It might be just a show car at this stage, but expect to see a production version of the four-door Mercedes-AMG GT as early as next year - though it probably won’t be the full-strength V8 hybrid we see here in concept form.
The four- or five-seat GT car will most likely launch in 2018 with the latest V8 petrol engine and electric motor, but it probably won’t be a full-blown performance hybrid, according to Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH, Tobias Moers.
“It’s not very predictable as to what’s going to happen beyond 2020, but we do have a close link to electrified cars. We had our SLS electric car and gained a lot of experience from that program, and with the GT Concept, we have a performance hybrid.
“This is our definition of electrified power for AMG. It’s different from Mercedes-Benz hybrids. So this is what we think how we can use electric powertrains, but still using a V8 with more than 600HP. But then we add additional power from an electric motor, which we assemble at AMG, and attach to the rear axle, though with power going to all four wheels.
“It will even have a drift mode, that’s mandatory, even the wagon will have that”, he added.
The GT Concept uses an ‘EQ Power+’ modular battery concept with a combination of powerful yet light batteries. Mercedes-AMG doesn’t specify a range, only to say it’s “impressive”. It’s also quick, with enough power to send the car from standstill to 100km/h in less than three seconds.
“You know that car is coming to the market next year. At first, not as performance hybrid, because we still have things to sort out, to develop and to engineer. We would expect to use a different battery that offers a greater range than a more focused version of the car.
“That’s because the battery pack in a performance hybrid is different. You need different cells and different approach to cooling. If you run a performance hybrid, you put more power in and pull more power out, so you need a more efficient cooling system”, Moers added.
There’s also strong interest in the next generation of straight-six engines by AMG, with Moers indicating that he’s excited by the performance possibilities of this powertrain.
“We’re definitely excited by the newly-developed 3.0-litre straight-six, it’s a cool engine, but when you put that into an AMG approach – what we demand out of a powertrain, and we still have plenty of work to do.
“But it’s not that far away, less than a year away, I expect, though I can’t say which model. I can say that it will be significantly more powerful than the Mercedes-AMG 43 models.”
Moers also said that they would continue with the 43 models, meaning AMG might continue with the V6 in those models, while adopting an entirely new nomenclature for the new turbocharged straight-six engine models.
He also hinted at the possibility of using a combination of turbocharger and electric supercharger, much like Audi has used in the SQ7 SUV.
“I think everyone in our industry is working on electric compressors to work with turbocharging, included us, because our Formula One engine uses electrified turbochargers.
"They have a split turbine and compressor and in between the central axle is an engine and an electric motor, which is exactly what we’re going to use on the hypercar project – Project 1”.