Cars/ First-drive/ Mercedes AMG GT 63 S E Performance | The most expensive road-legal Mercedes | First Drive Review

Mercedes AMG GT 63 S E Performance | The most expensive road-legal Mercedes | First Drive Review

The most expensive road-legal Mercedes with Hybrid Power churning 1470 Nm of Torque!

For

Performance & Technology

Against

Expensive & Comfort

Driving

It's one hell of a complex machine.

It's a 4-litre V8 with a 6.1 kWh Lithium battery that produces 1470 NM of torque , does 0-100 kmph in 2.9 seconds with a top speed of 316 km and an electric motor delivering 201 bhp of extra kick.Cool stuff, isn’t it ? It is integrated with the rear axle and runs a lively 400-volt architecture for speedy transfer of electrons. In addition, it uses a two-speed gearbox to deliver effective E-boost at both low and high road speeds. It also has a 9-speed Automatic AMG conventional gearbox. Just mind-blowing German engineering. Around corners, GT 63 S E Performance does throw its weight around literally, and in a straight line, it feels almost weightless. It does feel agile as the steering is quick and turns in sharply without any understeer, and the rear-wheel steering helps tuck it into corners neatly. You can even select drift mode, de-select the front axle and have a blast on a track. 

In EV mode, a full charge will last for around 12 km at speeds below 130 Kmph, but that's not really what the battery is designed for – it's there to boost performance and maximise fun. They could have left out the 'plug-in' functionality entirely, but charging sometimes gets you free parking in your society; it also means a green badge, but the point is that-had they put a bigger battery pack, it could have done 50 km and would not have added much weight to the overall scheme of things here. Maybe that could have earned it an EV badge, and it could save on taxes; this is me just imagining things.

By driving and keeping the revs above 3,000rpm, we took the charge level from around 50 to 80 per cent – priming the car to unleash hell. It's in the slower corners you feel the boost most, propping up the monstrous V8 with an undercurrent of torque. On the straights, it's just rapid. Full stop. Does it feel like 831bhp? Probably not, but this is a well-insulated 2.4-tonne car, not a carbon-fibre supercar, which means you get used to the warp-speed pace quickly, and you kind of become best friends with top speeds. 

Though the battery itself weighs 89kg, has twice the energy density of a regular plug-in hybrid, and represents genuine F1 technology transfer in that it's been designed to charge and discharge extremely quickly. The key is direct liquid cooling that flows around all 560 cells and prevents overheating. The cells can operate up to 45 degrees without loss of performance – 20 degrees is usually the norm. 

The battery pack is so compact it is mounted atop the electric motor at the rear, so you get lightning-quick responses when torque fill is needed. Also improved is traction at the rear due to the extra weight over the rear axle and better front and rear weight distribution. Whereas most hybrids put the e-motor between the engine and gearbox, it sits on the rear axle with the 6.1kWh battery on top of it for 50:50 front: rear weight distribution. The electric motor sends its power through a two-speed gearbox (so it can continue to pull its weight at higher speeds) and an electronically actuated rear differential. Merc's 4MATIC+ 4WD system means the front axle can snaffle power from both the electric motor and the engine when needed.



TopGear Magazine June 2024