Nearly 18 months after Mercedes AMG debuted its hybrid powertrain capable of replacing the potent and proven bi-turbo V8, the German marque is now offering it in the all-new C63 S E Performance.
Smaller package, more thrust
The thirsty part of the powertrain is half the usual size, with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, codename M139. Using F1-derived technology, the turbocharger comprises a tiny electric motor between the exhaust turbine and the compressor. This motor directly drives the shaft of the turbo to accelerate the compressor before the exhaust gas flow takes over conventionally, thereby (almost) eliminating turbo lag for a more spontaneous and dynamic driving feel. Even without the accelerator pedal pressed, the tech helps maintain boost pressure to avoid any lulls in acceleration while also improving torque at low RPMs. On its own, this little engine can produce 476hp and 545Nm, making it the most powerful four-pot turbo-engine ever fitted to a production car.
The M139 is mated to a 9-speed multi-clutch transmission and distributes power to both front and rear axles as part of the variable all-wheel-drive 4MATIC system. There are eight drive modes for the hybrid powertrain for varying levels of performance and responsiveness.
The electric motor in the new AMG C63 S
After dominating the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1, Mercedes-AMG has developed a high-performance battery for the electric powertrain in the new C63 S. The 201hp electric motor is mounted to the rear axle, integrated with a two-speed gearbox and a limited-slip e-diff. While it has a rear-bias setup, the motor’s drive can also be transferred to the front wheels as needed for better traction.
The 6.1kWh battery pack is also located above the rear axle for ideal weight distribution. While the electric motor has a peak capacity of 201hp, the more readily available figure is 94hp, and the torque output is rated at 320Nm. The 400-volt battery from AMG also has a special cooling system, to support its ability to rapidly deploy energy and recharge. Built for performance, it can still offer up to 13km of pure electric drive if needed. The electric part of the powertrain also comes with four levels of adjustable regen. Additionally, it can be charged via a 3.7kW AC charger.
The total output available from the F1-derived Mercedes-AMG turbo-hybrid powertrain in the new C63 S comes to an astonishing 670hp and 1020Nm of torque. Both sedan and estate versions can do the 0 to 100kmph sprint in just 3.4 seconds. The penalty for the increased performance from the electric powertrain is the added weight, with the sedan having a listed kerb weight of 2111kg making it heavier than the current E63 S sedan.
Mercedes has equipped the all-new AMG C63 S with adaptive damping for the AMG Ride Control, offering a breadth of dynamic ability between sport and comfort. The basics of this suspension are also used in the AMG GT Black Series. It also comes with the AMG dynamic control system as standard that manages the ESP.
Furthermore, it features a three-stage steering system with variable steering geometry that changes based on the drive mode selected. It also comes with rear-wheel steering for better handling at high speeds and easier manoeuvrability at slow speeds.
Visual changes for the new C63 S
As an AMG product, the C-Class has undergone various changes to its exterior to look the part of a nearly 700hp performance sedan. It is longer and wider, with increased track width as well for its muscular stance on the road. There are plenty of aerodynamic elements too such as the side skirts, front splitter, rear diffuser, vents on the front fenders, AMG grille, winglets and a subtle rear spoiler. You can also equip it with more visible carbon fibre around the outside.
A unique feature would be the slim air vent in the middle of the bonnet that hides neatly between the muscular lines that guide the air over it.
Inside the cabin, it is mainly the performance seats in the front that give away the true nature of this beastly C-Class.
They and the AMG twin-spoke steering wheel are accompanied by various AMG emblems and exclusive cross-stitching options for the plush upholstery. The rest is pretty normal for a high-spec C-Class with its minimalistic dashboard dominated by slender displays with AMG-specific graphics.
The digital instrument cluster sits upright behind the steering wheel while the central touchscreen for the MBUX infotainment system is now a portrait-oriented display rising from the central console. It may seem to be angled away from the driver but this is better as it makes it easier for the driver to see more of the information on the screen at a glance.
Here too, one can opt for more of the dashboard and trim to be finished in visible carbon fibre to match the serious performance nature of this car.
As mentioned earlier, the AMG C63 S continues to be offered in both sedan and estate body styles. The latter adds more practicality with the larger boot while the former is closer to the core of the model. We’d have the estate of course but find both to be equally attractive in design.
With this new level of performance from its relatively base-level performance sedan, Mercedes-AMG has raised the bar across the board. An obvious negative for the new C63 is the loss of noise from that grumbly V8 while others still offer better-sounding engines. We’re confident that all its clever F1 tech will prove it to be quicker than many competitors, but will it be exciting to drive as a BMW M3 which is equally quick on paper? That’s for others more fortunate to find out and we’ll have our eyes peeled for the results on carwow.
What do you make of the new AMG C63 S and its downsized hybrid powertrain? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons blog for more cool updates from the car world. You can also follow us on Instagram for more automotive content.