- mercedes-amg has been busy, between rolling out a new plug-in-hybrid platform and preparing to unveil the amg high-performance version of the eqs electric luxury sedan.
- car and driver talked with amg ceo philipp schiemer about what else is coming from the performance division of mercedes.
- among the possibilities, schiemer said, don't expect any more project one–style non-street-legal projects. do expect the company to reach out more to women and younger buyers.
there's a lot going on at daimler's amg performance division. this week, they took the veil off the p3 plug-in hybrid platform, designed to work with both the amg 2.0-liter four and the amg 4.0-liter v-8. and amg confirmed that it's working on its own derivative of the upcoming fully electric eqs.
but there's more. amg ceo philipp schiemer took the time for a chat with car and driver to talk about the brand's strategy. what became clear is that amg will continue to offer a wide variety of vehicles and powertrain options.
speaking of the formula 1–inspired project one supercar that was initiated by his predecessor, tobias moers, schiemer talked about the enormous positive effect the car has on the brand. he underscored the direct technology transfer between amg and formula 1: the high-performance battery comes from f1, is now used in the project one, and will migrate to the p3 hybrid powertrain.
but schiemer also acknowledged the challenges in getting the project one on the road; they were exacerbated by ever more aggressive regulations that changed significantly over the course of the project. "it is enormously difficult to meet the regulatory requirements, and we want to build cars that are street legal everywhere," he said. he concluded, "it is safe to assume that there will never again be such an extreme project."
schiemer praised the p3 hybrid powertrain, emphasizing that "the battery never loses boost and it can be stressed for an extended time." in a thinly veiled shot at tesla, he adds: "it is unthinkable that power would drop after a few acceleration runs." he also promises better economy—"in the vicinity of a 10 to 20 percent improvement."
so will every amg henceforth feature a plug-in hybrid or fully electric powertrain, as has been reported elsewhere? schiemer is quick to correct the misconception. "every amg will have a form of hybridization, but this will still include 48-volt hybrids without plug-in capability."
for instance, the p3 platform will not be applied to the 3.0-liter straight-six engine. his explanation: "these engines are not pure amg engines, and our p3 drivetrain is specifically designed for our amg engines," says schiemer. the cla and gla 45 won't become plug-in hybrids, either, and the same is true of the upcoming sl: "we will offer different powertrains on that car," he says.
the next sl, fully an amg project like the gt, is designed to be a more balanced car than the gt, with a wide spread of characteristics. schiemer hints the sl would be a car perfectly suited to lazy cruising but is quick to add: "don't forget that the roots of the sl are in racing."
schiemer confirms that the amg gt roadster will be phased out when the sl is launched, but the gt coupe will continue, just like the four-door gt, which will receive a facelift and the p3 plug-in hybrid drivetrain in combination with the v-8 engine.
speaking in general terms, the still-fresh ceo, who took over the brand last summer, singled out his task to carry amg into the electric era and "to speak to a younger and more female customer base besides our heritage customers." but, he hastens to add: "we will not be politically correct."