The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 ditches the V8 engine for a four-cylinder hybrid

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Mercedes-AMG has unveiled the C 63 SE Performance, the new top of the C-Class range and, with 670hp on tap, it’s the most powerful production C-Class ever.

Launched in saloon and estate form, the C 63 S brings to the table some of the know-how that Mercedes has gleaned from its motorsport efforts, including a high-performance hybrid powertrain and an electrically-assisted turbocharger system designed to eliminate power lag.

While the C 63 S features more muscular styling than a standard C-Class, the extent to which it’s been redesigned from the base model isn’t immediately apparent at first glance.

The front track has been widened to cope with the upgraded suspension, meaning the fenders are 76mm wider than those of a standard car; the front has been extended by 50 mm, while the overall length of the sedan and the station wagon is 83 mm longer in both cases, and even the wheelbase has been extended by 10 mm.

Other small styling cues signaling the intent of the C 63 S include the vented, domed bonnet, AMG-specific grille and front apron, and a round black AMG badge on the bonnet instead of the traditional Mercedes logo (though that the three-pointed star remains on the grid).

Under the new hood is the key to the C 63’s outrageous performance in the form of what Mercedes claims is the world’s most powerful four-cylinder powertrain.

This powertrain sees a 469hp 2-liter turbocharged engine up front mated to a 201hp electric motor in the rear to deliver up to 670hp and a substantial 752lb-ft of torque to all four wheels, powered via a nine-speed multi-clutch automatic gearbox. .

As a result, the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 can manage a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds – more than half a second quicker than the outgoing version.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance Estate

In a normal turbocharger, the exhaust gases alone spin the turbine wheel, which sometimes results in a momentary lag in acceleration. The C 63 S, however, uses a small electric motor inside the turbocharger to spin the compressor at any time if needed, maintaining boost pressure to ensure there is never a delay between when the driver puts their foot down and how the engine responds.

The electric motor also helps ensure quick acceleration, sending instant torque to the rear axle via a two-speed electric gearbox and electronic limited-slip differential.

Unusually, this motor is also connected to the front wheels via a driveshaft, meaning that if the car’s stability systems detect wheelspin at the rear, the motor transfers power to the front wheels to improve traction. .

Thanks to an energy recovery system – which Mercedes says is modeled on that found in its F1 cars – this extra energy from the battery and engine is always available when the driver needs it, such as when overtaking or accelerating out of a corner.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance

The hybrid system is not everything About the power though: the direct-cooled 6.1kWh battery (rechargeable via the 3.7kW onboard AC charger) can deliver around eight miles of electric driving on a full charge alone.

The driver is spoiled for choice when it comes to how the C 63 S and its hybrid system deliver their power, with eight different drive modes ranging from the self-explanatory “Electric” to “Race” to “Slippery”.

Electric keeps things battery-only until the driver wants more power or the battery runs out; Comfort balances electric and engine power for everyday driving conditions; Sport and Sport+ tilt the balance towards performance, sharpening throttle responses and gear changes, increasing the thrust of the electric motor; Race takes this to an even higher level and is primarily intended for track use; Slippery addresses difficult surfaces by reducing power and preventing electric-only operation.

Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance Estate

Meanwhile, the electronically controlled suspension system uses adaptive dampers to best manage damping and ride quality based on one of three selectable damping maps: Comfort, Sport or Sport+.

Stopping power is provided by six-piston fixed brake calipers up front and functioning single-piston floating calipers at the rear, designed to resist fade under heavy use.

Pricing for the Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance has yet to be announced, but expect just over £80,000.

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