The 2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance gains Formula 1-derived tech to crank up the power, standard rear-wheel steering, and more.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged internal-combustion four-cylinder makes 469 hp before any hybrid assistance.
Factor in the hybrid boost and Stuttgart's latest muscle car pounds out 671 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque.
To quote Porky Pig, “That’s all, folks.” The once fire-breathing Mercedes-AMG C63 swaps its V8 for a four-cylinder for 2024. While this was long expected, the time has finally come. Now that the bad news is out of the way, there’s good news: the hybrid powertrain filling the void should offer enough power to make up for the missing four cylinders. The C63 S E Performance gains Formula 1-derived tech to crank up the power, standard rear-wheel steering and more.
Leading the charge with the major changes to the C63 is the powertrain. The internal-combustion 2.0-liter I4 sports an electronic turbocharger and is mounted longitudinally in the chassis to feed the nine-speed transmission. As hard as it might be to believe, this 2.0-liter engine makes a staggering 469 hp without any help from the hybrid system, which is a ridiculous 235 hp per liter. The team at Mercedes-AMG says this M139L engine is similar to other Mercedes four-pots but with a “significantly larger” turbocharger.
This exhaust-gas turbo isn’t just a boring snail shell either—it uses an electric motor to spool the compressor, which reduces turbo lag and effectively lowers the boost threshold. This should deliver more linear throttle response and more dynamic control over the car’s inputs. Because of the size of the electric motor and the demand of the turbocharger, Mercedes opts to use its 400-volt hybrid system to also feed the turbo.
This new hybrid powertrain cranks total output to 671 hp and a whopping 752 lb-ft of torque. That means the hybrid system adds 201 hp to the C63 S E Performance’s already potent internal-combustion powertrain. The hybrid system relies on a rear-mounted electric motor and a high-performance battery. The 201-hp electric motor feeds a two-speed transmission before that power transfers to the rear axle. Blending the high-output electric motor with the gasoline engine means this C63 can rocket to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, matching the Ferrari F458 Italia. More importantly, it’s 0.4 seconds quicker to 60 than the V8-powered C63 S.
If you’re wondering if the folks at AMG would use the hybrid powertrain to better control traction and wheel slip, the answer is a resounding "yes." The hybrid system works with the traction control system to power the wheels with the most traction, via the prop shaft. The electric motor feeding the rear wheels can send power to the front if the situation requires.
As you’d expect with a hybrid, there is selectable energy recovery. The C63 S E Performance ranges from no energy recovery at level zero, which means it will free wheel like a standard internal-combustion vehicle, to what the company calls level three, which is effectively one-pedal driving. The Race mode defaults to level one recuperation, which is a light level of off-throttle energy recovery.
This energy shoots back to the relatively small 6.1-kWh battery that can be charged by plugging in the onboard 3.7-kW charger and can push you eight miles without any help from the gasoline-burning engine. These metrics aren’t great by any means, but the point of this onboard battery isn’t a long electric-only range but instead to offer a performance boost at low engine speed. The battery weighs 201 pounds, which is not a terrible weight penalty considering the extra performance. Adding to that, the battery is positioned above the rear wheels, which should help traction.
Joining the new powertrain is a standard rear-wheel steering system that can angle the rear wheels up to 2.5 degrees. Below 62 mph, the rear wheels steer in the opposite direction of the front wheels, and over 62 mph the rear wheels steer in the same direction as the front wheels, for instance, when changing lanes on the highway. This should reduce steering radius at low speeds while also making high-speed maneuvers easier.
This hybrid C63 will also carry the same luxury appointments you’ve come to expect from an AMG-badged Mercedes. While the interior carries the same basic shape and features as the standard C-Class it's built upon, the C63 gets a set of second-generation AMG Performance seats up front for an extra charge. These new seats are reportedly lighter than the previous-generation seats and with better ventilation through the bolstered areas.
As for the missing exhaust note, Mercedes-AMG says the upcoming AMG C63 S E Performance will sport speakers to augment the sound. While this C63 will feature the legally required Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System so pedestrians know there is an electric vehicle backing up, it also will feature external speakers to mimic the sound of the gas engine. Mercedes does this with a sensor that tracks the exhaust pressure and will apparently enrich the sound. This exhaust noise is also pumped through the interior speakers to add that AMG emotion.
It’s hard to say if the latest AMG addition will give us the same excitement as the 6.2-liter V8, or even the turbocharged 4.0-liter-powered C63 models. Though, Mercedes-AMG has shown it can reliably churn out hilariously fun and thrilling vehicles, so we'll reserve judgment until we can climb behind the wheel to see what it’s all about.
Do you think this four-cylinder Mercedes-AMG can live up to the C63’s legacy, or is a four-cylinder C63 a misstep? Tell us your thoughts below.