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Mercedes-AMG outlines E Performance hybrid, all-electric powertrains

Mercedes-AMG has revealed its next-generation of electrified powertrains. Dubbed E Performance, these include a range of hybrid and all-electric powertrains developed in-house. The hybrid systems, which are based on four- and eight-cylinder engines, will be paired to AMG’s latest 4Matic+ AWD system and the Speedshift nine-speed automatic transmission. The lightweight battery is mounted just above the rear axle.

The layout of the hybrid system is unique because it mounts the electric motor with 201 hp and 236 lb-ft of torque in the rear axle where it also gets paired to a two-speed transmission. To further improve power delivery, AMG has added an electronically-controlled locking rear differential to send maximum torque to each rear wheel depending on the situation. If the rear wheels can’t get much traction, the electric motor can also turn the front wheels.

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Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

AMG’s in-house-built 6.1-kWh lithium-ion battery was developed with high power and low weight in mind. The high-power density and quick energy absorption also allow the powertrain to regenerate faster. Individual cooling for all 560 cells using 14 liters of nonconductive liquid that also flows through an oil/water heat exchanger helps keep battery temperatures low during extreme heat and provides consistent performance.

Electric power is always available in AMG’s new hybrid powertrains, meaning you always have access to maximum propulsion. Each of the six drive modes has its unique operation.

Comfort starts off using only the electric motor for propulsion for most city driving and only calls on the powertrain’s full power during highway driving. The transmission also upshifts earlier to maximize efficiency.

Electric mode keeps the car in EV mode up to 130 km/h or 80 mph and will mainly stay in RWD mode unless extra traction is needed. The car will automatically switch to Comfort mode if the battery charge is depleted.

Sport keeps the engine and electric motor active, allowing the powertrain to respond quickly when you want to accelerate. The throttle response and shift times get quicker while the suspension and steering are sharpened. Sport Plus mode builds on Sport by further quickening throttle response and gear changes, adding cylinder blanking during upshifts, and increased idle speed so you can pull away faster. The suspension, steering, and drivetrain are also configured for more precise responses.

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Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

Race mode configures everything in full attack mode, perfect for a closed course. You also get strong regeneration if the battery charge gets low. Individual mode allows the driver to create his/her configuration by customizing every mode from the transmission and exhaust to the suspension and drivetrain.

In addition to propulsion, the electric motor is also used for regulating traction as soon as a wheel slips. This allows the powertrain to operate more efficiently while harvesting energy from what would be lost if the wheel continues to slip.

AMG Dynamics, which influences the reaction of the stability and traction controls, the AWD system, and the locking rear differential, enables the car to determine how the driver wants it to react. Its separate modes are tied to every drive mode and can also be personalized in Individual Mode. Basic, which is assigned to Comfort and Electric modes, emphasizes high yaw damping and stability. Advanced is tied with Sport mode and reduces yaw damping and more agile responses on winding roads while still retaining the car’s neutral balance. Pro is coupled with Sport Plus mode and enhances agility and feedback from cornering while adding more assistance to the driver. Master is paired with Race mode and it allows for more oversteer, and quicker turn-in and steering responses. However, it requires you to turn off the stability and traction control systems.

Brake energy regeneration has four levels: 0 to 3. Keeping it at 0 allows the car to work as a normal gas-powered car. From there the regeneration intensity increases with level 3 allowing for one-pedal driving. In Race mode, brake energy regeneration is kept at level 1.

When you put everything together, AMG’s latest hybrid system is capable of making over 800 hp and 737 lb-ft of torque. We’re suspecting this is the V8-based version that will be used in the 73 series AMG models, which will include the next-generation SL roadster and the AMG GT 4-Door Coupe.

Some vehicles, however, won’t get the bonkers V8-based hybrid system. They’ll get one using a 2.0-liter turbo-four, instead. However, that doesn’t mean you’re going to miss out because AMG says this unit is capable of producing the same power as existing V8 engines. Dubbed the M139, this engine is already in use in the 45 series models and will see its first longitudinal application when it gets electrified. An electric exhaust-gas turbocharger allows for quick responses thanks to the electric motor spinning the turbines before the exhaust gas flow takes over. The electric motor also allows the turbocharger to keep spinning when the driver eases off the accelerator. A 400-volt onboard power supply unit operates the turbocharger and is linked to the engine’s temperature cooling circuits to create the best possible environments and keep the electronic bits cool.

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Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

In its current iterations, the 2.0-liter turbo-four is good for 382 hp in the standard 45 models and up to 416 hp in the 45 S models that North America doesn’t get. It appears Mercedes-AMG has bumped the output even more because it now claims the engine can make up to 442 hp on its own. When paired with the 201-hp electric motor, that’s a whopping 643 hp between the two propulsion. The AMG variant of the 2022 C-Class will be the first to get this new four-cylinder-based hybrid powertrain.

Beyond hybrids, Mercedes-AMG is also working on all-electric powertrains for use in high-performance variants of the upcoming EQ models. Mercedes says that they’ll be wearing the 43 and 53 badges, meaning they’ll be the middle child before a more potent version comes. These performance variants will get dual-motor layouts with a variable AWD system that features modular torque distribution. The brand says both electric motors can rival the power output of the existing 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8. This allows for 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 4.0 seconds depending on the power output and vehicle type, and a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph).

Other changes include a specific wiring harness for the 400-volt lithium-ion battery to accommodate the higher performance potential of AMG models. The AMG Ride Control+ adaptive suspension system is tuned for optimum longitudinal and lateral dynamics in all-electric applications. AMG also added the I-Booster function, which blends regenerative and mechanical braking during deceleration.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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