With just over three years having passed since the emergence of rumours for the first time, Mercedes-AMG, late on Wednesday afternoon (21 September), officially unveiled the electrified four-cylinder C63 South Africa is expected to get next year.
Effectively previewed by the step-down C43 in April, the C63 will continue to be offered as a sedan or an estate in Europe, but unsurprisingly, its most controversial new centrepiece resides underneath the bonnet in the shape of the M139 2.0-litre turbocharged engine instead of the much loved 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8.
Joining the C43 in being the first sporting four-cylinder C-Class since the W202 era C230 Kompressor, the W206 C63, officially called the C63 S E Performance, pairs the mentioned engine also used on the A45 S and CLA 45 S, with a 150 kW electric motor mounted on the rear axle for an effective all-wheel-drive layout, another first for the badge.
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Along with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, an electric turbocharger also employed in the SL43, and the 400-volt electrified platform, the now plug-in hybrid C63 produces a combined 500kW/1 020Nm routed to all four corners via a revised version of the nine-speed MCT transmission.
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An output announced back in May, following the C63’s low-key debut in disguised form at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring, the outputs represent a massive 125kW/270Nm increase over the V8, with Mercedes-AMG claiming a range of 13 km at up to 125 km/h.
Despite the comparatively poor range delivered by the 70 kW battery powered by a 6.1-kWh electric motor, a configuration fitted intentionally, the C63 will still get from 0-100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 250 km/h or 280 km/h with the optional AMG Driver’s Package fitted.
Officially also the heaviest C63 ever made with a claimed kerb weight of 2 111 kg, another reason for the small capacity battery that tips the scales at 89 kg, the mechanical and chassis changes goes further than a simple revision to the standard MRA platform.
Like the C43, the C63’s setup incorporates elements from Mercedes’s Formula 1 programme, namely the battery and application of the configuration as a whole.
At the same time, Mercedes-AMG has reconfigured the Electronic Stability Programme to accommodate not only the electric motor and battery, but also the electronic limited slip differential with the added addition of eight driving modes.
While the Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual settings return, the self-explanatory Electric now features, along with an updated Race mode and a Battery Hold that keeps electric power, by added way of brake regeneration, at a constant regardless of speed.
In total, the mentioned energy recuperation offers up to four levels with as a much as 100 kW being able in the third setting.
Elsewhere, the three-pointed star has equipped the C63 with a new, standard, steering wheel system designed specifically for it, a standard steel spring or optional AMG Ride Control system with adaptive dampers plus three settings; Comfort, Sport and Sport+, and a new exhaust system that uses a series of speakers to emit what Affalterbach calls a “new sound experience” depending on the mode selected.
On the stopping front, the C63 employs a six-piston caliper setup at the front and single at the rear with the brakes being composite material made as standard. Carbon ceramic items are however available from the options list.
Design-wise, the C63 dispenses with the often criticised loutish exterior differences relative to the standard C-Class, by adopting a more discreet appearance, again similar to the C43.
It’s track increases by 76mm, the C63 receives AMG’s trademark Panamericana grille, wider door sills, front wings and the Jet Wing front bumper, air intakes behind the front wheel arches, a secondary flap for the charging port, standard 19-inch AMG light alloy wheels and the option of the 20-inch wheels, the AMG Carbon Pack and the AMG Night Package.
As with the C43, the biggest clue to the C63’s new powertrain is the Turbo Electrified badge that replaces the V8 BITURBO insignia on the front wings.
Inside, the model bespoke touches comprise AMG graphics and readouts within the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 11.7-inch MBUX infotainment system, Nappa leather AMG Sport or AMG Performance seats, the AMG Performance steering wheel and a selection of colours and materials.
Going on-sale in Europe next year with pricing still to be confirmed, the C63, as mentioned, is expected to come to South Africa in 2023 only in sedan guise with production set to take once again place at Benz’s East London Plant in the Eastern Cape.