Mercedes-AMG is expanding its range of E PERFORMANCE hybrids (earlier post) to offer this AMG-exclusive technology in an SUV for the first time. The new GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE SUV offers eight distinctive drive programs provide a variety driving experiences: from serene pure electric driving to highly dynamic.
The Mercedes-AMG-exclusive hybrid powertrain in the GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE is designed for maximum performance. It combines the hand-built AMG 2.0-liter turbo engine with an Electric Drive Unit (EDU) on the rear axle to deliver a 671 hp combined system output and 752 lb-ft combined system torque.
The immediate response of the electric drive on the rear axle, fast torque build-up and rapid power delivery contribute to the vehicle’s performance. The independent hybrid layout also ensures a balanced weight distribution—benefiting driving dynamics and handling in equal measure.
Depending on the drive program and driving conditions, the electric motor boosts power and torque according to the situation. An Electric-only mode enables all-electric driving under certain conditions. The electric powertrain and 400-volt high-performance battery are AMG-exclusive in-house developments. Much like the powerpack utilized in Formula 1, the battery is specifically designed for fast power output and absorb with innovative direct cooling of the cells.
The standard active rear-axle steering, AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive and AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission with wet start-off clutch also contribute to the dynamic driving experience. Added to this are the standard AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptive adjustable damping and AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL active roll stabilization.
Hand-built AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder with electric exhaust gas turbocharger. At the heart of the new Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE is the hand-built AMG 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, which combines innovative technologies and high performance with exemplary efficiency. Known internally as M139l (l for longitudinal installation), the 469 hp engine is the most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine in the world.
In addition, the M139l is the world’s first and only series-production engine to date with an electric exhaust gas turbocharger. The system is a direct derivative of the technology the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has been using successfully in the premier class of motorsport for many years. The new form of turbocharging guarantees particularly spontaneous response across the entire rpm range. This leads to an even more dynamic driving experience.
The closed deck design of the M139l ensures high rigidity at low weight. This enables peak combustion pressures of up to 2,300 psi. The areas around the cylinders are largely closed, and the cover plate is only pierced by smaller channels for the coolant and engine oil.
Another feature of the engine is the two-stage gasoline injection. In the first stage, particularly fast and precise piezo injectors deliver the fuel into the combustion chambers at pressures of up to 2,900 psi. The second stage adds intake manifold duct injection with solenoid valves, which is needed to achieve the engine’s high power output.
The electric exhaust gas turbocharger. A 1.6-inch thin electric motor is integrated directly on the shaft of the turbocharger between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the intake side. This directly drives the shaft of the turbocharger and is electronically controlled, accelerating the compressor wheel before the exhaust gas flow takes over the drive in a conventional manner.
This significantly improves the response directly from idle speed and across the entire rpm range. The combustion engine responds more spontaneously to accelerator pedal input, while the overall driving feel is significantly more responsive. In addition, the electrification of the turbocharger enables higher torque at low rpms, which increases agility and optimizes acceleration from a standstill. Even when the driver lifts off the accelerator or brakes, the technology is able to maintain boost pressure at all times to ensure a continuously direct response.
Powered by the 400-volt high-voltage system, the electric exhaust gas turbocharger in the GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE operates at speeds of up to 175,000 rpm, which enables a very high airflow rate. The turbocharger, electric motor and power electronics are connected to the combustion engine’s cooling circuit to create an optimal temperature environment at all times.
E PERFORMANCE Hybrid with 671 hp system output and up to 752 lb-ft system torque. In the GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE, the M139l engine produces 469 hp at 6,725 rpm. The engine’s 402 lb-ft of torque is available at 5,250 – 5,500 rpm. In the performance hybrid, the 2.0-liter engine is combined with a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, a high-performance battery developed in Affalterbach and the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel-drive system. Acceleration from a standstill to 60 mph takes just 3.4 seconds and only ends at an electronically limited 171 mph.
The 201 hp electric motor is positioned on the rear axle and is integrated with an electrically shifted two-speed transmission and electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential in a compact Electric Drive Unit (EDU)—a P3 hybrid layout. The lightweight high-performance battery is also located in the rear 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 starting off from a standstill, accelerating or overtaking. The inherent design of the electric motor means that full torque is available almost instantaneously, making particularly agile acceleration possible. In addition, the driver immediately experiences a noticeable performance increase thanks to the integrated, electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential.
If wheel slip occurs at the rear axle, the drive power of the electric motor is also transferred to the front wheels as needed for more traction. The mechanical connection of the fully variable all-wheel drive makes this possible by means of the drive shaft and drive axles of the front wheels. The positioning at the rear axle improves the weight and axle load distribution in the vehicle. This forms the basis for the exemplary handling.
The AMG concept offers very high recuperation 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 up to 87 mph, which corresponds to the electric motor’s maximum speed of approximately 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 to achieve lower emissions and fuel consumption.
The AMG high-performance battery. The development of the lithium-ion energy storage system is inspired by technologies proven in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team's Formula 1™hybrid race cars. In the course of the development, the experts from the Formula 1 engine shop High Performance Powertrains (HPP) in Brixworth, UK collaborated closely with Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach. 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 high power density.
