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Mercedes-AMG Has Big Plans For Plug-In Hybrids

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Mild hybrids are not good enough for AMG.

Perhaps only a decade or so ago, the very thought of high-performance, German-built automotive rockets coming equipped with electrification technology seemed outright ludicrous. The word 'hybrid' was associated with cars like the Toyota Prius and the non-enthusiasts who drove them. Not anymore. Today, electrification is the name of the game and automakers everywhere are on board. Mercedes-AMG is no exception.

Speaking to Autocar, Mercedes' head of external affairs for emissions, Frank Overmeyer, confirmed that the high-performance division will soon be the latest recipient of the automaker's EQ Power system, meaning plug-in hybrid models are coming. The updated plan now calls for the first Mercedes-AMG PHEV to launch in 2020.

These vehicles will feature the EQ Boost 48 volt starter/generator that's capable of delivering an additional 22 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. "All the AMG vehicles will be available in the future with plug-in hybrids as an option," said Overmeyer. "Mild hybrid is not the strategy of AMG, because the emissions savings are too small." Currently, the mild hybrids offered by Mercedes include the CLS 53 and E53, but neither are, of course, all-out AMG models.

The EQ Power brand is already being offered as PHEV variants of the C-, E, and S-Class. The GLC and GLE are due to arrive shortly. So it makes sense to scale that tech with high-performance variants not only as a way to increase output, but also to keep the automaker's overall emissions in check. It's a win-win.

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Customers have also warmed up to buying an expensive performance vehicle with electrification. Those customers also expect to see some sort of added value with electrification above what's offered on non-AMG models. They'll be happy to learn they'll benefit from the modified EQ Power+, a tuned version of the regular system with Formula 1 tech. The downside, though we doubt not everyone will see it that way, is that some range will be sacrificed for the added performance.

"The battery itself and the application, including the electric motor, will be the same, and you can have a significant boost (in performance) that will reduce the range, but the experience will be better," Overmeyer added. Above all, Overmeyer emphasized that AMG models will remain an essential component of Mercedes' lineup. "They are the technical icons of our brand."

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