PHEV for AMG Doesn’t Do It, Mercedes Goes to V8

The upcoming Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 is set to receive a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, boasting an output of up to 585bhp, according to senior officials at the division’s Mercedes-Benz parent company.

This decision marks a departure from the initial plan to equip the new coupe and cabriolet with a 670bhp plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which mirrors the latest C63 and GLC 63 models. The shift in strategy is attributed to sluggish sales of the saloon, estate, and SUV variants, which feature the E-Performance PHEV drivetrain combining a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a rear-axle mounted electric motor.

Despite its impressive performance figures, the E-Performance PHEV drivetrain hasn’t resonated with traditional AMG buyers, resulting in lower sales compared to their V8 predecessors across global markets. As a result, the most potent versions of the new CLE will be powered by the latest version of AMG’s M177 V8 engine, incorporating mild-hybrid technology.

These V8-powered models will occupy a position above the CLE 53 Coupe and Cabriolet, which utilise a turbocharged 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine producing 442bhp. Mercedes-AMG aims to position the CLE as a direct competitor to the BMW M4, which offers up to 542bhp from a twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight-six engine in its most powerful configuration.

The decision to opt for V8 power for the CLE is not only influenced by the lukewarm reception to the PHEV C63 and GLC 63 models but also stems from feedback received from the global dealer network. Dealers expressed concerns that introducing a four-cylinder CLE 63 variant above the six-cylinder CLE 53 could lead to customer confusion.

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