output of 620 kW (831 hp) and a maximum system torque of more than 1,400 N·m (1,033 lb-ft).

Acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h (est. 0 - 60 mph) takes 2.9 seconds, and 200 km/h (125 mph) is reached in less than ten seconds. Acceleration only ends at 316 km/h) (196 mph).

The 150 kW (201 hp) electric motor is positioned at the rear axle, where it is integrated with an electrically shifted two-speed gearbox and the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential in a compact electric drive unit (EDU)—a P3 hybrid. The lightweight high-performance battery is also located above the rear axle. This compact design has numerous advantages:

  • The electric motor acts directly on the rear axle and can therefore convert its power more directly into propulsion for that extra boost when moving off, accelerating or overtaking.

  • The power of the electric motor can inherently be applied at full torque, allowing for a particularly agile start.

  • In addition, the driver immediately experiences a noticeable performance increase thanks to the integrated, electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential: The hybrid model is even more agile when accelerating out of bends, and provides more traction and therefore more driving safety.

  • When slipping at the rear axle increases, the drive power of the electric motor is also transferred to the front wheels as required for more traction. The mechanical connection of the fully variable all-wheel drive makes this possible by means of a propshaft and the drive shafts of the front wheels.

  • The positioning on the rear axle improves the weight as well as the axle load distribution in the vehicle and thus forms the basis for the convincing handling.

  • The AMG concept offers very high regeneration efficiency, as the system allows only minimal mechanical and hydraulic losses from the engine and transmission.

  • The automated two-speed transmission at the rear axle with its specially calibrated gear ratio ensures the spread from high wheel torque for agile starting to safe continuous output at higher speeds. An electric actuator engages second gear at around 140 km/h (87 mph) at the latest, which corresponds to the electric motor's maximum speed of around 13,500 rpm.

  • With the increase in performance due to the additional electric motor, the development team was also able to improve the efficiency of the entire vehicle in parallel and achieve lower emissions as well as lower consumption.

When defining the electrification strategy, it was clear from the outset that all essential components would be developed in Affalterbach. At the heart of this is the AMG high-performance battery (HPB). Development of this lithium-ion battery was inspired by technologies that have already proven themselves under the conditions in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team's Formula 1 hybrid racing cars.

The AMG high-performance battery combines high power that can be called up frequently in succession with low weight to increase the overall performance of the vehicle. Added to this are the fast energy draw and the high power density. This means that during a brisk drive in hilly terrain, for example, drivers can immediately call on the full power potential on uphill stretches, while regeneration is strong when driving downhill.

The high-performance battery of the AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE has a capacity of 6.1 kWh, 70 kW of continuous output and 150 kW (201 hp) of peak output for ten seconds. The low weight of only 89 kilograms (196 lbs) allows the very high power density of 1.7 kW/kg. Conventional batteries without direct cooling of the cells achieve about half of this figure.

Charging is via the 3.7 kW on-board AC charger, at a charging station, wallbox or household socket. The battery is designed for fast power delivery and draw, not for the longest possible range. Nevertheless, the electric range of 12 kilometers (7 miles) allows for a practical operating radius, for example, for quiet and emission-free driving from a residential area to the outskirts of the city or to the highway.

The basis for the high performance of the AMG 400 volt battery is the innovative direct cooling: for the first time, a high-tech coolant based on an electrically non-conductive liquid flows around all 560 cells and cools them individually.

Every battery needs a defined temperature for optimum power delivery. If a battery becomes too cold or too hot, it noticeably loses power at times, or has to be regulated to avoid damage if the heat becomes excessive. The even temperature of the battery therefore has a decisive influence on its performance, service life and overall safety.

Conventional cooling systems, which only cool with air or the entire battery pack indirectly with water, quickly reach their limits, especially as the requirements continue to increase due to cells with ever increasing energy density. If the thermal management does not fulfill its function optimally, the battery is at risk of ageing prematurely.

For the direct cooling, the AMG specialists had to develop new cooling modules that are only millimeters thin. Around 4 gallons of coolant circulates from top to bottom, through the entire battery past each cell with the help of a specially developed high-performance electric pump, also flowing through an oil/water heat exchanger attached directly to the battery. This conducts the heat into one of the vehicle's two low- temperature (LT) circuits, and from there to the LT radiator at the front of the car where it is released into the outside air. The system is designed to ensure even heat distribution in the battery.

