Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance: Shaking The Sport-Luxury Niche With Innovative P3 Hybrid Powertrain

German automaker Mercedes-AMG has revealed the most powerful flagship luxury sedan in company history with the 2023 Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance. The AMG badge first gained prominence with the “Red Pig” S-Class, the iconic 300 SEL 6.8 AMG, the fastest full-sized luxury car in the late ’60s and early ’70s with its AMG-tuned, 428-horsepower 6.3-liter V8 engine.

The Red Pig went on to take second place at the 24 Hours of Spa despite being the heaviest among the lot. It proved that AMG had the mechanical know-how and engineering smarts to make a winning racecar out of a luxurious S-Class.

Today, the folks at Mercedes-AMG are up to the same sort of thing that made them a worldwide name. It starts with the latest seventh-generation S-Class and a moderate sprinkling of blazing-new hybrid technology. The result is an S-Class with more torque than anyone thought possible. “With our unique E Performance in the AMG S-Class, we are also setting another technological milestone in electrification in this segment,” said Jochen Hermann, Technical General Manager of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.

Handcrafted V8 Engine

Lifting the hood of a Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance reveals a handcrafted 4.0-liter V8 with two twin-scroll turbochargers and a belt-driven starter-generator integrated into the vehicle’s 400-volt electric architecture. It pumps out 603 horsepower and 664 lb-ft. of torque through all four wheels via an AMG Performance 4MATIC variable all-wheel drivetrain and an AMG Speedshift MCT 9G nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance under the hood.
Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance under the hood. Photo: MBUSA.

P3 Hybrid Powertrain

As if 603 horsepower is not enough, the boffins at Mercedes-AMG developed a compact electric drive unit (EDU) or a P3 hybrid powertrain. The system consists of a rear-mounted electric motor, a high-performance and AMG-specific 13.1 kWh battery under the rear axle, and a two-speed electronic transmission with an electrically-operated limited-slip rear differential. The electric motor and battery can deliver 94 continuous or 188 peak horsepower and 236 lb-ft. of added torque directly to the rear wheels.

If you do the math, the Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance has a combined 791 horsepower and an astonishing 1,055 lb-ft. of torque at full chat. Think about it: This new S-Class churns out as much torque as a diesel-equipped Ford Super Duty. That’s absolutely insane!

How Quick Is The Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance?

Mercedes-AMG claims its most powerful S-Class can reach 60 mph in about 3.2 seconds while rushing towards a 180 mph top speed. The two-speed gearbox in the rear engages the second gear at about 87 mph to ensure uninterrupted velocity.

While the performance numbers of the Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance are nothing to scoff at, there’s a faster hybrid Mercedes if speed is your primary motivator. The Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance has a similar twin-turbo gasoline V8 and hybrid setup that goes from zero to 60 mph in a stonking 2.9 seconds and reaches a 196 mph top speed – but the S 63 E Performance has more torque.  

Is The Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance a Plug-In Hybrid?

Yes, it is. It’s easy to get lost amidst all the technical jargon, but the Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance is a plug-in hybrid. Although Mercedes-AMG admitted its P3 hybrid system is more oriented towards performance than economical driving, the 13.1 kWh battery provides up to 20 miles of all-electric range. It replenishes juice using a 3.7 kWh onboard AC recharger.

AMG Ride Control Adaptive Damping

The Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance has a lightweight, predominantly aluminum body shell suspended by an AMG Ride Control+ suspension. Featuring adaptive adjustable dampers that react to changing pavement conditions, it has automatic leveling control that lowers the vehicle by 0.4 inches at above 75 mph.

Combined with active roll stabilization, active engine mounts, rear-axle steering, variable steering, and a unique traction control system courtesy of the rear-mounted electric motor, this hotrod S-Class can hug the curves without ruffling your tailfeathers.

Sporty Yet Elegant

The Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance has an AMG-specific radiator grille, an AMG emblem on the hood, a custom front bumper design, fluted twin-tailpipes, and up to 21-inch forged wheels. The design retains familiar S-Class styling cues without the eye-searing scoops, aprons, and wings.

Meanwhile, the interior gains exclusive Nappa leather upholstery with specific AMG stitching, multi-contour seats for all four passengers, an AMG performance steering wheel, and MBUX infotainment displays with hybrid-specific graphics and functions.

Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance interior layout.
Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance interior layout. Photo: MBUSA.

Comprehensive Safety Features

Typical of an S-Class, the Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance is brimming with hi-tech driver assistance systems. It has active steering assist, active lane-keeping assist, steering assist, blind-spot monitoring, evasive steering assist, active brake assist, and more.

Pricing & Availability

We expect the Mercedes-AMG S 63 E Performance to arrive at U.S. dealerships by mid-2023. Pricing and other related information remain forthcoming. However, we won’t be surprised if the MSRP starts at $170,000 to $180,000, especially given how the last E Performance Mercedes to hit the stands, the GT 63 S, had a Maybach-beating $222,000 base price.

Alvin Reyes is an Automoblog feature columnist and an expert in sports and performance cars. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.

Photos & Source: MBUSA.