Mercedes-AMG are winter testing something special in Sweden; the smart money suggests 800hp isn't out of the question
The four-door version of Mercedes-AMG's GT is a car worth getting excited about. The Porsche Panamera has had the continent-crushing, big-car segment to itself for far too long, and the thought of a supine and very shapely four-seat Exocet based on the E63 S 4Matic ought to appeal to anyone with meetings typically scheduled in the adjacent time zone.
Following its reveal at Geneva next month, the model is expected to launch with the same 612hp 4.0-litre V8 that powers AMG's E-Class - but harder, faster versions are also expected to feature in the manufacturer's pipeline. And it's that possibility that our spy photographer seems to have snapped winter testing in Sweden - the test mule resplendent with a fixed wing in place of the extendable one, and with camouflage that suggests bodywork changes to the front and back.
Which particular variant will this be? Well, the internet's guess is as good as yours. There will be a Black Series version of the two-door GT launched later this year - but AMG tends to only build one of those at a time (and they have always been coupes, too). Autocar has it as a potential R model - although we wouldn't rule out S badging either its stablemates use of the letter.
It'll mean yet more power either way, and unless Affalterbach has significantly tweaked the turbocharged V8 again, the most likely source for that will be a hybrid powertrain. This would hardly be a shock to the system - the production car was after all previewed by the GT concept last year, a model said to boast beyond 800hp as well as a 31-mile all-electric range.
That combination might yet prove to be the icing under the test mule's cherry of a spoiler. It might not. But the potential ingredients measure up, with AMG said to be twinning its V8 to an electric motor inside the rear axle, which delivers its contribution to the back wheels exclusively. The attached batteries may yet prove to be the really clever bit, which have been developed by the British-based High Performance Powertrains - the division responsible for the Project One hypercar's absurd 1,000hp output.
This combination would allow AMG to offer differing versions of the big GT, with incrementally lower power levels and zero-emission ranges (much as Tesla already does with its Model S). We'll know more next month, when the Geneva show gets underway. For now we'll content ourselves with the speculation that adding a permanent spoiler to Affalterbach's Panamera-beater can only mean good things.
[Spyshots: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien]
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