Mercedes-AMG primes 1000bhp super-SUV as next bespoke EV

1 month, 1 week ago - 15 April 2024, autocar
Mercedes-AMG primes 1000bhp super-SUV as next bespoke EV
All-new BMW XM rival will sit on a purpose-built AMG platform to become a ‘technological pioneer'

Mercedes-Benz’s AMG performance car division has started engineering a new high-powered flagship SUV based on its own electric car platform, Autocar can reveal.

Set to be unveiled in 2026, the new super-SUV has been conceived to lock horns with several high-end rivals, including the BMW XM, the Lotus Eletre and Porsche’s upcoming K1.

The new SUV is not based on other Mercedes-Benz models. Instead, it is being developed wholly by Mercedes-AMG and, like today’s GT Coupé and GT 4-Door Coupé, will be a totally bespoke proposition with its own individual styling and interior layout. In positioning terms, though, it will be a natural successor to today’s Mercedes-AMG GLE 63.

Sources have told Autocar that the styling of AMG’s first bespoke SUV will be previewed by an upcoming concept. The model is said to be similar in length to the Vision AMG concept, at around 5100mm, and will have a wheelbase of more than 3000mm to provide generous interior accommodation and versatility.

By comparison, the XM is 5110mm long and has a 3105mm wheelbase. Among the new model’s key features are an 800V electric architecture, patented axial flux electric motors and a specially developed version of the German car maker’s MB.OS operating system, known internally as AMG.OS.

The luxurious new performance SUV will be the second production model based on the company’s new AMG.EA platform, following the second-generation GT 4-Door Coupé – a sleek new Porsche Taycan saloon rival that is due to be launched in 2025.

Mercedes technology boss Markus Schäfer said the new architecture “is a technological trailblazer, which will pioneer several new innovations. The AMG.EA drive concept is based on axial flux motor technology, which offers an unparalleled mix of power density, size and weight. Furthermore, the innovative power unit operates in conjunction with a new high-performance high-voltage battery.”

The AMG.EA structure shares elements with the MB.EA platform set to be used by less performance-focused Mercedes-Benz models in coming generations.

But in a departure from that more volume-oriented platform, the AMG.EA architecture has been conceived to accommodate advanced electric motors from Yasa – the Oxfordshire-based company purchased by Mercedes-AMG in 2021.

Yasa’s patented disc-shaped motors, to be produced at volume for the first time at Mercedes-Benz’s Berlin factory in Germany, are claimed to offer significantly higher power and torque density than the more conventional synchronous electric motors used in Mercedes-Benz’s and AMG’s existing electric cars.

Although secrecy surrounds the technical specification of the new electric performance saloon and SUV duo, AMG says the set-up can accommodate a variety of different electric motor layouts.

These include single- and dual-motor rear-wheel drive along with dual-, tri- and quad-motor, four-wheel-drive configurations – the latter similar in principle to that set to feature on the upcoming production version of the Vision EQG, an electric-powered variant of the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, albeit with different hardware.

Not all configurations will be used, though. Sources have told Autocar that the new SUV will receive similar set-ups to the upcoming GT 4-Door EV in the interests of development and production efficiency.

Yasa says the axial flux motor developed for AMG’s new dedicated electric models weighs just 24kg. Each unit develops up to 480bhp and 590lb ft of torque.

This suggests that the new AMG SUV could potentially offer well over 1000bhp, with advanced four-wheel drive and torque-vectoring qualities set to provide it with what one AMG insider describes as “a whole new level of variable traction possibilities”.

The flux motors to be used by Mercedes-AMG’s next generation of performance models have been designed to operate in combination with a new 800V electric architecture and an in-house-developed high-performance battery pack that features unique cell chemistry and silicon anode material from US company Sila.

The suspension for the new AMG model draws on the technology used by the Active Ride Control system introduced on the second-generation Mercedes-AMG GT Coupé. Under this set-up, individual pumps control each wheel to give self-levelling capacity in combination with four-wheel steering.

Inside, the super-SUV is set to use a new-look interior architecture with a unique AMG dashboard display that features an AMG.OS operating system and unique graphics.

Production is planned to take place at Mercedes-Benz’s manufacturing plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, alongside the new GT 4-Door Coupé. Sources at the factory say preparations are already being made to accommodate two new electric AMG models, which will be produced on the same line. The two AMG.EA-based models will serve as flagships for an expanding family of sporting EVs from AMG.

In 2025, the Affalterbach-based division will launch a hot electric version of the third-generation CLA, based on the new MMA platform that will underpin a new generation of compact models offering the choice of combustion or EV power. Technically related performance versions of the next-generation GLA and GLB are planned as well.

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