Mercedes-AMG’s next E63 model will abandon its traditional gasoline V-8 for a newly developed 6-cyl. gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that is claimed to produce more power than today’s model and get new E Performance branding, Wards has learned.
To be unveiled in 2024, the performance sedan will be the first in a series of Mercedes-AMG vehicles to adopt the electrified drivetrain, which uses a so-called P3 layout similar to the gasoline-electric PHEV systems recently unveiled in the GT63 S 4Matic E Performance and C63 S 4Matic E Performance.
Insiders at AMG’s Affalterbach headquarters in Germany confirm the upcoming E63 will receive a heavily reworked version of Mercedes-Benz’s M256 turbocharged 3.0L gasoline inline 6-cyl. mounted longitudinally up front together with an electric motor sited within the rear axle.
The extent of the modifications made to the M256 by AMG is unclear. However, it appears to share a number of key components with the M139L and M177 engines used by the C63 and GT 63, with a similar internal design and dimensions, including an 83-mm bore measurement and 90-mm bore center spacing.
The electric motor set to feature in the E63 S 4Matic E Performance is also similar in construction and performance to the 201-hp unit used by the C63 and GT63.
As with AMG’s existing PHEV models, the 4.8-kWh (usable) 400V lithium-ion battery will be mounted within the floor of the new E63’s trunk.
AMG is claimed to be targeting an output of over 700 hp and up to 884 lb.-ft. (1,199 Nm) of torque for the new gasoline PHEV drivetrain.
To give this perspective, the 4-cyl. system in the C63 delivers 671 hp and 752 lb.-ft. (1,020 Nm) of torque, while the V-8 system in the GT63 delivers a stout 831 hp and 1,031 lb.-ft. (1,398 Nm).
By comparison, the M177 twin-turbocharged 4.0L gasoline V-8 that powers the existing E63 develops 604 hp and 626 lb.-ft. (849 Nm) of torque.
The secret to the significant increase in power and torque with the new PHEV system is the fact that the output is not limited by the E63’s 9-speed Speedshift MCT gearbox, as the reserves from the electric motor are sent directly to the rear wheels via a separate 2-speed gearbox and electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
As with its plug-in hybrid AMG stablemates, the new range-topping E-Class model is set to receive up to eight different AMG Dynamic Select driving modes: Electric, Comfort, Battery Hold, Sport, Sport+, Slippery and Individual.
With increased power and torque, AMG will be looking to top the performance of the existing E63 S 4Matic, which is claimed to hit 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 186 mph (300 km/h) in combination with an optional AMG Driver’s Package, despite the electric motor and battery adding significant weight.
With the new PHEV system conceived more for performance than outright efficiency, the electric range will be limited.
The electric range of the C63 is put at a claimed 8.0 miles (13 km), with the GT63 offering 7.5 miles (12 km) under WLTP test conditions. Both models use the same 4.8-kWh unit developed by AMG in partnership with its High Performance Powertrains division based in Brixworth, U.K., and claimed to weigh 196 lbs. (89 kg).
In line with developments brought to other plug-in hybrid AMG models, including the more recently launched S63 S E Performance, AMG plans to provide next year’s E63 with four levels of energy regeneration.
Underpinning the new model is a revised version of Mercedes-Benz’s MRA (modular rear architecture) platform in combination with double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension and, for the first time for the E-Class flagship, 4-wheel steering.
The upcoming E63 S 4Matic E Performance is one of two W214 E-Class-based PHEVs planned by AMG.
The other, a successor model to today’s E53 4Matic, is set to run a milder version of Mercedes-Benz’s M256 turbocharged 3.0L I-6 in combination with a gearbox-mounted electric motor, in what insiders at the German automaker describe as a P2 plug-in hybrid system.
Essentially the same system used by the S580e 4Matic, it delivers an overall system output of 510 hp and 553 lb.-ft. (750 Nm) of torque.
This compares to the 429 hp and 383 lb.-ft. (519 Nm) of today’s E53 4Matic, which is powered by the existing version of the M256 turbocharged 3.0L gasoline I-6 in combination with a mild-hybrid system with an additional 22 hp and 184 lb.-ft. (250 Nm) from a gearbox-mounted integrated starter-generator for brief periods under acceleration.