Mercedes-AMG will offer plug-in variant of every model

Its top-spec powertrain could make over 800 horsepower.

The idea of Mercedes-AMG going hybrid went from sacrilegious to inevitable in a few short years. The German firm has shed more insight into its electrification strategy, and it revealed it will release a plug-in hybrid variant of every car it sells in the coming years.

"All the AMG vehicles will be available in the future with plug-in hybrids as an option. Mild hybrid is not the strategy of AMG, because the emissions savings are too small," said Mercedes' head of external affairs for emissions, Frank Overmeyer, in an interview with British magazine Autocar. His comments suggest the plug-in powertrain will be available, but it won't be the default configuration.

Some of the hybrid AMGs will receive a brand-specific version of the gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain already found in the C-Class, the E-Class, and the S-Class, among other models. The modifications will make the setup more powerful at the expense of electric-only range. Mercedes doesn't think customers will mind; most seek performance, not Prius-squashing fuel economy.

"The battery itself and the application, including the electric motor, will be the same, and you can have a significant boost [in performance] that will reduce the range, but the experience will be better," Overmeyer added. Mercedes will leverage the instant torque provided by an electric motor to make its cars quicker off the line. There's no word yet on how the company will offset the weight added by the bulky components of a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

An earlier report pointed to a high-performance, 805-horsepower plug-in hybrid powertrain built around a V8 engine. It was billed as a replacement for the mighty V12, which is retiring. The end of the V12 has been announced already, but we haven't seen the plug-in powertrain yet. When it arrives, it will likely fit in bigger models like the E-Class and the four-door GT (pictured).

Smaller, front-wheel drive-based models like the A-Class, the CLA, and the GLA will receive different technology. It will again come from the Mercedes-Benz line-up, and we'll see it in its most basic configuration in a plug-in A-Class scheduled to come out before the end of 2019. Overmeyer stopped short confirming whether AMG will go hybrid in the United States, but it's reasonable to assume we'll get its gasoline-powered models shortly after they go on sale in Europe.

As of writing, Mercedes-AMG offers a mild hybrid powertrain in its 53-badged cars. It's built around a straight-six engine. Overmeyer's comments about an upcoming strategy shift suggests -- but doesn't confirm -- that the 53s will retire when the plug-in hybrid models begin arriving in showrooms. Autocar added the first rechargeable AMG models will arrive in 2020.

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