The Mercedes-AMG C63 will exchange its glorious 4.0-litre V8 for a turbocharged and hybridised 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol-electric setup when the next all-new version arrives, in what has to be the most dramatic drivetrain switcheroo we’ve yet seen from any of the major manufacturers.
A report in Autocar says the new, variable four-wheel drive machine is already in testing at AMG’s headquarters and will be good for over 500bhp. AMG will just have to hope that its future customers are more interested in electric drive capability than the noise and character that continues to define the brand’s very identity.
Advantages cited by the brand apparently include lighter weight than the V8 – although not by much, once the hybrid systems are added – and a lower centre of gravity for better overall handling. The real reason for the swap is lower emissions, of course. Mercedes is battling hard to reduce its fleet CO2 output before the EU imposes fines for non-compliance with incoming 2021 rules requiring an average of 95g/km.
This new C63 will use the same M139 four-pot that is in transverse service in the A45, but mounted longitudinally and with a significant amount of hybrid boosting. The engine alone develops 416bhp in the latest A-Class performance flagship, along with 369lb ft of torque. Versions of the electrified update will see service not just in the C63 and presumably a C63 S, but also in the ‘43’ sub-ranges thanks to a planned de-tune.
The hybrid setup will be based around a 48-volt integrated alternator-starter motor similar to the one used by the straight-six ‘53’ models, we understand. Mounted on the gearbox, it currently pumps 22bhp but 184bhp straight into the drive line. AMG is said to be cranking the power figure in particular right up for the future C63.
Power will travel through the familiar nine-speed torque converter already available. It is expected to use only a small hybrid battery and won’t have any exceptional electric-only driving capability, but it will use a potentially F1-derived advanced energy-recovery system that harvests otherwise wasted power from each wheel.
Arrival of the all-new and very different C63 is slated for 2022, so if you want a brand new one with a sledgehammer twin-turbo V8, now is the time to start saving – hard.