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Tobias Moers: AMG to go hybrid
AMG boss Tobias Moers has confirmed to TopGear.com that his firm will soon embrace hybrid tech.
Speaking at the Paris Motor Show, Moers stated that no timeline had been finalised by AMG, but that hybrid drivetrains would definitely feature in its future sports cars.
“I don’t know exactly which segment will be the first,” he told TG, “but if you ask me about AMG hybrids my answer will always be yes. It’s the future.”
Moers confirmed R&D work had already begun on future AMG hybrids, though admitted the limiting factor currently is – as most have found – the weight of the battery cells.
“We need to have a better power-to-weight ratio for the battery,” Moers said. “Today’s applications are far too heavy for a sports car, but the future will give us new technologies and possibilities. I’m happy about it. The future is bright.”
AMG’s experience with the SLS Electric Drive, says Moers, opened the company’s eyes to the possibilities of future AMG hybrids. “We can do things with that car just by calibration, which is not feasible with a standard combustion layout. So in terms of driving performance and driving dynamics it provides you additional chances for the future. If you can handle the weight.”
Moers also confirmed there will be an AMG version of the upcoming CLA Shooting Brake – “which will be interesting for us” – and (ready for this one?) Black Series versions of the new C63 and AMG GT.
“It’s always step by step. We’ve started with this new C63 and AMG GT, and there’s more to come,” he said.
Moers wouldn’t be drawn on likely power outputs of the new Black Series C63 and a hotter version of the new AMG GT. “The power of the Black Series C63 for example depends. Yes, that engine is capable of much more, and we must always keep that little bit of a gap between the ‘standard’ AMG C63 and the Black Series,” he said.
“But it’s not a fixed gap, like 40bhp or 60bhp more, because a Black Series is about weight, driving performance and dynamics, tyres… it’s the whole package. That engine is definitely capable of more, but let’s see what the future brings.”
The future won’t bring a four-wheel-drive C63, however. “We made the decision that four-wheel-drive is E63 upwards. The C63 is a race-orientated car, it’s a car for the racetrack, fun to drive. So we prefer it to have rear-wheel-drive.”
What about a convertible C63? “That depends on the Mercedes line up. Maybe I could see one, with regards to our competitors there is a segment. Cars like that are interesting.”
Though Moers wouldn’t comment on the particulars of Mercedes’ new relationship with Aston Martin, he did admit that platform sharing in the small volume segment would be difficult. “They [Aston Martin] are front-engined, RWD cars, not front-mid-engined, RWD cars like ours,” he said.
“So you’ve got different structures, and different production methodologies – they use bonding, we use welding. It’s complicated for both parties.”
Could the AMG GT follow Aston’s Vantage by following its V8 offering with a V12, using the AMG 6.0-litre Biturbo? “No. It just wouldn’t work for the GT.”
Moers has faith that AMG’s big V12 will stand the test of time – and increasingly tight emissions regulations. “It’s up to us to make sure the V12 is fit for the future. Our customers just love the 6.0-litre, and here at AMG, we are responsible for the engineering and production of the V12.
“For Mercedes and AMG, it’s up to us to give that engine a future…”