The result is that the battery is always within a consistent, optimum operating temperature window averaging 113 ˚F, no matter how often it is charged or discharged. It may well be that the average temperature is exceeded when driving at high speeds. The protection mechanisms are therefore configured so that the maximum performance can be obtained from the battery, with the temperature level subsequently lowered by direct cooling. Conventional cooling systems cannot cope with this, and the battery can no longer fully utilize its potential. That is not the case with the AMG high-performance battery: even during fast laps in hybrid mode on the race track, where acceleration (battery is discharged) and deceleration (battery is charged) are frequent, the energy storage system retains its high performance capacity.

Only effective direct cooling makes it possible to use cells with a very high power density. Thanks to this individual solution, the battery system is particularly light and compact. The low weight is also due to the material-saving busbar concept, and the lightweight yet strong crash structure of the aluminum housing. It ensures the highest level of safety.

Operating strategy: electrical power always available. The basic operating strategy is derived from the hybrid powerpack of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 racing car. As in the top class of motorsport, maximum propulsion is always available when the driver needs it—for example, to accelerate powerfully out of corners or when overtaking.

The electric power can always be called up and frequently reproduced via high regeneration performance and on-demand recharging. The independent battery concept enables the optimal compromise between maximum driving dynamics and contemporary efficiency. All components are perfectly coordinated: The performance gain can be experienced directly.

The seven AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Electric”, “Comfort”, “Sport”, “Sport+”, “RACE”, “Slippery” and “Individual” are precisely configured for the new drive technology and thus provide a wide-ranging driving experience from highly efficient to highly dynamic. The driving modes adjust important parameters such as the response of the drive system and transmission, the steering characteristic, the suspension damping or the sound. The modes can be selected using the rocker switch in the center console or the AMG steering wheel buttons.

Usually, the Performance hybrid starts silently (“Silent Mode”) in the “Comfort” driving mode when the electric motor is switched on. In the instrument cluster, the “Ready” icon signals that the vehicle is ready to drive. In addition, a powerful, sonorous start-up sound typical of AMG is emitted in the interior via the vehicle’s loudspeakers as acoustic feedback showing readiness to get going. Slight pressure on the accelerator pedal is all it takes to set the AMG Performance hybrid in motion.

When driving on all-electric power, the legally required Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System warns the surroundings that the Performance hybrid is approaching. A specially composed low-frequency, speed-dependent AMG sound is emitted to the outside via single loudspeakers at the front and rear. The sound can also be heard at a subdued level in the interior, as acoustic feedback for the passengers. In the European Union the system is active up to 20 km/h (12 mph), in the USA up to the equivalent of approx. 30 km/h (18 mph). After that, the driving signal fades out harmoniously up to approx. 50 km/h (31 mph).

At higher speeds, the customer can select a desired sound experience between “balanced” and “powerful” using the sound buttons in the center console or on the steering wheel (identified by a frequency wave symbol): When driving on all-electric power, either a discreet or a powerful sound experience is generated. When the combustion engine starts, the selected setting influences the sound of the exhaust system. In every situation, one thing remains the same: the Performance hybrid is immediately recognizable as an AMG by its sound.

  • “Electric” driving mode: The focus is on the electric driving experience. All-electric driving is possible from standstill up to 130 km/h (80 mph), with the combustion engine switched off. The mechanical connection to the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ components means that all-wheel drive is always available: If the rear wheels suddenly have too much slip, the power of the electric motor is also transmitted to the front wheels via the propshaft and drive shafts. When the battery has run down or the driver requests more power, the intelligent operating control automatically switches to the “Comfort” driving mode and the combustion engine starts up to provide propulsion.

  • “Comfort” driving mode: The start-up is mostly electric. Combustion engine and electric motor run to fit the requirements of each situation—with electric drive at low speeds, for example in residential areas or in the inner city, hybrid driving with combustion engine and electric motor in the countryside and on the highway. Overall, the result is a harmonious and consumption-optimized driving experience, due in part to the early upshifts of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT-9G transmission. Suspension and steering are configured with an emphasis on comfort. The focus of the steering is on energy efficiency, so that fuel consumption and emissions can be reduced. The hallmark AMG sportiness and agility are retained.

  • “Sport” driving mode: starting with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. An additional boost from the electric motor is released. Sporty driving experience due to more agile accelerator response, shorter shift times and earlier downshifts. A more dynamic suspension and steering setup.

  • “Sport+” driving mode: starting with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. Even higher performance boost. Extremely sporty character thanks to even more agile throttle response and targeted torque intervention during upshifts with cylinder deactivation for optimum shift times. Increased idle speed for faster starting. An even more dynamic set-up for suspension, steering and powertrain.