The high-performance battery in the GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE offers a capacity of 6.1 kWh, 107 hp continuous power and 201 hp peak power for ten seconds. Charging takes place via recuperation or the 3.7 kW on-board AC charger at a charging station, wallbox or household socet. The battery is designed for fast power delivery and draw rather than longest possible range.
The basis for the high performance of the AMG 400-volt battery is its innovative direct cooling system. 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 the energy storage unit gets too cold or too hot, it temporarily loses noticeable power or has to be turned down in order not to be damaged if the temperature level is too high. The consistent temperature of the battery therefore has a decisive influence on its performance, service life and safety. The AMG system is designed to ensure even heat distribution in the battery.
The battery is always within a consistent, optimum operating temperature window averaging 113 degrees Fahrenheit, no matter how often it is charged or discharged. Should the average temperature be exceeded when driving at high speeds, protection mechanisms are configured so that the maximum power can be drawn from the battery in order to subsequently lower the temperature level again through direct cooling.
Operating strategy: electric power always available. The basic operating strategy is derived from the hybrid powerpack of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 race car. As in the top class of motorsport, maximum propulsion is always available when the driver accelerates aggressively—for example, to accelerate powerfully out of corners or when overtaking. The electric power can always be called on and frequently reproduced via high recuperation performance and needs-based recharging.
The control of vehicle dynamics also benefits from the hybrid drive. Instead of braking intervention by ESP (Electronic Stability Program), the electric motor can also control traction as soon as a wheel signals too much slip. To achieve this, the intelligent control system reduces the drive torque of the electric motor, which is transmitted to the wheel via the limited-slip rear differential. As a result, ESP does not have to throttle the combustion engine, enabling the engine to be operated at higher torque. This improves agility and the otherwise reduced power can be used to charge the battery.
AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission with wet start-off clutch. Engine power is transmitted in the GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE via the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission (MCT = Multi-Clutch Transmission), in which a wet start-off clutch replaces the torque converter. It reduces weight and, due to its lower inertia, optimizes response to accelerator pedal input, especially during spurts and load changes. The extensively tuned software ensures extremely short shift times as well as fast multiple downshifts if required.
In addition, the double-declutching function in the “Sport” and “Sport+” drive programs deliver a particularly expressive shifting experience. There is also the RACE START function, which ensures optimal acceleration from a standstill. The ECO start/stop function is automatically activated in the “Comfort” drive program and the “Glide” function can be activated in “Individual” mode.
The AMG Performance 4MATIC+ fully variable all-wheel drive transmits the drive power to the road. Engine torque can be allocated continuously and as required from 50/50 between the front and rear axles up to 100% to the rear.
AMG DYNAMICS integrated with AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs. The eight AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs enable a wide range of vehicle characteristics – from efficient to dynamic. The distinct driving modes offer an individual driving experience, precisely tailored to different driving conditions.
The drive programs adjust important parameters including the response of the drive and transmission, steering characteristics, chassis damping and sound. The boost power of the electric motor also depends on the respective drive program. It can be selected via the central multimedia display or the AMG steering wheel buttons. In all drive programs, the peak power of the electric motor can be easily called up via the accelerator pedal. The haptic accelerator pedal provides a tangible pressure point that the driver’s foot must overcome.
By default, the performance hybrid starts silently (“Silent Mode”) in the “Comfort” drive program when the electric motor is switched on. In the instrument cluster, the “Ready” icon indicates 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 the vehicle is ready to drive. Slight pressure on the accelerator pedal is all it takes to set the AMG performance hybrid in motion.
“Electric”: The focus is on the electric driving experience. All-electric driving takes place from a standstill up to 78 mph, while the combustion engine remains switched off. The mechanical connection to the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ components means that all-wheel drive is always available. If the rear wheels lose grip, the power of the electric motor is also transmitted to the front wheels via the driveshaft and axles. If the battery runs down or the driver requests more power, the intelligent operating control automatically switches to the “Comfort” driving mode and the combustion engine starts up and almost imperceptibly takes over the drive power.
“Comfort”: Starting off takes place mostly in electric mode. The combustion engine and electric motor then run as the situation demands—with electric drive at low speeds, for example during city driving. During highway driving the vehicle operates as a hybrid. The maximum boost power of the electric motor is approximately 25%. Overall, the result is a harmonious and efficiency-optimized driving experience, thanks in part to the early upshifts of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission. Suspension and steering are set up for an emphasis on comfort. The focus of the control system is on energy efficiency, which reduces fuel consumption and emissions. The hallmark AMG sportiness and agility are retained.
“Battery Hold”: The combustion engine and electric motor run as the situation demands with a maximum boost of approximately 25%, as in the “Comfort” drive program. The biggest difference is the operating strategy keeps the battery state of charge constant. For example, if the battery is at 75% charge, it remains in this range in “Battery Hold”. Use of the electric motor is then limited and optimized for low power consumption, which is compensated for by recuperation. Drivers can decide when to make full use of the battery charge again simply by changing the drive program.
