Last night, Mercedes-Benz took the wraps off the new hottest C-Class, the AMG C 63. I’ve some distressing news if you were hoping for a thumping V8 under that bonnet. But for the rest of us that saw the writing on the wall, you already know the deal.
Its full name is the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance, and its makers say it funnels plenty of F1 tech into a road car, such as to effectively eliminate turbo-lag (not that it was really an issue in their twin-turbo V8s, really). Also, apparently there is no ‘non-S’ variant this time around.
Fortunately, what we do have is an estate/wagon version revealed at the same time as the sedan like it's not even a big deal #BMW.
Many months earlier, Affalterbach was already busy laying padding to soften this particularly sour blow, as rumours swirled about the next C 63 shedding a large displacement engine for what is essentially the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder big-turbo powerplant first seen in the W177 A 45 S working together with an electric motor for even more oomph.
While that M139 produced 410PS in the C 43 and 420PS in the AWD mega hatchback - and at the time being crowned the most powerful production four-cylinder by specific output - AMG has cranked it up even more here via an electric turbocharger that runs off a 400V architecture. Virtually instant spooling and big power.
This, as well as through means we only presume to be black magic, the 1,991cc unit produces a mighty 476PS and 545Nm on its own. That’s 238PS per-litre - nuts! The rear-axle mounted electric motor is a bit of a brute as well, delivering 201PS and 320Nm, giving the all-new C 63 a total combined output of 680PS and a massive four-figure peak torque figure: 1,020Nm.
Pictured: AMG C 43
All these superlative numbers are seemingly meant to distract AMG loyalists from the fact that it no longer has that throaty V8 rumble and street brawler character. We’ve no doubt the new car is seriously quick, but also suspect that something has inevitably been lost. Interestingly, this initial reveal included no official hi-res image of the car with its bonnet open. Wonder why?
Engine power gets routed to the 9-speed automatic before it is sent to all four wheels (for the first time in a C 63) via Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic system to match rivals like the BMW M3 xDrive and Audi RS4 Avant that have similar all-paw ability. AMG claims it needs just 3.4 seconds to rocket to 100km/h while top speed is electronically limited in typical fashion to 250km/h.
While the lesser C 43’s AWD system maintained a fixed 31:69 torque split, the C 63’s is fully variable and even gains the capability of decoupling the front axle entirely for a RWD drift mode.
It ticks the boxes, for sure, with the new hybrid powertrain granting more power, torque, and more rapid acceleration over its predecessor and its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. Efficiency is another big plus too, and since it’s a PHEV, its modest 6.1kWh onboard lithium-ion battery can supply enough juice to propel the car for 13km without invoking the engine.
That said, though many lamented the BMW G80 for its challenging looks as much as its bulkier size and weight (with xDrive) at just under 1,800kg, this newest AMG equivalent is now a 2.1-tonne performance sedan thanks to its shift to hybrid power, roughly an increase of 300kg over the older model.
For added agility and perhaps to offset all that added mass, they’ve also equipped the car with rear-axle steering (up to 2.5 degrees) and a set of adaptive dampers. Rotor dimensions for the standard steel brakes (ceramics optional) are not disclosed but predictably massive paired to six-piston calipers up front, though much of the normal stopping power is meant to be significantly aided by 4-stage regenerative braking.
Visually, the C 63 looks incredible. Mercedes-AMG has honed its ability to ramp up the aggression over Benz’s base cars, and the leap from the standard W206 to this is noticeable more athletic but tastefully restrained. Can’t say the same about the contrast between the M3 and a normal 3 Series.
Inside, the same ethos is reflected with distinctly racier trim but nothing overt. The body-hugging sport seats notwithstanding, there really isn’t much that shouts about the fact that you’ve access to 1,020Nm (in the right drive mode and with everythin fully charged) behind that right pedal, managing to give the impression that you’re in something as docile as an AMG-Line.
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance certainly rocks the boat and will no doubt divide opinion. We can’t wait for the chance to drive one nonetheless. There are huge performance leaps here and the tech in play to achieve that is very impressive, but with that is the inclusion of so much more complexity and many more kilograms.
There's just something about cars. It's a conveyance, it's a liability, it's a tool; but it can also be a source of joy, pride, inspiration and passion. It's much like clothes versus fashion. And like the latter, the pursuit of perfection never ends.