  • “RACE” driving mode: for highly dynamic driving on closed race tracks. In this mode, all the parameters are configured for maximum performance, starting with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. Full electric boost power from the electric motor to support the combustion engine during hard acceleration. Strong battery recharging at low power demand for maximum electrical availability.

  • “Slippery” driving mode: optimized for slippery road conditions, with reduced power and a flat torque curve. All-electric driving and regeneration adjustment are deactivated.

  • “Individual” driving mode: individual customization of the drive, transmission, AMG DYNAMICS, chassis, steering and exhaust system.

The control of vehicle dynamics also benefits from the hybrid drive. Instead of braking intervention by ESP, the electric motor can also control traction as soon as a wheel signals too much slip. To do this, the intelligent control system reduces the drive torque of the electric motor that is transferred to the wheel via the limited- slip rear differential. The result is that ESP does not have to intervene at all, or only later. Advantage: the combustion engine can thus be operated with higher torque, which both improves agility afterwards and increases efficiency. In addition, the power otherwise “lost” during braking can be used to charge the battery.

Regeneration selectable in four stages. Because the high-performance battery is always in the optimum temperature window of around 45 degrees due to direct cooling, regeneration can also be optimized; normally a battery heats up strongly at high regeneration power, so that energy recovery needs to be limited.

Regeneration starts when drivers takes their foot off the accelerator pedal, i.e. in overrun mode without touching the brake pedal. This charges the battery and creates a strong braking torque—the wheel brakes are subjected to less wear or, depending on the regeneration level and traffic situation, do not have to be applied at all. The driver can select four different regeneration levels using the right-hand AMG steering wheel button. This applies in all driving modes with the exception of “Slippery”, the energy recovery is then configured differently depending on the selected driving mode.

  • Level 0: The vehicle behaves similarly to a conventional combustion engine with manual transmission, where the clutch is disengaged, and rolls on with the least resistance when the accelerator is released. The regeneration level is very low, and only serves to maintain the vehicle's power supply. With the combustion engine switched off, friction losses in the drivetrain are reduced to a minimum.

  • Level 1: This is the standard setting at which regeneration is noticeable to the driver, and corresponds appropriately to the deceleration of a conventional combustion engine whose clutch is engaged.

  • Level 2: Stronger regeneration, the brake pedal hardly needs to be pushed when moving in traffic.

  • Level 3: Maximum energy recovery, making “one-pedal” driving possible as in an all-electric car. Depending on the driving status, more than 100 kW of power can be fed back into the battery.

On the racetrack, the driver wants to squeeze the maximum time possible out of any braking action. In “RACE” driving mode, regeneration is automatically set at level 1 to allow the most reproducible vehicle behavior possible at the limits. Another advantage of regeneration is that the vehicle does not speed up when driving down steep hills. So the system works like an engine brake, but also feeds energy into the battery.

AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine with twin-scroll turbochargers. As the new top model in the range, the AMG GT 63 S E PERFORMANCE benefits from the performance of the AMG 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine with 470 kW (630 hp) and a maximum torque of 900 N·m (664 lb-ft), which is available over a wide rpm band from 2500 to 4500 rpm. This harmonizes perfectly with the electric motor, which delivers its maximum of 320 N·m (236 lb-ft) right from the start.

Two twin-scroll turbochargers are partly responsible for the high power output, combining optimum response at low engine speeds with a high increase in power at higher engine speeds. In addition to this, the turbine housing is divided into two flow passages which run parallel to one another. Combined with two separate ducts in the exhaust manifold, this makes it possible to individually control the momentum of the exhaust gases acting on the turbine wheel.

One duct is fed by the exhaust gases of the first and second cylinders of a cylinder bank, the other by the exhaust gases of the third and fourth cylinders. The aim is to prevent the individual cylinders from having mutually adverse effects on the gas cycle. This reduces the exhaust gas back-pressure and improves the gas exchange.

Belt-driven starter-generator supplies the ancillary units. The belt-driven starter-generator (RSG) combines the alternator and starter in one component, and has an output of 10 kW (13 hp). It starts the combustion engine and ensures the basic supply of the ancillary units such as air conditioning or driving lights, for example, when the vehicle is at a traffic light and the charge level of the high-voltage battery is no longer sufficient to support the low-voltage on-board electrical system. The RSG is particularly responsive because it is integrated into the 400-volt high-voltage electrical system.

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