“Sport”: Start-off with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. More boost from the electric motor is enabled—up to approximately 65%. More agile accelerator response, shorter shift times, earlier downshifts, along with a more dynamic suspension and steering setup provide a sporty driving experience.
“Sport+”: Start-off with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. Even higher boost performance of up to 80 percent is enabled. Extremely sporty character with even more agile throttle response as well as targeted torque intervention during upshifts, with cylinder deactivation for optimum shift times. Increased idle speed for faster starting. An even more dynamic setup for suspension, steering and powertrain.
“RACE”: For highly dynamic driving on closed courses and racetracks. All parameters are configured for maximum performance. Starting off with the combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. Electric boost power of the electric motor up to 80%. Strong battery recharging at low power demand for maximum energy availability. In addition, the “Boost Mode” can be called up via the left steering wheel button. The boost power is then limited to a maximum of 30% to conserve energy reserves. These can be used on the racetrack for spontaneous power demand via kick-down and 100 percent boost power for powerful acceleration.
“Slippery”: Optimally tuned for slippery road conditions, with reduced power input and boost, as well as a flat torque curve. Electric-only driving and recuperation adjustment are deactivated.
“Individual”: Individual customization of the drive, transmission, AMG DYNAMICS, suspension, steering and exhaust system.
The integrated “AMG DYNAMICS” driving dynamics control system is added as part of the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs. This enhances the stabilizing functions of ESP with interventions to add agility to the steering characteristics and additional ESP® functions. When cornering at speed, for example, brief braking intervention at the inner rear wheel generates a defined yawing moment around the vertical axis for responsive and precise turn-in.
The extent and efficiency of these interventions depend on the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT program selected, whereby the driver can determine the set-up in “Individual” mode. ESP can be adjusted in three stages. “On” is the standard selection that offers a high level of safety, adapted to the sporty character of the overall vehicle. “Sport” allows higher drift angles, while “Off” allows the system to be switched off completely for use on closed courses and racetracks.
AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with adaptive adjustable damping. The GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE is equipped with the AMG RIDE CONTROL steel spring suspension with Adaptive Damping System. It combines sporty driving dynamics with a high level of comfort for long-distance journeys. The basis for this is provided by the front axle, with specially developed steering knuckles and suspension joints on the spring control arm, and by the rear axle, which also features elastokinematics designed for dynamic handling.
The Adaptive Damping System continuously adjusts damping at each individual wheel to the current demand, always taking into account the preselected suspension level, driving style and condition of the road surface. In addition to an improvement in ride quality and comfort, this leads, above all, to an increase in driving safety. There is a choice of three different damping maps (“Comfort,” “Sport” and “Sport+”).
Standard active roll stabilization. Another feature makes a decisive contribution to the AMG-specific tuning for high driving dynamics in the GLC 63 S E PERFORMANCE: AMG ACTIVE RIDE CONTROL active roll stabilization. Instead of conventional, rigid anti-roll bars, the system compensates body movements electromechanically. For this purpose, the anti-roll bars on the front and rear axles are divided into two parts. In the center is an electromechanical actuator in which a three-stage planetary gear is integrated. When the road surface is uneven or the driving style is moderate, the actuator actively separates the stabilizer halves, which increases driving comfort. During dynamic driving the halves join together and are twisted against each other.
Moreover, the system not only reduces rolling movements when cornering, but also allows more precise tuning of the steering and load cycle behavior. In addition, it increases ride comfort when driving in a straight line as one-sided road imperfections are balanced out. Movements in the body can be actively and optimally adjusted to the driving conditions. This allows the driver to experience the hallmark AMG driving characteristics in terms of dynamics, precision and feedback even more intensively.
To meet the high-performance requirements, the system is based on an additional 48-volt electrical system subnetwork. Another advantage compared to usual hydraulic-based systems is the significantly faster response. Added to this is the lower weight of the components compared to hydraulic solutions.
Three-stage AMG speed-sensitive steering and standard rear-axle steering. The three-stage AMG speed-sensitive steering system features a variable steering geometry ratio that adapts to the selected drive program. At high speeds, the steering power assistance decreases; at low speeds it is steadily increased. As a result, comparatively little steering effort is required at low speeds, as well as when maneuvering and parking, while the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained when driving at speed. In the “Sport” and “Sport+” suspension settings, the steering wheel also provides significantly more feedback to the driver.
Active rear-axle steering is also equipped standard. It operates with a maximum steering angle of 2.5°. Up to this point, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds of up to 62 mph (variable depending on the AMG DYNAMICS setting). This virtually shortens the wheelbase, which in turn results in significantly more agile turn-in, less steering effort and improved maneuverability. For example, the turning circle is noticeably reduced when turning or parking. At speeds above 62 mph (variable depending on the AMG DYNAMICS setting), the rear wheels turn in parallel to the front wheels—up to a maximum of 0.7°.
This virtual extension of the wheelbase has a positive effect on driving stability, leads to a faster build-up of lateral force when changing direction, allowing the vehicle to respond more directly to steering commands. The response of the rear-axle steering depends on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive program.