Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance review: 831bhp PHEV tested

Did you lean on your keyboard and type a series of random letters?

No, but point made: Merc’s naming strategy seems to be turning into bullshit. Break it down and what we’re looking at here is the most powerful model ever produced by a company that doesn’t shy away from a few chapters. It’s the long-awaited plug-in hybrid version of the AMG GT 4-door, and it laughs in the general direction of its closest rival, the Porsche Panamera Turbo S e-Hybrid.

While the Panamera produces a whopping 671bhp, the larger AMG-specific model gets a whopping 831bhp, a 0-62mph time of 2.9 seconds (which is on par with the Ferrari 296 GTB) and a top speed of 196mph. . And priced at £173,655. Big sip.

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And he did… how?

By combining the power of a 630-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with a 201-hp electric motor for a total of 831 hp and 1,084 lb-ft of torque. Simple, right? Kind of… it’s the first model to use AMG’s performance-focused modular plug-in hybrid system, which accommodates different battery sizes and runs on non-V8 engines. Psssst: It’s the same toolkit that will power AMG’s 2.0 turbo in the new C63 four-cylinder plug-in due later this year.

While most hybrids put the electric motor between the engine and gearbox, here it sits on the rear axle with the 6.1 kWh battery on top for a 50/50 front/rear weight distribution. fifty. The electric motor sends its power through a two-speed gearbox (so you can keep pulling your weight at higher speeds) and an electronically controlled rear differential. Merc’s 4MATIC+ 4WD system means the front axle can put down the electric motor and engine power when it needs it. There’s also a drift mode if you want to be on good terms with your local tire dealer.

Doesn’t this battery look very big?

It’s because it isn’t. In EV mode, a full charge will last around seven miles at speeds up to 81 mph, but that’s not really what the battery is designed for: it’s there to enhance performance and maximize fun. An engineer suggested they might have skipped the ‘plug in’ functionality altogether, but charging sometimes means free parking, so they left it. Intelligent boy.

The battery itself weighs 89kg, has twice the energy density of a normal plug-in hybrid and represents a true transfer of F1 technology as it has been designed to charge and discharge extremely quickly. The key to this is direct liquid cooling that circulates around the 560 cells and prevents overheating. Cells can be operated up to 45 degrees without loss of performance; 20 degrees is standard.

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The battery management strategy is all about making sure you have the full 831 hp available, whether you’re blasting a backroad or a fast lap on the track. Thus, in Comfort mode, you will aim for the charge level not to drop much below 25%. In the race (there are also Sport, Sport+, Slippery and Individual modes), it is 80%. You can reduce it to 60 or 70, but the motor will complete the brake regeneration in the background to restore battery levels.


This does. We’ve had a few six-lap stretches on the track and watching the yo-yo’s battery charge level is fascinating. For example, just doing a few easy warmup laps and keeping the revs above 3000rpm got the charge level up by around 50-80%, setting the car up for all hell. It’s in the slower corners that the drive is felt the most, supporting the screeching V8 with an undercurrent of torque. On the straights, it’s just a quick full stop. Does that sound like 831bhp? Probably not, but this is a well-insulated 2.4-tonne car, not a carbon-backed supercar, which means you quickly get used to the breakneck speed…

Which can be a problem when you come into a corner too fast, because physics is physics and understeer is understeer. This is truly a car where you brake early (to charge the battery and mitigate a colossal crash), be patient, and drive smoothly. He tries to rough her up and she can warp into all sorts of new and interesting ways. After a few quick laps the carbon-ceramic brakes had good grip, but the tires were starting to give out. Time your throttle and steering inputs correctly and you get a few degrees of oversteer, a nitrous boost from the batteries, and that roaring V8 up front. It is a force of nature.

Yes, but who is going to buy one and start on the right track?

Precisely no one, so it’s good news that your true talents and advantages are in the way. This is where you can really explore the multiple personalities, where you can take advantage of the quick, ultra-precise steering that, at least at normal speeds, makes you think it’s snappier than it is. . It’s also satisfying to drive through the center of a city and switch to EV mode for a few miles. He feels more socially acceptable these days, and he always gets out of line, even with the engine off.

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Put it in Comfort mode for a section of motorway and it drives wonderfully, no component feeling even remotely stressed, least of all the driver. It’s the kind of car that begs you for big miles. But then you turn around in a B-road and Sport or Sport+ sharpens everything up a bit, including the drive. It feels like a good AMG with a bit of an edge, and you start using the e-boost instead of just noticing its contribution through the screen in front of you. You don’t stomp, but instead you hit the throttle and slide down that bottomless sink of torque.

Put it in Race and the ride is too firm for the road, but you don’t care because there’s a nice growl in the engine, first vigilance, then a hammer blow in performance that leaves you bemused. It’s a lot of fun, especially since you can have the kids and a stack of bags in the back if you want.

It sounds powerful. Disadvantages?

The nine-speed gearbox, a sequential rather than a dual-clutch automatic, feels a bit sluggish when you really push it and need instant downshifts, but it’s fine with it the rest of the time. There’s also a new three-stage selectable regeneration dial on the steering wheel, which feels more natural in its central setting, but you’ll find yourself dialing it all the way up and taking off on descents just to see the percentage of battery charge. increase.

For £173,000 it doesn’t look much different…

I agree. You’d expect more than just modified front and rear bumpers and E Performance badging on the fenders, but there you have it. It’s a stealth plane instead of a Spitfire covered in war paint.

It’s worth it?

That’s a lot of money, but the battery technology is really cutting edge and bodes well for the more affordable C63 add-on coming later this year, plus it covers a lot of bases. An electric car one minute, an agri-food supercar the next, and in between, a practical four-door family car with long legs. Hitting the 35.8mpg and 180g/km figures claimed by Merc? There’s no chance… but you’ll have a lot of fun trying.

Mercedes-AMG GT 63 SE Performance frontMercedes-AMG GT 63 SE Performance rearMercedes-AMG GT 63 SE gets performance

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