While carmakers often focus on bringing one major change every year, Mercedes seem to have skipped three with the all-new 2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance. Available in both sedan and wagon forms (only the former might come to India), the updated AMG ditches its V8 prowess for greener means. But is it any less meaner? Short answer, no.
For the long answer let’s crack the hood open. The first thing you’ll notice here is the lack of the V8 motor like its predecessor. It is now replaced with an M139l (l stands for longitudinal installation) engine, also seen on the C43 and the SL43. But unlike those two, this unit is designed to be the most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine in the world.
Yes, the displacement only does stand at 2.0-litres, with just four cylinders. But it puts out 476PS of power and 545Nm of torque on its own. This is more than other M139l-equipped cars, like the A45 S.
Right, so how was this achieved? Folks at Mercedes took their Formula One learnings (hopefully last year’s) and incorporated something called an ‘electric exhaust gas turbocharger,’ which is exactly what it sounds like. An electric motor is placed directly on the turbocharger shaft, between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the intake side.
This helps the shaft in generating a boost well before the exhaust stroke is completed. According to Mercedes, this allows C63 in generating more torque at lower revs. A similar system can also be found on the aforementioned C43 and SL43, but unlike those two, the C63 uses a bigger 400-volt hybrid system (compared to a 48-volt one). Additionally, it also gets the added help of a turbocharger, allowing for higher intake and hence more power.
All of this is before the electric boost, which happens at the rear axle, thanks to its 204PS electric motor, taking the combined output to 680PS. Just on electric power alone, the car can travel for 13km, with a top speed of 125kmph. And yes, these numbers do make it seem less efficient than other PHEVs in the market right now, but according to AMG, this is due to the priority here being given to power over efficiency.
And the results are quite spectacular to be fair. 0 to 100kmph comes in 3.4 seconds, which is down from 4.0 seconds of the older model. The top speed here is 250kmph, which can be raised to 280kmph. All of this combined makes the C63 sedan far more powerful, not only than the older models but also the competition like – the BMW M3 and even the BMW M5 Competition.
The other major update here comes in the form of its default all-wheel drive system, a first for the model. However, you do still have the option of configuring the gas motor to push the power only on the rear axle if you want to. Transmission here is handled via a conventional nine-speed epicyclic auto, with a wet clutch pack instead of the old torque converter system.
Standard equipment includes carbon brakes, adaptive dampers for the steel-spring suspension and Mercedes’ AMG Dynamics drive mode selector. It now comes with a new “master” mode, allowing for a bit of oversteer. The AMG branding is hard to escape, with graphics in the digital instrument cluster, heads-up display, the steering wheel and more.
On the outside, it gets Mercedes’ new Panamericana grille, a rather large-looking front air dam, sportier wheels and dual exhaust tips. Also for the first time, the AMG badge can be seen on the hood. The company also unveiled a C63 Wagon, but we doubt it’ll ever reach our shores. As far as the sedan is concerned, with local assembly, the C63 AMG might just disrupt the luxury performance segment in the Indian market.