The next generation of performance cars from Mercedes will all feature electricity.
While the 2019 New York Auto Show mainly featured SUV and crossover debuts, one of those reveals hints at an important shift for future sports cars. Mercedes-Benz showed off its gargantuan GLS SUV, which in GLS580 form is powered by an AMG-designed 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. However, this V8 is also mated to a 48-volt electric motor that's hooked up to the crankshaft to create a mild-hybrid system. Road & Track caught up with the head of AMG, Tobias Moers, at the show to speak on the future of AMG, and what role this hybridized V8 might play.
While the first hybridized AMG models have already arrived in the form of the mid-range 53-series found on the E-Class, CLS-Class, and GLE-Class model lines, AMG is looking to take this one step further. While the 53-series cars use a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six with the 48-volt system, expect to see the V8 mild-hybrid begin to spread through the lineup as well.
"The development was done by us, including the 48-volt system,” noted Moers. AMG is clearly proud of its early hybrid attempts, with Moers revealing that "at the beginning of 2021, there will be no car launched without an electrified powertrain.” With AMG seeking to electrify its whole lineup, Moers predicts that "the share of electrified powertrains is going to be higher in the performance segments than in other segments in 2025.”
AMG is also, of course, working on a hybrid system for the One hypercar. This complicated setup uses the Formula 1-based 1.6-liter V6 hybrid, which features an electric turbocharger, an electric motor on the crankshaft, and an electric motor powering each front wheel. While the One is out of most people’s price range, Moers also discussed more affordable future AMG hybrids, such as a hybridized version of the GT 4-door. The original concept had an electric motor on the front axle, and Moers confirmed that this will eventually reach production.
He also suggested that the hybrid V8 with electric front axle setup could become the future of the 65-series models now that AMG’s 6.0-liter V12 is sadly biting the dust. While Moers confirmed that the four-cylinder 45 models will not be hybrid, he didn’t reveal anything about the 63-series, and we can’t wait to see what shape they take in their next generation.