Daimler's performance subsidiary AMG is facing the greatest upheaval in its company's history. When entering e-mobility, it is important to bring high performance and low emissions under one roof.
AMG models have their roots in racing. The Daimler performance brand not only announces this on its homepage, but also the powerful vehicles clearly document this through their appearance: thick exhaust pipes, powerful air inlets, lowered bodies, large diffusers and, last but not least, thundering eight and twelve-cylinder engines. Power, macho, masculinity. The demand for luxury and performance remains high. Last year, despite the global pandemic, AMG was able to sell 125.129 units, almost as many as in the record year 2019 (132.136 vehicles). In the USA, the largest Affalterbach brand, a new record was recorded. Likewise in China (plus 32 percent). It is hard to imagine that the relevant “Petrol Heads” customers are seriously dealing with the topic of electromobility in any way, let alone identifying with it.
You will have to do it though. Because even a brand like AMG cannot ignore the Brussels CO2 requirements in the long term and is therefore forced to electrification. AMG is still miles away from making a positive contribution to the Mercedes emissions account. The CO2 emissions in the performance portfolio only start at 165 and go up to 330 g / km. The plug-in hybrids and EQ models from the Stuttgart parent company have to try to compensate for these values to a large extent.
The next few years are therefore likely to be a balancing act for AMG. The traditional V8 and V12 clientele, for whom sheer power and the vibrating engine sound are pure emotions, must not be alienated. On the other hand, it is important to introduce new customers to the advantages of electric drives. According to Philipp Schiemer, you should experience AMG as a “performance luxury brand of the 21st century”. "We are transporting our DNA into an electric future," said the AMG boss, and recently presented a strategy for this. It is based on two pillars: high-performance hybrids on the one hand, and fully electric EQ derivatives of the luxury and upper class on the other.
It is not the first time that AMG has dealt with battery cells instead of racing cars. Seven years ago, the SLS AMG Electric Drive was put on wheels, a sports car with four electric motors, all-wheel drive and 751 hp. However, it remained with a few copies.
Now the subject should be approached more seriously. Initially via so-called performance hybrids with a completely independent drive concept that was developed in-house in Affalterbach. These models are called "E-Performance". At the front under the hood it remains with the classic combustion engine, but on the rear axle there is an electric drive unit with up to 150 kW / 204 PS and 320 Nm, including a two-speed gearbox and limited-slip differential, known in specialist circles as a P3 hybrid. A particularly light and powerful battery has also been developed. Their energy density is twice as high as that of conventional lithium-ion batteries.
AMG is starting this summer with the four-door GT. It uses P3 technology in conjunction with the popular four-liter V8 biturbo. AMG boss Schiemer promises outputs of up to 600 kW / 816 hp and over 1.000 Nm of torque, more than ever before. Things are similar with the new C-Class (W 206). Here, however, the eight-cylinder has had its day. The successor to the legendary C 63 now has a two-liter four-cylinder (M 139), adapted from the A 45 and equipped with an RSG starter generator and electric turbocharger, derived from the AMG hypercar ONE. To keep C-63 V8 fans in a good mood, one lures with 480 kW, 653 PS according to the old calculation and significantly more agile driving dynamics.
The modular P3 concept can be rolled out over several series. The next SL and S-Class as well as the large SUVs should primarily benefit from the V8-E performance. And what fits under the new C-Class as an R4-E performance hybrid is also perfectly compatible with the next GLC and its coupé derivative.
For pillar number two, AMG is using the upcoming EQ models and starting with the EQS. With the luxury liner you want to offer performance at the level of an S 63, at least including all-wheel drive and a top of 250 km / h. The AMG engineers also take care of an adequate noise level for the electric drive. Loudspeakers, shakers and sound generators should help. So that with zero emissions, at least the emotions don't fall by the wayside.