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New AMG-Mercedes C 63 is the most powerful C-Class ever. Image by Mercedes-AMG.

New AMG-Mercedes C 63 is the most powerful C-Class ever
It may not have a V8, but motorsport tech and 680hp are not to be sniffed at.
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What's all this about?

This is the AMG-Mercedes C 63 S E Performance and, with 680hp thanks to its turbocharged four-cylinder engine, itís more powerful than any C 63 that has gone before it ó even those equipped with the thunderous old 4.0-litre V8. The C 63 is blisteringly quick: think 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds, and thatís something helped by a raft of technologies drawn from Mercedesí experience in motorsport, particularly its F1 programme where the cars also employ turbocharged hybrid-assisted powertrains.

What kind of motorsport technologies?

The turbo system for starters. Normally a turbocharger uses exhaust gases alone to spin the compressor wheel which results in a momentary lag between when the driver puts their foot down and the turbo kicks in. Not in the C 63. Instead, a tiny electric motor keeps the compressor spinning at all times, maintaining boost pressure for faster, more linear acceleration.

And it's a hybrid?

Technically itís a plug-in hybrid and the little 6.1kWh battery (mounted over the rear axle for better weight distribution) can indeed be charged using the on-board 3.7kW AC charger to deliver an electric-only range of around eight miles. No, thatís really not much, but the point of the hybrid system isnít so much range and economy, itís more to supplement the power delivery ó something it does very well. That battery supplies an electric motor which normally puts out 95hp to gently assist the engine, though it can produce a rather more impressive 204hp in short ten-second bursts when required. The way the hybrid system operates, the way it sends power to the rear wheels through a two-speed electric transmission and a limited-slip differential, the way it can transfer power up along the prop-shaft to the front wheels for extra traction when the carís stability systems detect slippage at the rear wheels, the way the regenerative braking recuperates energy to ensure that the driver always has ample power on tap when overtaking or accelerating out of a corner is all, Mercedes says, inspired by its motorsport programmes.

What about the petrol engine?

Itís the most powerful road-going four-banger in the world, turning out 476hp on its own and putting its power down through a nine-speed, multi-clutch transmission. All in, with the engine and hybrid system combined, as well as 680hp in total, thereís a meaty 1,020Nm of torque.

Is there something a little odd about the looks?

Yes, though not in a bad way. More purposeful styling cues are par for the course. Thereís an AMG-specific grille, for instance, and air curtains in the front apron channelling air to where itís needed. Thereís a vented and bulging bonnet, and so too has the usual Mercedes bonnet badge been replaced by a black AMG roundel (though the three-pointed star remains in place on the grille). The overall dimensions are actually slightly bigger than both the standard C-Class and the C 43 4Matic, with the wheel arches being 76mm wider to accommodate a wider track; the length too is 83mm more in both saloon and estate versions, while the wheelbase has grown by a centimetre.

Wait, there's an estate?

Yes, thereís an estate version in addition to the saloon from launch. Which is nice.

How's the interior?

Itís well-equipped for sure, with sports seats as standard or even sportier, more heavily bolstered alternatives available as an option. Thereís no sign of the big, dashboard-spanning Hyperscreen array seen on some of Mercedesí other models, though there is a sizeable rectangular digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a large portrait-aspect touchscreen in the middle of the dash through which the driver can alter the carís driving characteristics.

How so?

A range of driving modes mean that the C 63ís power and performance delivery can be tailored to the situation or the driverís preferences. Electric keeps the car in electric-only mode until the driver demands more power or the battery runs down; Slippery is, as the name suggests, designed for trickier conditions and surfaces and reduces power and prevents the car from being driven in electric-only mode; Comfort strikes a nice balance of battery and engine power for everyday motoring; Sport and Sport+ tap into the carís performance potential a bit more, sharpening up the throttle responses and gear shifts and turning up the boost from the motor that bit more; Race is more extreme than either Sport settings and is designed mainly for track use.

So it's fast, but does it handle and stop?

Like the driving modes, also selectable is the level of damping, with the suspension using steel springs, electronic control and adaptive dampers to allow drivers to choose between three different damping maps ó Comfort, Sport and Sport+ ó which change the firmness of the ride. Stopping power comes courtesy of fixed six-piston calipers up front and floating one-piston calipers at the rear, though four degrees of regenerative braking ranging from almost none to full one-pedal driving takes some of the load of the mechanical braking system.

When is it arriving?

Except to say that the new C 63 will be coming in 2023, neither the arrival date or the pricing have yet been confirmed.

David Mullen - 22 Sep 2022

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E-Performance Reveal. Image by Mercedes-AMG.2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E-Performance Reveal. Image by Mercedes-AMG.   

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