The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S had plenty to offer German sedan enthusiasts looking for the perfect balance between luxury and pure V8 driving fun.
Like everything rolling in industry today, this guilty pleasure of internal combustion is increasingly fleeting. And Mercedes-AMG had to reinvent the C 63 S to keep up with the times.
The most shameless C-Class, now bearing the comically complex moniker C 63 SE Performance, attempts to pursue its mission by keeping a heat engine but adding hybridization. And not just any!
We spoke to Jochen Hermann, Technical Director at Mercedes-AMG, about some technical aspects of the new C 63 SE Performance.
A balance that favors performance over efficiency
A question arises: why hasn’t Mercedes-AMG revealed a fully electric C 63?
“AMG will soon have its own electric platform. But so far, the step is far too big. We are still working with the C-Class chassis and we can still do a lot with it. Adapting it to all-electric would not be a good idea at the moment,” says Hermann.
Mercedes-AMG has therefore designed a kind of “Frankenstein”, with a powertrain that optimizes combustion and combines it with electric propulsion. First, the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is not the one you find in the traditional C-Class, and it alone delivers up to 469 horsepower, making it the most powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine on the planet.
The C 63 SE Performance also has an electric motor located on the rear axle, powered by a 6.1 kWh battery. The 4MATIC+ four-wheel drive system is therefore included, but it differs from all other existing four-wheel drive systems – it is essentially a combination of mechanics and electrics.
Like some luxury hybrids on the market, it has a “virtual” limited-slip differential that can distribute torque accordingly by modulating the electric motor at the rear. However, there is still a mechanical connection between the front and rear axles. If a loss of grip occurs on the rear axle , the power of the electric motor can also be transferred to the front to compensate.
The total output of the system amounts to 671 horsepower when the Overboost function is activated. The system’s combined maximum torque is 752 lb-ft, enabling this C 63 to go from 0 to 100 km/h in just 3.4 seconds.
The overboost function is basically a discharge from the battery that sends an additional 80kW of power for 10 seconds at a time. In normal condition, the total output is still 561 horsepower. However, AMG assures that the recovery systems are so good that the system can be deployed frequently. We definitely have to confirm that!
The 400V system opens up a world of hybrid possibilities
Mercedes-AMG has brought together pretty much everything the automotive world has to offer in terms of hybrid technologies. Typically, mild-hybrid systems that focus on efficiency boost components such as turbochargers and transmission with 48V power. The C 43 AMG, on the other hand, has an electric turbocharger assisted by a 48V motor to increase response and reduce lag. On the C 63 SE Performance, 400V is available to supply these electrical systems.
A lot of work has gone into the battery, which borrows two key aspects from the manufacturer’s technical advances in Formula 1: performance per kilograms and an advanced cooling system that regulates the temperature optimally. This battery is located above the electric motor on the rear axle and weighs only 89 kg with a power-to-weight ratio of 1.7 kW (2.3 hp) per kg. Finally, the battery contains a coolant that cools each of the 560 cells individually.
The C 63 SE Performance can run in fully electric mode. But considering the emphasis on performance, it will only let you drive 13 kilometers distance. “Maximum range is not a priority, but drivers can use this mode to discreetly drive home or even leave in the morning without disturbing the neighbours”, explains Jochen Hermann.
But what about the signature AMG sound…?
If you’ve ever driven an AMG vehicle, you know that the sound of the exhaust plays an important role in the driving experience. And as high-performance cars move towards electrification, the mechanical sounds emanating from big-engined cars give way to a much more understated symphony.
The C 63 SE Performance is equipped with a pressure sensor in the exhaust connected to speakers to amplify the roar of the four cylinders. But as Jochen Hermann says, it’s not about the simulated sound from a V8. “The car gets its own sound signature. But beyond that, sound is associated with emotion. And drivers will have to trust every component in the car to get the AMG experience.”