At the Monteblanco Circuit, near Seville in Spain, the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 SE Performance unleashes its combined 831 horsepower and 1,084 lb-ft of torque with discouraging aplomb.
And if the torque value is variable rather than fixed, it is due to the complexity of the high-performance hybrid system developed by AMG to serve this new GT, which is becoming the most powerful production car in the brand’s history.
In front of me is Bernd Schneider, a multiple DTM champion who now also drives a GT 63 SE Performance, leading me through this circuit of more than 4.1 km with nine corners and several elevation changes. The aim of this first series of laps is to master the “F1 strategy” developed by AMG to optimize the performance of this GT’s electrical system, which is identical to that used by an F1 driver in qualifying. On the first lap, the goal is to recharge the battery by going a little slower and taking advantage of regenerative braking to fill up with electrons.
After that, we drive two laps, making full use of all the incredible power and torque of this hybrid engine, which consists of a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine with 630 hp. and an electric motor with a capacity of 201 hp. from a 6.1 kWh battery that discharges at an incredible rate, delivering 70 kW of continuous power and up to 150 kW in 10 seconds.
This is followed by a cooling lap during which the battery charges very quickly as its charge level increased from 54% to 76% in a 4.1km lap.
Incredible discharge and charge speed
Entirely developed in-house and manufactured by AMG, this battery weighs 89kg, has 560 cells and is liquid-cooled to maintain an optimum temperature of 45 degrees.
The battery is located on the rear axle, as is the electric motor and two-speed gearbox. Remarkably, the rear-mounted electric motor can also drive the front wheels via a driveshaft, so the car remains all-wheel drive even when driving in purely electric mode, up to 130 km/h.
However, autonomy in electric mode is limited to 12 km, so the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 SE Performance was not designed to optimize fuel consumption, but to provide maximum power.
Powerful but heavy…
On the track, traction out of corners is linear and very stable, and the all-wheel drive system provides optimal traction. The program provides several driving modes, and it is possible to completely disable the electronic stability control system in order to use all the power and torque to make the car drift.
However, the GT 63 SE Performance is also a very heavy car, weighing 2380 kg. Even if the weight distribution is optimal, i.e. 50% in front and 50% in the rear due to the location of the electric motor and battery, we cannot ignore this very heavy weight. So the ceramic composite brakes suffer a lot in two fast laps around the track, as do the tires for that matter.
On the road
Of course, the main purpose of this car is not to drive at the “full throttle” track, and if Mercedes-AMG invited us to the Monteblanco circuit, it was primarily so that we could get the most out of a safe and secure car. controlled environment.
In the afternoon, I drove on the magnificent public roads of this region of Spain, where the GT 63 SE Performance proved to be imperial, the brakes were not used as often as on the track, the mass became less restrictive, the cornering speed was low. below.
Appearance of work
A true monster of power and torque, the GT 63 SE Performance looks solid but not sophisticated, and it’s not the most elegant of the high-performance GTs. At the same time, the build quality is on top, and its interior does not differ from other options in this line.
The MBUX telematics system with customizable screens even allows real-time performance data to be displayed, and all functions can be accessed via the touchpad on the center console or via the two control buttons located on the steering spokes. steering wheel.
The GT 63 SE Performance sets a new milestone in the rich history of AMG that has always done things its own way. By developing all the major components of its hybrid powertrain in-house, Mercedes-AMG puts electrification at the service of performance to create this coupe-like variant of its four-seater GT. It will arrive in dealerships across the country in late 2022 as a 2023 model and will be priced shortly before it hits the market.
We’re betting that the starting price will cross the $200,000 mark, and adding options will inflate the bill even further.