So, the cat’s out of the bag or should I say, the ‘four’ cylinders are out of the engine bay. Mercedes-AMG has finally confirmed with a long document that the upcoming C63 AMG will come with a 4-pot engine. This is their envisioned plan of switching to a different concept of AMG models which will be hybridized and this is something most of us have foreseen back in 2014 when BMW M chose to switch to 6-cylinder engines for the M3 and M4, ditching the V8 engine after just one generation. Now, Mercedes on the other hand is quite in a pickled situation, they’ve been using V8 blocks since 1997 for the C-Class AMG variants and suddenly chopping off half of the cylinders showers them with doubt.
However, this detailed press release they’ve published explaining their new approach to future AMG models is promising excitement rather than boredom. These upcoming models will be formed under the E-Performance umbrella as hybrid performance models which is rather similar to Porsche’s E-hybrid plate. To spot them, you will find the model name finishing with the letter ‘e’, for example ‘C63e’.
The whole hybrid performance platform has been developed alongside the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and also borrowed from the latter is an electric exhaust-gas turbo also known as a hybrid turbo. This platform will also extend to the Mercedes Electric Vehicle Architecture (EVA) which clearly confirms that there will be EQ models with the AMG badge.
The basic notion of this new strategy will be placing the engine in the front and the electric motor on the rear-axle to at least achieve a perfect weight distribution and contributing to the overall performance. Not only on the side of just going faster but also to lower fuel consumption and emissions to avoid EU regulations chasing them around.
This E-Performance hybrid system will be available with the V8 engine and the famous M139 4-cylinder engine from the 45 AMG models. Knowing that the V8 is still on offer but won’t be in the C63e angers some fans quite a bit but it is said that this variant will produce 805 hp (600 kW) and 1000 Nm of torque and that immediately takes it out of the equation, 644 hp (480 kW) is enough.
Here are some interesting things about this system. It will have a two-speed transmission for the electric motor whereby the first gear will be ideal for quick accelerations off the line. The electric motor alone, which will be powered by a 6.1 kWh li-ion battery, will produce 94 hp (70 kW) & 320 Nm continuously and only reach a peak power output of 201 hp (150 kW) for ten seconds contributing to an average 0-100 km/h sprint time of 3.0 seconds across all models.
It sounds like they have nailed it but while we are on the subject of ‘sound’, that is where the problems start. Taking away the V8 engine from the C63 is also stripping away a part of its character that people have come to adore and that is the growl exhaust note. That’s what makes it distinct from its current rivals but I guess customers will have to live with it or they may still enjoy fake V8 exhaust note piped through the speakers which AMG is planning to implement.
Another issue will be weight because already the current C63 AMG weighs close to 1.8 tons meaning the new one with its batteries will be well over 2 tons, considering the fact that the battery unit weighs 89 kilograms. Sure, straight-line speed it will absolutely dominate but going around corners and maneuvering at high speeds might prove it to be slower than its rivals, so it will be crucial to address that area and I hope they have worked around that.
We are expecting the first model to roll out with the E-Performance badge to be the AMG GT 73e 4 Door Coupe and the C63e to follow. Question is, will the 480 kW of power convince the masses who dwelled on the V8 to shift course towards this change? I guess we shall find out on the reveal day.
Source: Mercedes-AMG Press Release