Mercedes-AMG Teases Its Future By Looking to Its Past In Style - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Mercedes-AMG Teases Its Future By Looking to Its Past In Style

Mercedes and AMG have been in the electrification game for nearly a decade, you probably just forgot about it

There’s no denying that electrification is inevitable, and Mercedes as a company has already embraced that concept. Recent evidence includes the new Mercedes C-Class that will only be sold as a four-cylinder, mild-hybrid, including the range-topping AMG C63E, of all things. More recently, AMG has confirmed that it’s working on a high-performance EV while Mercedes as a company has said that it will let the ICE live on until it dies a natural death. Now, Mercedes has released a short video to remind us that it’s been in the EV game for a lot longer, with the star of the video being none other than the Mercedes SLS Electric Drive.

The Mercedes SLS Electric Drive – A Car Ahead of Its Time

Mercedes-AMG Teases Its Future By Looking to Its Past In Style Exterior
- image 985839
Despite the motors being paired
Torque could still be distributed to each wheel individually as needed

In the video that I’ve embedded below, Mercedes refers to the old SLS Electric Drive as “the most electric supercar” and, at the time of its production back in the early 2010s, it really was. The SLS Electric drive featured a 60 kWh battery, which was kind of a big deal then as modern cars like the Nissan Leaf, for example, boasts a battery of 40-62 kWh depending on model. Other, newer high-end cars, like the new Rimac Nevera, for example, have a 120 kWh battery, but 80-100 kWh is pretty much the standard capacity range today. In the SLS, that 60-kWh battery was paired with a total of four electric motors – two on each axle, with each set controlled by their own dedicated transmission.

Mercedes-AMG Teases Its Future By Looking to Its Past In Style Exterior
- image 985837

Despite being paired at each axle, the SLS AMG Electric Drive was able to distribute toque on demand as needed for optimal traction, handling, and acceleration.

Total system output was rated at an impressive-for-the-time 740 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. At the time, this was enough to make it faster that the Tesla Model S, with the sprint to 62 mph taking just 3.9 seconds, 0.5 seconds faster than the Model S and only 0.2-seconds slower than the traditional, gas-powered SLS coupe.

Back then, however, charging wasn’t so fast, so if you used a traditional wall plug, it would take 20 hours to fully recharge the battery. Mercedes did have a dedicated wall charger that could accomplish the task in three hours, but it was sold at quite the premium. In the end, that full charge would get you 155 miles of range on a good day.

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive specifications
Powertrain four electric motors
Power 740 HP
Torque 738 LB-FT
0 to 62 mph 3.9 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph
Mercedes-AMG Teases Its Future By Looking to Its Past In Style Exterior
- image 985846
That car was the Mercedes SLS AMG Electric Drive
And it was very impressive for the time

All of this said, and as cool as the SLS AMG Electric Drive was, it was definitely a car ahead of its time. Tesla was just getting started, really, and the idea of performance and luxury brands like Mercedes-AMG selling pure electric cars was still in its infancy. The company originally planned to build and sell 100 examples of the SLS AMG Electric Drive, however, one was recently up for sale with the undisputed claim that it was just one of nine ever made. Each one sold would have cost right around $508,000 at current exchange rates, which explains why not that many were sold as that’s more than the AMG GT Black Series. What’s even weirder, though, is that over the past few years – as Mercedes and AMG have started to ramp up their electrification efforts – we’ve laid eyes on an old SLS AMG Electric Drive with tons of crazy equipment.

What in the World is Mercedes doing with this SLS AMG Electric Drive? Is an Electric AMG GT in the Works? Exterior Spyshots
- image 742277

First spotted on the road back in 2017, we assumed that the old AMG SLS Electric Drive prototype, completely covered in various cameras and sensors was being used as a testbed of sorts. We speculated that it could have an advanced electric powertrain that would land in an equally limited electric version of the new AMG GT. It would have made sense with the AMG GT being such a popular car. In the end, we never learned what Mercedes was really doing with that weird SLS EV mule, but it’s possible that it was testing some hybrid tech for the AMG Project One, or it could have simply been its way of testing new technology for cars like the Mercedes EQA, EQB, EQC, or even the new EQS sedan that will get an AMG makeover sometime down the road.

The Cryptic Video

Now that you’ve had a nice little history lesson on the SLS AMG Electric Drive, here’s the video that Mercedes released. It’s super short at less than a minute and could be hinting at that electric AMG GT or something entirely. At the end, we’re left with just one phrase:

“This is our legacy. Imagine our future. #areyouAMGready”
Mercedes-AMG Teases Its Future By Looking to Its Past In Style Exterior
- image 985849
The SLS AMG Electric Drive had four electric motors
There was a pair on the front axle and a pair on the rear, and both sets were controlled by their own transmission

Perhaps the company just wants to remind us that it had a serious, although far from successful, EV a decade ago or, perhaps, the company is really hinting at the electric AMG GT. If nothing else, it’s definitely setting the primer for a whole fleet of electric AMG vehicles, so at the very least, we know that AMG will, without a doubt, survive the industry’s transition into full-scale electrification.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

Mercedes’ Plans Have Reportedly Changed and It’s A Very Big Deal

2013 Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: