I recently visited Mercedes' UK headquarters in glamorous Milton Keynes to drive the new GLC 300 e, but while I was there I was given the chance to spend some time in the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S E Performance.
It's an offer I wasn't going to turn down - the GT 63 S E Performance is the most powerful production vehicle Mercedes has ever made. It features the legendary AMG 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo, capable of developing 470 kW, paired with a powerful, electrifying motor that brings a further 150 kW to the table. In total, it's capable of producing 831bhp and 1084Ib ft of torque in overboost mode.
As I was walking towards the car, Mercedes' car wrangler warned me the car was fast, but I really wasn't prepared for how fast the AMG GT 63 S E Performance really is...
I first got a taste of the performance on tap in the car park when I gently nudged the throttle - I lightly tapped the accelerator as I would in a normal vehicle and the GT 63 jolted forward as if I was starting on pole in Formula 1 race. It was a slightly humbling experience.
After re-wiring the connection between my brain and my right foot, I slowly exited Mercedes' HQ. When I was out of eye line, it was time to fully explore what the GT 63 E Performance is capable of...
Planting my right foot on the throttle unleashes a symphony of sound, acceleration and exhilaration.
Now, I've driven fast cars before, from McLarens and Aston Martins to Porsches. The trouble is they all look like fast cars, but the AMG GT 63 E Performance, to the untrained eye at least, looks just like any other Merc business saloon (it even has four seats and four doors).
The performance couldn't be more different.
The exceptional drive system inside the AMG GT 63 E Performance was originally developed for Formula 1. It can accelerate from 0 to 62 in just 2.9 seconds.
What's most impressive is how instantaneous everything feels. The electric motor, developed exclusively by AMG and with an ultra-light high-performance battery, delivers its power directly to the rear axle – with no delay. So as soon as your foot touches the throttle the car responds.
This ultra-light lithium-ion battery has been developed jointly with High Performance Powertrains, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 engine builder. It features an innovative cooling system, with all 560 cells cooled individually and in parallel to an optimal 45°C. This protects the system from overheating even during extremes of performance and ensures that it remains powerful, long-lasting and safe.
It's totally addictive, and Milton Keynes, with its endless roundabouts, is the perfect place to test it.