The end of Mercedes-AMG’s love affair with its signature 4.0-litre, twin-turbo petrol V8 engine has begun with the launch of the brand’s new four-cylinder C 63 S E Performance.
Headline news is the car features a petrol/electric hybrid powertrain which Mercedes-AMG says borrows key technology from its Formula 1 racing program.
Power and torque outputs are up substantially compared to the outgoing V8 model; the E Performance producing 500kW and no less than 1020Nm from its combination of a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine and a single, two-speed, electric motor (sitting on the rear axle).
That’s a 33 per cent increase in peak power (up from 375kW) and a whopping 46 per cent boost to maximum torque (up from 700Nm).
The (M139l) petrol engine alone, uses a combination electric and exhaust gas turbo arrangement to produce 350kW/545Nm, and Mercedes-AMG is claiming it as the world’s most powerful four-cylinder production engine.
Drive goes to all four wheels via a nine-speed auto transmission and a specifically calibrated version of Merc’s ‘4Matic’ variable all-wheel drive system (with ‘Drift’ mode).
At the same time weight has pushed past 2.0 tonnes, the four-door weighing in at 2111kg, compared to a relatively trim 1730kg for the previous C 63 S sedan.
But those massive outputs are enough to overpower the 22 per cent weight gain, the new car able to accelerate from 0-100km/h in a supercar-rivalling 3.4 seconds (compared to 4.0sec for the old model).
Despite the extra heft and mega performance, claimed fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km, down from 8.2L/100km in the outgoing model.
Launched in sedan and wagon form, the new C 63 S E Performance is 83mm longer, and 76mm wider than a standard Mercedes-Benz C Class (at the front) thanks to an increased front track measurement.
Carspotters will notice a slim vent in the centre of the bonnet and, for the first time, a black AMG emblem replacing the three-pointed star and laurel wreath badge on the bonnet. There’s also an AMG-specific grille, aero-focused canards on the sculpted front apron, as well as matching side skirts and a deep diffuser at the rear.
Inside there’s a second-generation version of the ‘AMG Performance’ front seats, as well as a specific evolution of the Mercedes ‘MBUX’ multimedia system, featuring AMG and hybrid-specific displays and functions.
Digital instrument layout options include a ‘Supersport’ setup featuring a vertical menu structure, also reflected in the standard head-up display.
A new twin-spoke steering wheel maintains AMG’s ‘turn-and-press’ operation for major setting controls, while adding buttons to manage regeneration levels for the hybrid drive.
Speaking of which, the car’s 560-cell, 400-volt battery features a direct, fluid-based cooling system to maintain optimal operating temperature. This also means regenerative braking can be tuned more aggressively, from Level 0 through to Level 3, and even a ‘Race’ drive mode.
Overall there are eight drive programs – ‘Electric’ (allows pure EV driving up to 125km/h), ‘Comfort’, ‘Battery Hold’ (keeps the battery state constant through regen), ‘Sport’, ‘Sport+’, ‘Race’, ‘Slippery’ and ‘Individual’. It’s worth noting electric-only range is a modest 13km.
Conventional steel springs work in parallel with an adaptive damping system previously used in the AMG GT Black Series and GT GT3 customer racing cars. Rear-axle steering also features, as does a professional grade composite braking package, including huge ventilated rotors front and rear, as well as six-piston fixed calipers up front.
Mercedes-Benz has confirmed the C 63 S E Performance for local introduction in mid-2023, with pricing and final specification to be announced closer to launch. For reference, the out-going C 63 S Coupe is priced at $179,868, before on-road costs, with the Cabriolet version sitting at $201,368.
Keyword: New 2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance loses four cylinders, but gains more power... and weight