Tuesday, February 7, 2023
First Reviews First review of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+

First review of the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+

  • The C63 is now powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine

  • The super sedan how has 671 hp and 752 ft-lb of torque.

  • The electric range is limited to 13 km… in Europe!


 

Malaga, Spain – The automobile industry is heading towards an all-electric future, but before moving on to the next chapter of transportation, a transitional period is necessary… at least in some cases. ICE-powered vehicles will gradually be replaced by pure electric ones, but what about everything in between?

Hybrids and plug-in hybrids are responsible for some emissions, but they have a smaller carbon footprint.

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé
2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé

We will have to get used to the fact that big engine cars will soon be a thing of the past, starting with this 2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance 4MATIC+, a spicier version that’s decidedly more explosive than the one it replaces. And yet, under the hood at the front, there are only four dents on the plastic panel that serves as a protection and heatshield for the actual block, which means the engine sticks to four cylinders rather than the eight from the old twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8.

In fact, the mythical sound of the German V8 is replaced by a “modest” 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, a displacement already in use in the Silver Star brand’s compact cars, except that this time, the performance sedan adds “E Performance” to the equation. This means there is electricity added to the mix. What’s more, the 4-cylinder engine is positioned longitudinally, unlike the brand’s compact models.

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé
2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé

On paper, the new rival to the BMW M3 and Audi RS 5 is a monster of acceleration, but it remains to be seen if fans of the sports sedan will embrace this new four-cylinder symphony instead of the mighty V8.

Performance by electrification

To meet increasingly stringent emissions standards, the wizards at AMG had no choice but to go back to the drawing board. The integration of the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in a longitudinal position was already a good start, but these days, it takes a little more to satisfy both the thrill-seeker and the consumer who’s looking for a vehicle that’s a little more fuel efficient.

That’s where the second electric motor with 201 horsepower and 236 ft-lb of torque comes in, powered by a 6.1 kWh battery pack. The result is a total of 671 horsepower and an even more impressive 752 ft-lb of torque when the two motors work together. That puts the new C 63 well above the 503 horsepower of the previous C 63 S model.

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé
2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé

However, there’s more to this plug-in hybrid system than just more “meat” under the right foot. The hybridization of the C 63 also allows the sedan to run on pure electric mode… for an estimated 13 km according to the WLTP calculation method, a distance that should not exceed 10 km of range when the car shows up on our roads in 2023.

That’s quite a ridiculous range for a conventional plug-in hybrid car of any body type. But, the C 63 S E Performance is more of an electrified super sedan than a fast plug-in hybrid capable of 0-100 km/h in just over 3 seconds.

In fact, it would be surprising if future owners of this top-of-the-line sedan would recharge their car every night after their day on the road to save a dozen kilometers of zero-emission range the next day. Yes, that distance will be useful for trips to the grocery store… if it’s not too far away, but the primary mission of this C 63 is twofold: first of all, to impress its driver with its staggering performance, but also to play the role of luxury sedan, because underneath this AMG reworked body, there’s also a comfortable, well-soundproofed and richly assembled C Class.

On the road and on the track

The organizers of this Spanish launch had taken the time to reserve the private track in Ascari, the location not far from our hotel in Malaga, Spain. However, getting there meant driving along some nice, winding country roads, an exercise in which the C 63 excelled, despite its heavy weight. The old model was no lightweight and still is, despite the reduced number of cylinders under the hood. You see, the entire hybrid system takes up the weight saved up front… with fewer emissions of course!

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé
2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé

On the demanding Ascari track, the most explosive C-Class on the market once again showcased its know-how, making yours truly work a bit harder. Let’s just say I had to work a little harder to keep up with the pace on the track. Fortunately, in the slower parts of the track, the rear steering was a gem in keeping the car on the ground, as well as in the very tight corners of the surrounding roads.

The sedan’s steering, while not the most precise in the industry, showed some nice things during the two-day test, while the braking also proved to be very competent on the road. At the Ascari track, however, I did feel some brake fading after five or six laps. However, we were not the first to subject the C63 to this track punishment.

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé
2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ Photo: Vincent Aubé

As for the mechanics, let’s just say that even if some purists will miss the old engine, the new approach is mind-blowing under strong acceleration, but even more so in the “Boost” mode, while the sound in Sport or Sport+ mode is guttural enough to seduce the driving enthusiast. From a personal point of view, I really enjoyed this four-cylinder symphony!

The verdict

After this first drive, it’s fair to ask if the old V8-powered livery was a better car than this electrically assisted variant. For purists, nothing will replace the muscular rumble of a good old V8 engine, but for the rest of us, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance 4MATIC+ 2024 is a superb continuation of the model’s history, despite its unmatched technical complexity.

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