When you see a Mercedes-Benz S-Class with the AMG badge on the back, that means it's a special, more powerful vehicle. The newest gets its impressive power from a new source: a hybrid system.
"Very high-performance hybrid system. Our E Performance system, which is directly derived from our Formula 1 powertrain system," said Michael Shiebe, CEO of Mercedes-AMG.
The very same technology that has brought F1 driver Lewis Hamilton six of his seven world championships. The batteries and electric motor that allow a race car to perform lap after lap have been adapted to let this big Benz throw you back in your seat.
There's 791 total horsepower and over 1000 pound-feet of torque, thanks to a combination of a twin-turbo V8 and proprietary electric power. Very important in a race car or performance street car: developing technology so that the batteries don't overheat during high demand.
"This is something which our engineering teams developed together hand-in-hand," noted Sheibe.
But this car is amazingly light on its feet as well. Superior handling, thanks to all-wheel drive, and sophisticated suspension and steering systems.
"And this is where we have the strongest competence. We want to make it as dynamic as possible. And I think we have perfectly achieved that with this car," added Shiebe.
The S 63 E Performance PHEV will arrive in dealerships later this summer. Pricing and official EPA figures for both plug-in range and overall MPG will be announced closer to the car's availability.
Of course the S-Class is the AMG flagship; it always has been. And since the regular S-Class is over $100,000, this special version will not be inexpensive by any means. But Mercedes-Benz says they're using the hybrid technology they've developed in Formula 1 racing across the AMG product line.
That technology used for some years now also brings impressive power to the C-class sedan. The new C 43 AMG features a small 2.0 liter four cylinder engine that makes just over 400 horsepower, with the help of an electrically-assisted turbocharger. More F1 know-how, for a more affordable AMG model with prices that start in the low-$60,000 range.
And some purists may scoff, but the AMG division is promising fully electric models in the future that will continue to excite, just as the gasoline ones have for decades.
The CEO of Mercedes-AMG says enthusiasts should not fear the electric future.
"We have always been the leaders in terms of performance, agility, and emotions. And this is what I have on my task list. So I will do the utmost possible with my team to deliver that," Shiebe said.
There's an old saying that racing improves the breed. Evidence of that is right here, in cars that are designed to perform well, far away from a racetrack.