Mercedes has dropped the V8 from the AMG C-Class flagship – but instead has a supercharged four-cylinder with Formula 1 technology, all-wheel drive and a plug-in hybrid system for a total of 500 kW.
- 2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE Performance unveiled in Australia in mid-2023
- 500kW/1020Nm total power, 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds, all-wheel drive
- The world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine with a Formula 1-derived electric turbocharger
- Plug-in hybrid system with 150 kW electric motor, two-speed rear wheel gearbox
- Claimed curb weight of 2.1 tons, 300 kg more than the V8 C63 S
Mercedes AMG killed the V8 in its C-Class performance sedan — and replaced it with that 2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE performancepowered by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, F1 turbo technology and an electric motor.
The new C63 is the first top-of-the-line AMG C-Class in almost 20 years (since 2004) to do without a V8 – but also the most powerful, with a mix of four cylinders, turbocharging and hybrid technology for overall 500kW and 1020 Nm.
With standard all-wheel drive, the result is a 0-100 km/h time of 3.4 seconds – 0.6 seconds faster than the outgoing rear-wheel drive V8 model – and a top speed of up to 280 km/h.
Formula 1 genes are spread throughout the battery pack – developed in collaboration with Mercedes-AMG F1 Team engine builders – while the advertised electric range is just 13km as the battery is designed for performance rather than efficiency.
First deliveries in Australia are due in mid-2023, in sedan form only – although a wagon will still be available in Europe. A price increase over the outgoing C63 S of approximately $170,000 plus road costs is likely.
For everything you need to know about the new 2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE performancesee the subheadings below.
2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE performance engine and hybrid system
The headline figures for the new Mercedes-AMG C63? exits from 500 kW and 1020 Nm – 125kW and 320Nm more than the old V8 – for a 3.4 seconds 0-100km/h hyphen and a 280 km/h top speed with the right checkboxes ticked in the sedan.
Under the bonnet of the new C63 is a turbocharged version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘M139’ petrol engine in the A45 S Hot Hatch – complemented by electric turbocharger technology derived from Mercedes-AMG’s Formula 1 cars .
It places an electric motor between the two wheels of the turbocharger and allows the turbo to rev up at low revs when the exhaust fumes aren’t enough to do it on its own.
The system runs on the same 400-volt electrical system as the battery – rather than a 48-volt low-voltage system like the smaller C43 – and is capable of “maintaining boost pressure at all times,” says Mercedes-AMG, but theoretically eliminates everything the turbo lag.
With the Formula 1-derived turbocharger, the 2.0-litre engine evolves into the most powerful four-cylinder ever installed in a road car 350kW (at 6725rpm) and 545Nm (from 5250-5500 rpm) alone – up to the 310 kW / 500 Nm it generates in the hot hatch A45 S without the electric turbo.
The engine is supported by a “belt starter generator” that operates the air conditioning, lights and other ancillary units when the engine is switched off and the high-voltage battery is empty. But instead of 48 volts like the C43, it runs at a much higher 400 volts.
The other half of the mechanical package is the plug-in hybrid System that uses a 150kW electric motor to drive the rear wheels through its own two-speed gearbox and limited-slip differential.
Mercedes-AMG says mounting the electric motor on the rear axle allows it to respond more quickly, improve the car’s weight distribution and minimize the need for stability control system intervention if a rear wheel loses traction.
The gearbox’s first gear is used at speeds of up to 140 km/h – corresponding to the engine’s maximum speed of 13,500 rpm – allowing the C63 to maximize acceleration at both low and high speeds.
Developed with the Mercedes-AMG F1 team in the UK, the battery pack is designed for fast charging and discharging when driving fast around a race track and offers twice the energy density of the lithium-ion battery of a conventional plug-in hybrid car.
It can deliver 70 kW in normal driving or up to 150 kW during short “boost” phases – and states a capacity of 6.1 kWh for just 13 kilometers of electric range according to the European WLTP tests.
