The Geneva Motor Show brings out a high-voltage showing from Mercedes-AMG to celebrate the performance brand’s 50th anniversary.
Along with four new production models, Mercedes’ news conference was dominated by the debut of the new AMG GT Concept that not only adds an additional pair of doors to the sports car but also replaces its potent internal combustion engine with a “performance hybrid powertrain” capable of thrusting out 805 horsepower – enough to launch the show car from 0 to 60 in less than three seconds.
Is there a production plan in the works? “With the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept, we are giving a preview of our third completely independently developed sports car and are extending the attractive AMG GT family to include a four-door variant,” said Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Mercedes‑AMG.
The basic design carries over the look of the existing Mercedes-AMG GT. Design chief Gordon Wagener is fond of saying that the GT is “hot and cool at the same time.”
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Perhaps the most distinctive new design features include a newly configured grille, with red accents on the side of the vertical ribs, slim new headlamps and side gills. There are numerous active aero features, including radiator shutters and side air intakes, borrowed from the AMG GT R.
Another distinctive touch – albeit one less likely to reach production: mirror cameras with “EQ Power+” badging. Then there are the “nano active fiber technology” daytime running lights, which are illuminated by styled light cords.
The GT Concept is done up in a “Hot Red” paint scheme designed to accent its muscular fenders and curves and give the four-door even more sizzle.
The decision to adopt a four-door design for the GT shouldn’t come as much of a shock considering that’s where the market has moved in recent years, with key performance brand competitors ranging from Aston Martin to Porsche taking a similar approach. One of the last holdouts has been Ferrari.
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Mercedes has been making a major push into electrified drivetrain technology. Just last autumn, it announced plans to launch an all-new battery-electric sub-brand dubbed Mercedes-EQ. Now it is out to demonstrate that battery power can be more than just energy efficient, the AMG GT Concept aimed at taking advantage of the virtually instantaneous torque electric motors can produce.
Actually, it isn’t the first time Mercedes has demonstrated the potential of electric propulsion. It produced a limited-number of pure electric SLS supercars in 2010. The AMG GT Concept, however, opts for a more adaptable hybrid drive system.
It pairs a high-performance version of the AMG handcrafted 4.0-liter V-8, paired with an electric motor. Power is sent to all four wheels through a fully variable AMG 4Matic+ all-wheel-drive system. An additional electric motor drives the back axle, and the torque vectoring system can vary power to each of the car’s wheels.
Mercedes claims the operating strategy for the AMG GT Concept was directly borrowed from the hybrid system used in its Formula One offering, the Mercedes Petronas AMG. The maker claims it is using a “more powerful” battery than in conventional hybrids, though it isn’t offering much detail. The systems can be charged through brake regeneration or by drawing power when the gas engine is cruising.
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The maker isn’t yet saying if the hybrid system will show up in a four-door AMG GT – but it does note the technology is “scalable…and can be adjusted to meet specific requirements of customers or markets.”