There was a time when a fast or performance focussed four-door luxury sedan would be a description befitting the likes of the BMW M5 or the Mercedes-Benz AMG E63. Then Porsche joined the fast luxury game with the Panamera that packed more speed and more luxury, especially in its latest avatar. So, Mercedes built an AMG-specific four-door to compete in this new tier of luxury performance sedans and built the GT 63 S 4-Door Coupe which proved itself to be faster than the Porsche around the Nürburgring Nordschleife. This is the newest and most powerful version of the AMG sedan: the GT 63 S E Performance.
It has a total output of 831hp and 1470Nm being sent to all four wheels via a 9-speed AMG shifter. The full name is a bit of a mouthful, much like the Panamera’s top-spec model (Turbo S E-Hybrid). The new ‘E Performance’ bit refers to Mercedes’ F1-derived hybrid technology that is key to this 201hp jump in performance. It adds a permanently excited synchronous electric motor on the rear axle to work in combination with the 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 at the front. This layout is also called a P3 hybrid. The combustion engine alone makes 630hp and 900Nm. Mercedes claims a 0-100kph sprint time of 2.9 seconds, up to 200kph in under ten seconds and a top speed of 316kph.
The motor is powered by a 6.1kWh high-performance battery that is capable of containing high power density, deploying it quickly, and fast energy regeneration. This electric drive unit is all about performance to deliver extra power and torque on demand, repeatedly. It’s light too at just 89kg, considering the amount of performance it can offer. In pure EV mode, the GT 63 S E-Perf can only manage 12km of range which is just enough to get in and out of a residential area where Affalterbach’s monstrous V8 would be too much to handle.
But like everything electric, there’s a slight catch. The electric motor is capable of a peak output of 201hp (150kW) and 320Nm. but only for a ten-second stretch. Its continuous output is less than half of that at 94hp (70kW) but it is still immediate which is quite a shove when you factor in the added torque as well. In fairness, people aren’t getting the most out of their combustion engines at all times either since the peak performance figures are reached only at certain RPMs. Even with the electric motor at half capacity, the AMG GT 63 S E Perf packs a whopping 724hp and over 1000Nm!
Mercedes also had to work hard on the cooling system of its battery pack in order to achieve the kind of consistent performance expected from the most powerful AMG model yet. It uses a new type of coolant, 14 litres of it, to flow around all 560 cells to cool them individually. The objective is to not only cool the batteries but maintain a consistent, optimum operating temperature of around 45-degrees Celsius. This also ensures the longevity of the high-performance battery.
The GT 63 S E Performance offers seven driving modes that offer different levels of performance to vary between a comfortable or sporty driving experience. The battery-regen also has four stages with the max-regen mode (Level 3) offers enough engine braking for “one-pedal driving” and can recuperate over 100kW of power. As the top-end of the AMG GT 4-door range, it features the AMG Ride Control+ air suspension with adaptive damping and automatic level control. It also has the AMG dynamics control system to manage the electronic stability program, the limited-slip rear e-diff, and the optimal distribution of power through its all-wheel-drive system. As a hefty beast, the top-spec GT 4-door is also equipped with carbon-ceramic brake discs for sufficient stopping power.
There isn’t much to visually distinguish the new GT 63 S E Performance from the regular GT 63 S. It has a slightly different front bumper that looks more like the AMG GT sports car with the outer air intakes wider and vertical slats. Around the rear, its bumper now has a flap for the electric drive unit’s charging port. It gets the same pair of externally fluted trapezoidal twin exhaust pipes as the non-hybrid GT 63 S. There’s also an E Performance badge on the front fenders under the iconic V8 Biturbo badging.
Inside the cabin, the AMG models seem dated in comparison to the likes of the latest S-Class or the EQS where the entire dash is made up of screens. Still, the AMG GT 63 S E Performance 4-door is fully equipped with the integrated twin-screen setup for the driver’s display and the MBUX infotainment system. It also gets hybrid-specific menus and displays for information such as the power flow of the whole drivetrain, battery temperature, power consumption, and output of the electric motor. If you opt for the optional rear screen package, those occupants can monitor this info too. There’s also plenty of carbon fibre around the cabin to remind you that this large and luxurious sedan is a performance machine. The AMG steering wheel with the double-decker spokes is loaded with controls for the drive modes, infotainment system, driver’s display and even the braking regen setting. I’m willing to wager that this AMG steering wheel is more cluttered and more complicated than a Ferrari steering wheel. But the key aspects that control the vehicle’s performance are controlled via two additional dials on the steering wheel, with beautifully machined paddle shifters behind it, and that’s all you need to focus on while pushing this hunky beast to its limit.
Mercedes haven’t announced the delivery timelines or starting prices for this version of the AMG GT 4-door Coupe. But based on the pricing of the current models, the GT 63 S E Performance 4-door will likely start at around £160,000 and the 690hp Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid starts from just under £142,000.
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