It’s a hybrid, but not one built for range or efficiency. Nor a moniker designed for brevity, judging by its very long name. Meet the new Mercedes-AMG S63 E Performance. A small name it is not. A big, fast car it very much is.
Though brevity is very much the name of the game when it comes to the even bigger matter of horsepower, for this new S63 – a famous badge on the most famous of all Mercedes’ – becomes the most powerful S63 in history, capable of astonishing feats of acceleration.
Like 0-100kph in 3.3 seconds.
That’s courtesy of a hybrid powertrain comprised of AMG’s venerable 4.0-liter V8 biturbo, connected to an electric motor and “high-performance” battery inspired by the Merc AMG F1 team (obvs) with a 13.1kWh capacity and capable of a constant 70kW of power, or 140kW of “peak mechanical power for ten seconds” to the motor. Total output is - wait for it - 791hp.
There are four levels of brake regen available to the driver, seven actual drive modes and a nine-speed wet clutched automatic gearbox. Choice is indeed luxury. The motor is mounted on the rear axle – battery too, at the back – for what AMG describes as a ‘P3’ layout, though there’s Merc’s four-wheel-drive 4Matic on board, the front wheels engaged via prop- and driveshafts when slip at the rear is detected. And there shall be much slip, because the new S63 packs a cool 1,430Nm of torque.
Top speed is limited to 290kph, and AMG reckons the P3 layout offers better traction off the line, better torque delivery across the rpm range, better acceleration out of corners via a limited slip diff, and better weight distribution. Mostly though, torque.
Won’t twist, though. Merc says the S63’s bodyshell features an aluminium stabiliser under the V8 that increases the torsional stiffness up front, while a cross-brace at the suspension mounting points helps overall.
The dampers are of course adaptive, there’s active roll stabilisation fitted as standard using a 48-volt setup, the motor acting in place of ESP, and a steering setup adjustable to three levels. Big brakes, of course, much assistance as befits a Mercedes S-Class.
And as befits an S-Class, it’s a subtle bruiser, rather than an outlandish one. The visual changes amount to a new grille and lower front end, AMG wheels, a few badges dotted around and quad exhausts, but on the whole it’s very restrained consider the powertrain underneath is… not.
Indeed, that powertrain is capable of a fully-electric range of 33km, but as the most powerful S-Class ever built by Mercedes, this one’s not hanging around.
This story first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.