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Mercedes-AMG could go hybrid

Electric toaster: With ever tightening emissions laws, Mercedes may introduce a more mainstream alternative-energy AMG model, following in the footsteps of the SLS AMG Electric Drive.

No diesels or supercars from AMG but hybrids are one of 'several options'

17 Jun 2015


MERCEDES-BENZ'S growing range of hybrid-powered vehicles could soon spill into its high-performance AMG line-up, as the company explores a number of alternative power sources across all models in the fleet.

Ever tightening emissions regulations have prompted the German car-maker to investigate a whole array of different powertrains including pure electric, range-extending and plug-in hybrids, hydrogen and LPG power.

Daimler AG board member and head of Mercedes-Benz research and development Thomas Weber has previously described the plug-in S500 as the “spearhead” of the company’s hybrid strategy in an effort to reduce average fleet CO2 emissions to 95g/km by 2020, but high-performance models are likely to join it.

Speaking at the launch of the new GLE large SUV in Austria, Mercedes-AMG project leader Steffen Nowack told GoAuto the consideration of new and alternative powertrains was not just limited to its more mainstream models, and a hybrid AMG variant was a possibility.

“Our customers are buying AMG for a certain promise that we give and delivering a performance project that also transports emotions,” he said. “When we find something that suits a certain model we might dig into that a little deeper.

“We are looking in to several options that we need to focus on.

“In the future we might introduce other (powertrain) models. We have to. Today you have to think where you need to be in five or ten years time down the road.” While Mr Nowack could not give specific details of a future AMG driveline, he did point to both the efficiency and performance benefits of hybrid technology that the company had achieved in racing applications.

“Look at formula 1,” he said. “You have hybrid engines that are performing in both ways.” Mercedes hybrid vehicle battery development engineer Matthias Meier explained that customers who buy hybrid Mercedes models such as the latest GLE PHEV are not just attracted to them for their efficiency and environmental benefits.

“Our customers are having various reasons for buying these cars including the feeling of driving electrically,” he said. “The GLE500e is very powerful in hybrid so you have the very low fuel consumption and very good performance combined.

“I think it’s the second or third priority for customers that you have very low consumption.” While the performance branch of Mercedes is considering various alternative power options, diesel is not one of them, and Mr Nowack explained the sound of a petrol engine was critical to the AMG brand.

“The emotion that the car transports by sound, that’s a key fact of AMG and we are focusing on keeping that no matter which engine we’re having, he said. “That’s something the customer expects and it differentiates us from our competitors.

“We had a diesel some years in the past which was a C30 CDI and we learned from that, that our customers are more gas-engine customers.” Mr Nowack also confirmed that a successor to the recently discontinued SLS gull-winged coupe is not in the plan and the company is not considering a new halo model to bolster the AMG brand.

Instead, Mr Nowack said that the new AMG-GT coupe was generating sufficient interest and that other unique AMG vehicles upheld the exclusivity of the brand.

“The most effect I ever experienced was driving a (G63 AMG) 6x6 from a truck on to the premises,” he said. “People were opening windows and building crowds around that car. That is kind of a supercar in an unexpected way.” AMG has previously produced an all electric model with the SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive, but the 552kW/1000Nm model was sold in very limited numbers.

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