Mercedes-Benz is already developing plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell electric powertrains for production and experimental cars meant for more everyday driving, and in time even its no-holds-barred AMG performance division will go hybrid as well.
This was revealed by Mercedes-AMG CEO and Chairman Tobias Moers in an interview with Australian publication Motoring in which he said the first step toward improved economy is downsizing and turbocharging but a hybrid SUV could be introduced in a few years.
Smaller force-fed four cylinders will be the lowest hanging fruit picked by AMG in the departure from dearly beloved snarling gas guzzlers, and this may come as little surprise as the trend is happening elsewhere as brands born by delivering the outrageous brace for looming regulations.
Talking about the end of an era however was enough to make Moers mildly lament the cessation of “atmo” or big-thumping naturally aspirated V8s that swill fuel as they deliver super performance.
But technological progress is being made, he said. While the peak of the horsepower wars up to and beyond 500-plus has just about been reached Moer said, new tech will be incorporated without diluting the expectations of present fans.
Performance is the underlying motive for AMG buyers and Moers said “electrical forces” may first be introduced to maintain maximum thrust in C-class cars improved with the AMG touch.
“I think it’s [power increases] getting slower. In the future, maybe you add sometimes some electrical forces to that, electrical power units to [supplement performance], but I think a C-Class [at] 485-500 horsepower [360-372kW] is, in my personal view is, it’s OK. There’s no 600 horsepower [447kW] C-Class need for somebody.
Cuing off this dropped hint, Motoring asked if there is thus a hybrid AMG on the horizon.
Yes, but no time soon, said Moers, citing learning also from the SLS e-Cell.
“There’s nothing now decided what we do for the future with all the knowledge we gain. But we have a lot of strategic discussions on how we can use it and I think sooner or later, there will be hybrid – there is no doubt. Maybe for an SUV platform … “It’s not a no-go. We are not always behind a dogma. We ask always the same question: with these cars are we on the right track? Do we have to adjust something?” Moers explained.
Staying competitive is what counts, Moers said. Although McLaren, Ferrari, and Porsche are now bringing super hybrids to market, AMG is still gestating on it all, but the handwriting appears written on the wall.