AMG promised something big for the first model in its new E Performance sports hybrid line, and the 2023 Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance certainly fits that billing. Combining the fan-favorite 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gas engine with an electric motor makes for a whopping 843 horsepower along with a complex all-wheel drive system.
The German automaker’s tuning division revealed its first plans for E Performance hybrids earlier in the year, promising more details – and the unveil of the first model in the series – later in 2021. Unlike most gas-electric pairings, the goal here is speed and not simply electric range.
The V8 is at the front, driving the front axle. It contributes 639 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque, the latter arriving between 2,500 to 4,500 rpm. Driving the rear wheels, meanwhile, is an electric motor, with 204 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. Each half of the drivetrain actually gets its own transmission: a 9-speed AMG Speedshift MCT 9G for the gas, and a two-speed gearbox with electronically controlled limited-slip differential for the electric.
Together, total system power is a hefty 843 hp and more than 1,033 lb-ft of torque. 0-60 mph arrives in an estimated 2.9 seconds, and top speed is 196 mph.
The 6.1 kWh battery pack is mounted at the rear, with the electric motor, for better weight balance. It’s only good for an estimated 7 miles of EV range, but AMG puts it to far better use elsewhere. Because the electric torque arrives instantly, it’s available long before the gas engine turbos have spooled up. Throw in the differential, and Mercedes has better control over what power goes to which rear wheel.
However, there’s also a mechanical lineage between the front and the rear. The AMG Performance 4MATIC+ system means the electric motor can actually push power to the front wheels, using the prop shaft and drive shafts. That’s managed depending on traction needs.
There are a total of seven AMG Dynamic Select drive modes: Electric, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, RACE, Slippery, and Individual; the latter allows for custom configurations of different aspects of the drivetrain. A rocker switch in the center console notches between them, as does a display-knob on the steering wheel.
The default is Comfort, the drivetrain starting up silently and the hybrid balancing gas and electric power for the smoothest possible experience. Electric mode works between 0-80 mph, for as long as the battery has power; once it’s depleted, the system switches to Comfort mode.
Sport and Sport+ are where things promise to get interesting. Different levels of enthusiast tuning, with more dynamic configurations for the suspension, steering, and powertrain, rely on bursts of electric power to accompany the V8 and fill in any torque gaps. In RACE mode, meanwhile, that’s made even more aggressive, with full electric boost along with the maximum V8 power.
RACE mode also makes maximum use of regeneration, so as to ensure there’s always electric power available. There are four levels on offer, from mimicking a traditional combustion engine with manual transmission with very low regen, through Level 1 with levels alike a combustion engine with the clutch engaged, and Level 2 which cuts out most braking in traffic. Finally, Level 3 is one-pedal driving, with more than 100 kW of power potentially being fed back to the battery.
For external charging, the 196 pound battery is directly cooled for more efficient use – the same system also ensures more power is available when driving. A 3.7 kW AC charger is standard, though no DC fast charging support.
Elsewhere, there’s familiar AMG tech. AMG Ride Control+ multi-chamber air suspension and adaptive electronically-controlled adjustable damping is standard, though for the first time with two pressure relief valves. One handles rebound damping, the other compression damping, delivering a wider spread between the most comfortable and the most aggressive settings.
For stability, there are AMG Dynamics Basic, Advanced, Pro, and Master modes. That controls how the handling and stability are set up.
Finally, there are AMG ceramic high-performance composite brakes, with 6-piston fixed calipers at the front and 1-piston floating calipers at the rear, as standard. The front discs are 17×2 inches; the rear are 15×1 inches.
AMG wraps the whole thing in the now-familiar aesthetic of the AMG GT four-door coupe. The front gets a two-door GT-inspired bumper, with wider outer air intakes. The rear has a new bumper too, the charging flap, and externally-fluted trapezoidal twin tailpipes. 20- and 21-inch light alloy wheels are optional, in two colors, and there are four matte paints, five metallics, and two non-metallics. AMG also offers seven paints in the extended customization range, and options like the AMG Night Package II and Carbon Package.
Inside, there’s a choice of nappa leather in titanium grey pearl and black with contrasting yellow topstitching, or truffle brown and black with diamond stitching. AMG also offers five other leather colors: brown, red, blue, white, and grey. The widescreen digital cockpit is standard, with MBUX and AMG-specific displays. An optional rear seat display can show metrics like power and torque.
What remains to be seen is just how much all this will cost. Mercedes-AMG has a while to decide that, since the GT 63 S E Performance will arrive in the US as a model year 2023 car. That suggests a release late in calendar 2022, with a six-figure price tag almost guaranteed.