This is the big one, then. While the Mercedes-AMG lineup continues to diversify, from flat-engined supercars to seven-seater SUVs, nothing represents the division quite like the C63. Take a regular compact Mercedes sedan or station wagon, install a mighty V8, watch shoppers flock. The method goes back to those C AMG Classes that existed even before the seminal W204 C63, the C55 and the C43, meaning a shift from tradition is arguably more significant here than elsewhere.
It is also some switch. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 was replaced by the 2.0-liter “M139” four-cylinder from the AMG A45 (and the new C43), with an electrically assisted exhaust gas turbo and a 204 hp electric motor. Half the size and half the cylinders for a C63, but a huge performance boost – this is a 680hp (or 500kW) C-Class, with a system torque rating of 752 lb-ft. Which are berserk numbers. The engine alone produces 476 hp at 6,750 rpm (or 238 hp per liter) and 402 lb ft, complemented by 204 hp and 236 lb ft from the electric motor. (We don’t even know how the system’s torque figure was achieved; technical information says it depends on the gear combination.) Power source aside, there’s no question that the new C63 traditionally has outstanding AMG performance. Both the sedan and the station wagon reached 100 km / h in 3.4 seconds, with a maximum speed possible depending on the maximum speed limiter. And that’s before tuners decide the limiter code – could this be the first 2.0-liter car in history capable of reaching 200mph?
Now, making a 680bhp four-cylinder C63 hybrid was clearly not a moment’s job, and neither is attempting to explain it. In addition to installing the C43, the ICE turbo now has a larger fan to boost the power from 406hp in that car to 476hp now. Or the same amount that those old ’55 supercharged AMG V8s used to do once upon a time. As is becoming AMG tradition now, the turbo is electrically assisted to help it spin faster and maintain boost pressure even when the accelerator is turned up; the specific output of the C63 here has to create some lag, so the engineers went to great lengths to mitigate that. The belt start is also part of the ICE package, starting the engine and taking care of the accessories. The familiar nine-speed MCT is also standard, as is 4Matic all-wheel drive compatible with Drift mode.
Then comes the new Benz school, that is, very F1 inspired, very AMG E Performance. The C63 follows the pattern outlined by the GT 63 SE Performance, as the goal of electrification is to dramatically increase performance for minimal weight gain, instead of creating an AMG PHEV with a long electric range. The key numbers are a C63 rated at 156g / km, 41mpg and with eight miles of electric range. But there is so much more.
The C63 is a P3 hybrid; an electric drive unit (EDU) consisting of a 204 hp engine, a two-speed gearbox and an electronically controlled limited slip differential is located on the rear axle. The 400 volt, 560 cell, 6.1 kWh battery, with a continuous output of 70 kW and a peak of 150 kW available for 10 seconds, sits above it. Each battery cell is liquid-cooled individually (!) By 14 liters of coolant to maintain the operating temperature at an average of 45 degrees, regardless of how it is used. “Even during fast laps in hybrid mode on the track, where acceleration (low battery) and deceleration (battery full) are frequent, the energy storage system maintains its high performance capacity”.
AMG points out some advantages of its proprietary hybrid design, with weight being the main one. The battery itself weighs 89 kg, which means 1.7 kW per kilo; apparently conventional batteries without direct cooling are typically half as efficient. Also, since it is on the rear axle, the electric motor can provide more immediate thrust; the same goes for that eLSD too – everything can respond much faster. The position of the EDU is also said to favor weight distribution and boasts “very high recovery efficiency”. The C63 can run on purely electric power at up to 125km / h, or 77mph, with charging possible via the 3.7kW onboard charger (and four brake recovery modes), a charging station, or at home.
How will all this work in reality? Many driving modes, for one thing, even more than the usual AMG standard. There are eight now under AMG Dynamic Select: Electric, Comfort, Battery Hold, Sport, Sport +, Race, Slippery and Individual, each of which varies the role played by the electric motor as well as the usual AMG Ride Control suspension and steering parameters. Four-wheel steering is also standard on the C63 for the first time, with three weight assistance settings: Comfort, Sport and Sport +. The AMG Dynamics control system is also standard, with Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master variously assigned to the different driving modes (or optionally in Individual). Faster modes reduce yaw damping while improving agility and feedback, says AMG. Intended for racing with the AMG Dynamics Master setting, the C63 “offers slightly oversteer vehicle balance, more direct steering and more agile cornering”. The AMG effect isn’t just in the software, as the C63 benefits from bespoke shock absorbers, composite brakes and a revised front axle with new joints and control arms.
Also interesting is the new electrified rear axle capable of managing traction before the intervention of the ESP, reducing the torque shared by the differential. It is estimated that this means that the stability control intervenes later or does not intervene at all, which must be good news. Drift mode receives only a fleeting mention in the C63 version, as presumably we’re all up to date on how it works now.
More time, understandably, was spent on how the C63 sounds. More important than ever now, given the charisma of the vanished V8. Then there is a loudspeaker to alert pedestrians, while those inside are treated with an “instantly recognizable” AMG sound. It is obtained by recording the sound of the engine before enriching it (their words, now ours) and then sending it through the audio system (with the help of external speakers as well). Complex then, but what else did you expect?
Elsewhere, the new C63 is a stylistically reassuring familiar AMG. It’s a meaner, more moody C-Class, as is the ’63 tradition – it doesn’t scream 680bhp, neither as a four-door sedan nor as a five-door station wagon. However, there are some changes once you get to the heart of the matter. Both are built with “extensively modified” AMG shells, with wider front wings and an extra 50mm length at the front. Both models actually have 10mm more wheelbase, with the sedan being 76mm longer than the standard overall and the station wagon 83mm. A bespoke AMG grille is standard and for the first time ever an AMG badge takes the place of a Mercedes on the hood. There are also E Performance badges, four exhausts in the best C63 tradition, standard 19-inch wheels and numerous exterior options: two carbon fiber packages, two AMG Night packages and an AMG aerodynamic package. For those buyers who want to shout a little louder on nearly 700 hp.
The interior follows the exterior by being recognizable C-Class with a few AMG upgrades, here including bespoke hybrid information displays and the AMG Performance steering wheel with what feels more pulsating than ever. The second generation of AMG Performance seats will be an option for C63 customers, featuring “seat side bolsters with weight-saving openings that also allow for better ventilation”. However, I wouldn’t worry too much about cutting the pounds; lightweight hybrid technology continues to accumulate it, which means that according to EC measurements the C63 is either a 2,111 kg sedan or a 2,145 kg station wagon …
Aside from the hefty curb weight, there seems to be a lot to encourage, even for those of us who wear black armbands for the V8. Two tons didn’t stop the 4-door GT from being epic, and the A45 with a less powerful version of this engine is an unforgettable hot hatch. Also, well, when was the last less-than-stellar AMG flagship? We remain cautiously optimistic. If you are inclined to vehemently disagree, we refer you to AMG Chief Technical Officer Jochen Hermann: “With its Performance hybrid drive and electrically assisted exhaust turbocharger, the new C 63 SE Performance is a technological masterpiece that takes a new approach. The electrified powertrain offers a completely new driving experience. The immediate response of the electric drive on the rear axle, the rapid build-up of torque, the rapid power delivery and even the absorption of our battery are very special features. the standard is added – adapting the rear-axle steering and fully variable all-wheel drive with Drift Mode: the new C 63 once again demonstrates the high level of technical competence that AMG has at its disposal. ” Or to put it another way: heavy, extremely complicated, outrageously powerful and rapid. Like an AMG, then.