- New high-performance AMG C 63 S E Performance model introduced
- Swaps out the previous C 63's turbo V8 for a turbo inline-four plug-in hybrid
- Nearly 700 horsepower on tap! From a four-cylinder!
- Part of the fifth generation C-Class introduced for 2022
No longer the entry-level model in Mercedes-Benz's lineup, the C-Class is now a true luxury sedan in its own right. Its 2022 redesign brought the high-tech interior design of one of Merc's most prestigious models — the S-Class sedan — to a smaller car at a far more attainable price point. The result is a cutting-edge compact with a seriously luxe cabin and a surprisingly strong value statement.
When Mercedes unveiled this C-Class generation, the automaker also announced it would be four-cylinder-only. While we miss the turbocharged V6 of the AMG C 43, it was really the axing of the AMG C 63 and its turbocharged V8 that hit the hardest. Would Mercedes really try to pack an inline-four under the hood of its M3-killer?
The answer is a resounding yes, but one look at the specs sheet of the 2024 Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63 S E Performance shows that it's not messing around. That doesn't exactly roll off the tongue — though we do give Mercedes credit for fitting the monikers of three of its most popular sedans in one — but this plug-in hybrid will hit 60 mph before you can say its full name out loud. Without further ado ...
Like all current C-Class models, the C 63 is primarily driven by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. However, a large turbocharger that utilizes an integrated electric motor (fed by a 400-volt electric system) to help spool the turbocharger quickly helps this hand-built four-cylinder develop 476 horsepower. For those keeping track, that's nearly double the output of the base C 300, and the torque bump from 295 lb-ft to 402 lb-ft is impressive too. And for the first time in the C 63's history, the engine routes power to all four wheels, courtesy of a nine-speed transmission.
But the fireworks don't stop there. The C 63 also plants a 150-kW electric motor at the rear axle, where it's joined by an electronically controlled limited-slip differential and a two-speed transmission. The electric motor primarily powers the rear wheels, though it can divert energy to the front if it detects too much slip and determines the car needs additional traction.
Between the two power sources, the C 63 generates a stonking maximum output of 680 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque. Note that this is only available for a short amount of time, as the electric motor only allows its max 201-horsepower boost in 10-second bursts. After that, its output falls to a still significant 94 hp. Mercedes says the C 63 will rocket from a standstill to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.4 seconds, which is about half a second quicker than the previous version.
While the C 63 is a plug-in hybrid, its 6.1-kWh battery pack is modestly sized, and the 3.7-kW onboard charger isn't designed to rapidly draw electricity from a charging station. Mercedes admits the electric component is primarily to augment acceleration, as EV range on a full charge is estimated at just 8 miles.
The C 63 isn't all about forward attack, of course. Extreme stopping and cornering performance are other AMG hallmarks, and the C 63 kicks things off with six-piston brakes up front (the rear uses a single), and we wouldn't be surprised if carbon-ceramics eventually made an appearance on the options list. On the handling side, the C 63 comes standard with adaptive dampers with three settings — Comfort, Sport and Sport + — and rear-axle steering, which tightens the turning radius at low speeds and offers increased vehicle stability at high speeds.
The C 63's cabin doesn't stray too far from that of the standard C-Class (which is to say, it looks downright luxurious in photos), but there are a few noteworthy additions. AMG sport seats are fitted as standard, and you can optionally spec a more aggressive AMG performance seat if attacking the track is in your future. The steering wheel features grippy faux suede at east and west positions so sweaty hands don't slip and slide, and glossy carbon-fiber trim helps drive home the sport theme.
The new Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63 S E Performance stuffs an exotic, high-output hybrid powertrain into the chassis of one of our favorite small luxury sedans. With an outrageous 680 horsepower on tap, it has the potential to be a giant-killer.