AMG’s New C63 Is A 671-HP PHEV

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Pour one for the charismatic V-8 engine that turns the Mercedes-AMG C63 into a rowdy sports sedan. They will be missed. Now make way for the 2024 C63 S E-Performance, which goes on sale next year with a complicated four-cylinder plug-in-hybrid system that produces a combined 671 horsepower. Traditionalists may be displeased, but other than stealing one of the company’s AMG One hypercars, it’s almost as human as it gets to experience a Formula 1-inspired powertrain on the road.

Open the hood of the C63, and the car’s fire and brimstone is revealed to be a longitudinally mounted 2.0-liter turbo-four that produces 234.5 horsepower per liter—469 in total, or the same as the C63’s outgoing twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 made standard tone. The power comes without a noticeable lag, thanks to an electric motor on the shaft that connects the turbocharged compressor and turbine wheel. Powered by a 400-volt electric architecture, which also runs a belt-driven starter generator, the motor helps crank the turbo up to 150,000 rpm almost instantly, producing up to an insane 37.7 psi of boost. While the loss of the previous model’s thunderous V-8 acoustics is sad, the throaty roar of the new M139l four-banger does sound punchy at a peak of 6750-rpm power, even when you choose to amplify it through speakers in and out of the car.

The grunt of this hand-assembled four routes to AMG’s nine-speed automatic transmission with a clutch package in place of the torque converter. From there, a newly added variable 4Matic+ all-wheel drive system with a tire-sucking Drift setting locks down the front axle. The C63’s hybrid drive unit—a rugged electric motor with its own two-speed gearbox plus an electronically controlled limited-slip differential—is located on the rear axle and can drive all four wheels in EV mode. Above that sits a usable 196-pound lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 4.8 kWh, which shrinks the trunk volume of this C-class from 13 cubic feet to 10 cubic feet.

Fast power delivery is a hybrid system strategy: The drive unit is rated for a continuous 94 horsepower or a 10-second jolt of 201 horses as you pedal the accelerator past its kick-down arrestor. The EV’s range is only eight miles on an optimistic European cycle, although the C63 accelerates well on electron only to 81 mph. The onboard 3.7 kW AC charger can recharge the battery in about two hours via a 220 volt outlet.

In normal driving, the new C63 is far more docile than the rear-drive-only model it replaces. It hums softly over the electric or the muffled tap of the four-cylinder, the revised coil spring suspension soaking up much of the bumps that previously would have rattled the spines of its occupants. Standard rear-wheel steering that rotates up to 2.5 degrees aids low-speed maneuverability and high-speed composure, while the lower C-class’ 3.1-inch wider front track helps to plant it during big changes of direction. The pedal that controls the six-piston front and single-piston rear brakes (carbon-ceramic front rotors will be available after launch) has a firm, positive feel that the C300 model’s flaccid plug lacks. Overall, the C63 is 3.6 inches longer than the standard car and the wheelbase is 0.4 inches longer. Some E-Performance badges and subtle hood vents are key. Inside, you’ll find heavily supported AMG sports seats, plus performance and hybrid system readings on the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and 11.9-inch center touchscreen.

No less than eight drive modes manipulate the C63’s engine and drivetrain, three-position adaptive dampers, steering sensitivity and stability control via two control pods on the steering wheel. While kick-down boost is always available, the rear drive unit otherwise contributes 25 percent of its potential in Comfort mode, 65 percent in Sport and 80 percent in Sport+ and Race. There are also Individual, Slippery, and Electric modes, plus a Battery Hold setting that runs the petrol engine more to maintain the desired state of charge. Tapping the right steering wheel pod invokes four levels of regenerative braking, from zero to almost a pedal.

performance 2023 amg c63 se


Released on a southern Spanish mountain road, the C63’s obsessive engineering is starting to make sense. Improved fore-to-aft weight distribution, combined with well-weighted rear axle steering and helmet, help it attack corners with rock-solid poise and sharper reflexes. Bury the right pedal and slide out of a corner with up to 752 pound-feet of combined torque. Paddles on the steering wheel provide manual control of the nine-speed transmission, but never missed a beat when we left it running in Drive. Likewise, the shift from the two-speed rear end at around 87 mph is all but invisible.

As with the AMG Petronas Formula 1 race car, the C63’s challenge lies in the reliable speed of its electrical system. While it can recover an impressive amount of energy under braking, the repeated deployment of electrons requires keen attention to the limited power of the battery. Channel your inner Lewis Hamilton. The Race mode Boost program helps with this, coaching drivers on when to turn on the afterburner based on how aggressively you plan to lap any of the 30 currently charted circuits. Around the flowing runway of Ascari Race Resort, for example, its Endurance setting (there’s also a Qualification mode) calls for full boost to two straights, which leaves plenty of time to harvest energy and cool the battery in between.

But even with an estimated three seconds 60 mph which is much quicker, the new C63 can’t escape the physics of bringing around what are essentially two different powertrains. The new hardware has added about 700 pounds of mass (we estimate 4700 pounds overall), which you can feel in faster corners and in the braking zone, weighing down on the rather narrow 19- or 20-inch Michelin Pilot Sport 4S summer grip. tires (265 series width at the front, 275 at the rear). We weren’t able to ride on the optional Michelin Cup 2 R tires, but we might want them for track day.

The current estimated base price of close to $100,000 reflects the C63’s status as an engineering marvel with even greater bandwidth capabilities. The rebirth of high technology also reinforces that, with the help of powerful electric motors, wild internal combustion engines don’t need to shut down just yet. We still have a soft spot for its brutal V-8 predecessor. But the C63 S E-Performance leaves little doubt: The future of AMG performance looks both interesting and complex.



2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E-Performance
Vehicle Type: front engine, rear motorcycle, all-wheel-drive, 5 passengers, 4 door sedan

Base: $95,000

Turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve inline-4, 469 hp, 402 lb-ft + AC motor, 201 hp, 236 lb-ft (combined output: 671 hp, 752 lb-ft; 4.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack ; Built-in charger 3.7 kW)
F/R transmission: 9-speed automatic, 2-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 113.2 inches
Length: 190.6 inches
Width: 74.8 inches
Height: 57.4 inches
Passenger Volume: 94 ft3
Trunk Volume: 10 ft3
bridle weight (CD approx.): 4700 lb

60 mph: 3.0 seconds
100 mph: 6.7 seconds
1/4-Mile: 10.8 sec
Top Speed: 174 mph

Combined/City/Highway: 21/18/25 mpg
Combined Gasoline + Electric: 35 MPGe
EV range: 6 miles

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