But building a hybrid performance car apparently isn’t for everyone, though. AMG, Mercedes-Benz’s performance division, won’t build a hybrid of its own; it will continue to focus on tuning Mercedes cars and improving its gull-winged SLS AMG.
“Ferrari in the hypercar segment is still a different brand than AMG. We have to be honest,” AMG vehicle development head Tobias Moers told CarAdvice, in regards to the 951 horsepower LaFerrari, which was launched at the Geneva Motor Show.
AMG has never built an ultra-expensive bespoke “hypercar” like the ones Ferrari, or McLaren have built their reputations on. Instead, it’s specialty is building performance versions of regular Mercedes cars, like the E-Class-based E63 AMG or the upcoming CLA45 AMG.
In this role, AMG operates as Mercedes’ rival to BMW’s M and Audi’s Quattro in-house hot rod shops.
Of course, AMG has built a car from the ground up; the bewitching SLS AMG. However, with its front-engined layout and sub-million dollar price, the SLS isn’t an exotic. It competes with the “entry level” Ferrari 458 Italia and Porsche 911, not the LaFerrari and 918.
AMG did build the all-electric SLS AMG Electric Drive, which would at least out-green the hybrid exotics. With 740 hp, it’s the most powerful road car ever built by AMG, but its electronically limited 155 mph top speed is slow compared to the exotics. Its nearly $500,000 price tag makes it a hard sell, which is why the Electric Drive is in limbo.
So for now, we’ll just have to make do with the plain old gasoline-powered V8 SLS, with 583 hp and those crazy gullwing doors. That’s fine with us.