Can AMG still be special without a special engine?
Mercedes' 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is a huge part of what makes AMG cars feel special. The engine, codenamed the M178, produces anywhere from 469 to 630 horsepower as well as one of the best exhaust notes you will ever hear, sending its grunt out to either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. It is so good, in fact, Aston Martin felt it was worthy to use in several of its sports cars and its upcoming SUV.
But are AMG cars only special because of the V8, or can they still feel unique without having an engine at all? Speaking with Mercedes-Benz CEO Ola Kallenius at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, Autocar learned we may soon receive an AMG without an engine.
Mercedes has experimented with building an all-electric AMG car in the past. It was called the SLS AMG Electric Drive and it was a 740-horsepower, limited production, all-electric version of the SLSL Gullwing. Powered by four electric motors, one on each wheel, the electric SLS was one of the quickest EVs available back in 2013 with a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds. Unfortunately, Mercedes sold fewer than 100 of them, it was priced over $500,000, and could only go around 160 miles on a charge.
Despite the limited success of the electric SLS, Mercedes thinks it may soon be time for another all-electric AMG model. "We have to get to the point where the means of propulsion is not considered important because AMG is all about the experience of customers," Källenius said. "That is why we are starting to work not just on electrified AMGs but also our first fully electric AMGs."
Rumors of electric AMG models have been circulating for a while now, with many claiming the first production model will be an all-electric version of the AMG GT sports car. With the Tesla Roadster set to grace the roads in the future, AMG might be smart to compete with an electric sports car of its own. Kallenius did not confirm what the first electric AMG car will be based on but the AMG GT seems like a nice starting point.