Ever since electric motors and batteries began replacing good ol’ gasoline, it’s like we’ve driven off the edge of the map and anything goes. Out here, there are monsters, like this utterly original and delightfully unhinged new 843 horsepower super-sedan from the hot heads over at AMG.
Yes, the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance is a hybrid, but not the roll-your-eyes, put-you-to-sleep type. Driving it flat-out on Spain’s Monteblanco racetrack is like swinging a rocket-propelled sledgehammer. It’s not the most precise tool, but it gets the job done with authority. This thing weighs more than a full-size pickup truck and, so, even the oversized ceramic brakes have trouble slowing this behemoth down for turn one. Crank the steering and, thanks to clever electronics and brilliant chassis tuning, the car somehow pivots. Get back on the throttle and there’s an instantaneous surge of electric torque from the car’s 204 hp electric motor. A fraction of a second later, the 634 hp twin-turbo V8 joins in and the car feels as if could accelerate forever.
Back in the pit lane, Jochen Hermann is in a good mood. The chief technology officer of Mercedes-AMG can tell everyone is impressed. The idea, he says, was to take plug-in hybrid (PHEV) technology — normally used to lower emissions — and use it for fun. AMG’s “E Performance” PHEV system is two cars in one: a V8 engine up front, and an electric motor and battery under the trunk, which are connected by a shaft. The full 843 hp and more than 1,000 lb-ft of torque spins all four wheels. It’ll blow your socks off on a racetrack and then trundle around town silently on battery-power alone for 12 kilometres. It costs as much as two lesser AMGs, but we guarantee they won’t be unhinged and original as this plug-in hybrid monster.