The battery can be charged on a 3.7kW AC wallbox – and each of its 560 cells is individually liquid-cooled to prevent overheating at high speeds.
Eight modes control the hybrid system, from Electric – which only uses battery power at speeds up to 125 km/h and can send electric torque to the front wheels if the rear wheels lose grip – to Race, which maximizes petrol and electric power for optimal performance .
Comfort, Sport and Sport+ vary the balance between petrol and electric propulsion, Individual allows the driver to do this themselves, Slippery is designed to maximize grip and Battery Hold uses the petrol engine to maintain the battery’s charge level.
There are also four regenerative braking modes – from coasting to “single pedal” mode – as well as a system that reproduces a “typical AMG sound” from the engine through speakers inside and outside the vehicle.
2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE Performance transmission, powertrain and chassis
The hybrid system’s power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission, shared with other AMG models and offering launch control functionality.
Like other AWD models from Mercedes-AMG, the 4Matic+ (AWD) all-wheel drive system offers drift mode – decoupling the front axle and switching off the stability control.
While the new C63 is the most powerful C-Class ever, it’s also the heaviest, tipping the scales at 2111kg for the sedan – over 300kg more than the previous generation C63 S, with a V8 engine, non-hybrid system and without a driven front axle.
Under the skin, adaptive suspension is standard, with C63-specific components made from lightweight materials. Variable sport steering, which increases in weight between driving modes, is also fitted.
Rear-wheel steering is standard and can rotate up to 2.5 degrees in the opposite direction to the front wheels – for a reduced turning radius – or 0.7 degrees in the same direction as the front wheels at speeds up to 100 km/h 100 km/h, which helps stability.
Other highlights include the limited-slip rear differential, a multi-mode stability control system, 19-inch or 20-inch alloy wheels, high-performance tires, and six-piston front and single-piston compound brakes.
2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE performance design and interior
Based on the latest generation of Mercedes-Benz C-Class but “extensively modified”, the new C63 is 83mm longer overall, 10mm longer in wheelbase and 76mm wider at the front than the standard car.
AMG’s styling hallmarks are present – the vertical “Panamericana” grille louvers and engine badging behind the front wheels – as well as more aggressive front and rear bumpers and the square quad exhaust tips exclusive to ’63-badge AMGs.
There’s also a unique vented bonnet, an extended rear lip spoiler, C63 badging with red accents, E-Performance badging and an AMG badging on the bonnet in place of the traditional Mercedes laurel wreath logo – reportedly a first for an AMG model .
Buyers can choose from a range of exterior colors – including an exclusive Graphite Gray Magno matte color – and two carbon exterior packages, two black styling packages and an AMG aerodynamics package.
In the interior there is a choice of standard sports seats or AMG performance bucket seats – with “weight-saving openings that also enable better ventilation”, according to AMG – with nappa leather appointments and contrasting stitching.
There’s a new steering wheel with rotating shortcut keys for key driving functions, and unique graphics for the infotainment system (including a Track Pace app to record lap times), the instrument cluster and head-up display.
2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE Performance: release date and prices in Australia
That 2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 SE performance is due in Australian showrooms mid 2023 – a few months after the mild hybrid C43, due in the first months of the year. Only the sedan will be available; The C-Class car range was dropped in Australia.
Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but given the added cost of the new model’s hybrid system, electric turbo and 2.0-liter engine, a price increase above the $168,176 plus road cost of the outgoing C63 S (last in the year offered in 2021) very likely required.
The regular C-Class range was hit with price increases ranging from $12,000 to $15,100 when it launched in Australia earlier this year.
While the C63 S sedan will undergo an overhaul, the previous generation V8-powered C63 S coupes and convertibles will remain in showrooms.
These will be replaced by a new CLE coupe and convertible due out next year, succeeding both the C-Class and E-Class two-door. AMG versions of these are expected, although unlikely before 2024.
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