Beginning in 2021, every Mercedes-AMG vehicle will have some form of electrification.
Things are getting tough for performance vehicle manufacturers. Emissions standards are getting tighter and tighter, and every time a regulation gets stricter the job of a Mercedes-AMG engineer becomes that much harder.
To get maximum performance out of an engine, a car manufacturer would prefer to not have to worry about things like emissions. So what if a little unburned gasoline goes through an engine so long as it makes a bajillion horsepower?
Well, governments care. That’s why Mercedes-AMG is going down the route of gradual electrification for their vehicles.
In an interview with Road & Track at the 2019 New York Auto Show, the head of AMG Tobias Moers said that the future of the brand is in hybrid electric powertrains.
"Initially, we kicked it off for the 63 engines for the GLE and GLS, and now we've brought it to [the GLS 580]. It's part of the future,” he said. “At the beginning of 2021, there will be no car launched without an electrified powertrain. We're heading fast in that direction ... I think the share of electrified powertrains is going to be higher in the performance segments than in other segments in 2025. It's the key to bringing that segment to the future."
AMG’s first success in the electric powertrain department was in the E 53. It had a 3.0-L turbocharged straight-six with a 48v electric motor built into the crankshaft. The ISG makes 21 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and helps to get the car moving from a standstill.
There’s also the problem of turbo lag. The E 53 solved that with an Electric Auxiliary Compressor, which basically amounts to an electric supercharger. The compressor kicks in at low revs where the turbocharger isn’t operating at full capacity, helping to smooth out the E 53’s power curve.
A similar system is found in the recently released GLS 580 SUV, although it ditches the compressor and uses a V8 instead of a straight-six.
There’s no battery pack and thus no pure-electric range, so you could consider this a “mild” hybrid system. Moers said that new 45-series models won’t have this same mild hybrid system, but the upcoming 65-series models will.