Skip the V-8. The 4 cylinder hybrid powerplant in the most potent C63 ever produces 670 horsepower. The introduction of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance was arguably the most expertly staged debut of a popular AMG vehicle. We can discuss the hardware underneath and the revised exterior of the strongest C-Class in this tale. We'll be able to describe how it feels from the passenger's perspective to you next month. And before the year is through, we'll get our hands on AMG's formidable new compact sport sedan and put it through its paces.
Why the cautious waltz? The people at Affalterbach are perhaps a little anxious about how the AMG faithful will react to this new C63. When enthusiasts realised that the W205 version of the C63 will be powered with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 rather than the rumbling naturally aspirated 6.2-liter engine (the ambitiously titled "6.3") of AMG folklore in 2015, there were some complaints. However, the upcoming changes for the new W206 series model dwarf that development: A 2.0-liter four-cylinder hybrid powerplant has replaced the V-8.
Although the new C63 is a hybrid, it is not at all like a Prius. In reality, many of its essential technologies are drawn from the EQ10 Power+ powertrain used in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 racers, a 1.6-liter hybrid that is the most sophisticated and high-performing powertrain to carry the three-pointed star ever.
With its 670 horsepower and 752 lb-ft of torque, the all-wheel-drive C63 S E Performance, according to AMG, can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.4 seconds and reach a top speed of 174 mph when equipped with the optional AMG Driver's Package. For the record, the C63 S we drove in 2015 with the turbocharged 4.0-liter engine only produced 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, while the C63 we tested in 2011 with the 6.2-liter engine only produced 481 horsepower and 443 lb-ft. The new C63 will accelerate to 60 mph in at least six to eight tenths of a second less time than either.
Perhaps even more impressive than the headline figures is how they're made.
A 469-hp variant of AMG's M139l inline four engine plus a 201-hp electric motor installed at the back axle make up the hybrid powertrain of the C63. According to AMG development engineer Peter Szalay, "what's distinctive is we didn't put the e-motor 'on top' of the internal combustion engine." Instead, we have a "virtual" engine that uses the best aspects of each to deliver the output the driver need in the quickest, most responsive manner.
The outputs of the internal combustion engine and the e-motors are treated separately, to put it simply.
The nine-speed automatic AMG Speedshift multi-clutch transmission uses the gas engine to power all four wheels.
Through its own automated two-speed transmission, which shifts into high gear at 87 mph, and an integrated electronically controlled limited-slip differential, the e-motor powers the vehicle's rear wheels. It can also transmit torque to the back clutch of the nine-speed transmission via the propeller shaft, where it can be distributed to the front wheels as well.
According to Szalay, this configuration allows the e-motor to freely transmit power to the front and rear axles as necessary without having to pass it via the Speedshift transmission, which has a torque limit of approximately 736 lb-ft. But more crucially, according to Szalay, the total output would be lower if the e-motor were sandwiched between the engine and transmission, as is typical with many hybrids, because the power peaks of the two propulsion units happen at various rev ranges. Because of this, the C63's peak power figure is just the ICE and e-motor outputs added together.
The 400-volt electrical architecture, which AMG designed, and the high-performance 6.1-kWh battery, which is likewise positioned at the rear of the car, are essential to the C63's complex powertrain ballet.
Although the little 196-pound battery can be recharged using a plug and has an eight-mile pure EV driving range, that isn't what it's intended for. Instead, it is intended to provide the e-motor with short bursts of energy as needed and to be quickly replaced by the engine or through recuperation rates of more than 120 kW when braking hard or at the highest of the four available regen settings.
Because the C63's powertrain's fundamental operating principle is to deliver maximum power when the driver demands it, just like in a Formula 1 car, the battery has a cooling system to ensure it can withstand this kind of abuse and that each of its 580 cells is always at the ideal temperature to deliver maximum performance. The 201 horsepower of the e-motor is always accessible when needed in any of the eight drive modes of the C63 thanks to a kickdown function.
The first vehicle with all-wheel drive is the new C63. In addition to being essential for controlling the large power flows of the hybrid engine, "our consumers were begging for it," according to Peter Szagay. It was the logical progression. Even in pure EV mode, all-wheel drive is available, which is useful for clambering out of ice driveways in the early winter.
By placing the e-motor, battery pack, and related components entirely at the back axle, a 50/50 weight distribution between the front and rear has been achieved. Steel springs and AMG's adaptive shocks serve as the vehicle's standard form of suspension. The Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ damping maps are among the three available.
Forms, surfaces, and graphics on the new W206 C-Class are reminiscent of those on the S-Class and the updated E-Class. As is customary for AMG vehicles, the C43 we tested earlier this year had additional aggressive aesthetic cues, such as the fearsome vertical bar AMG grille, distinctive alloys, quad exhausts, and a spoiler on the trunk lid.
With a distinctive front clip and other custom aesthetic elements, the C63 raises the bar.
Nevertheless, much of the form has a purpose. The wheelbase of the C63 is four-tenths of an inch longer than that of any other C-Class, and the front track is 3.0 inches wider—reminiscent of the revered 500E.
Although the AMG GT3 and GT4 race cars were referenced in the design of the hood vent, it only serves to remove hot air from the engine bay rather than assisting in the creation of downforce. Order the extra aerodynamic package to get a more aggressive front slipper and a larger spoiler on the back edge of the trunk if you want more downforce.
The typical rear diffuser has a purpose and is not only for decoration.
The C63's interior is replete with recognisable AMG design cues including Alcantara, contrast stitching, carbon fibre, and colourful accents. The new performance front seats weigh 4.4 pounds less than the previous model's equivalents, and the AMG performance steering wheel has a dial under the left spoke that can be used to switch between regen settings.
The first vehicles are anticipated to arrive in the United States late next year, though we won't know how the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance sounds or feels until next month when AMG Chief Technical Officer Jochen Hermann is hurling you around a test track.