Rocket Saloon – Mercedes AMG C 63S

11 Jan 2024

To say the Mercedes-AMG C 63S performance is a wolf in sheep's clothing is not only stating the obvious, but a gross understatement of the car's prowess.

The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E PERFORMANCE (combined fuel consumption, weighted: 6.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions, weighted: 156 g/km; combined electric energy consumption, weighted: 11.7 kWh/100 km) exterior: MANUFAKTUR graphit grey magno; interior: Nappa leather AMG black with grey contrast stitching; combined fuel consumption, weighted: 6.9 l/100 km; combined CO2 emissions, weighted: 156 g/km; combined electric energy consumption, weighted: 11.7 kWh/100 km*

The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Performance is the world’s most powerful four-cylinder engine. That is an accolade that is not easy to live up to, but Mercedes-Benz does it with great aplomb in this road rocket.

Singaporeans will get a taste of the C 63 S Performance when it is launched at the Singapore Motorshow 2024. For the first time in a C 63, the fully variable all-wheel drive system AMG Performance 4MATIC+ is used to transfer the drive power to the road and includes a Drift Mode for even more driving pleasure. Added to this is an active rear axle steering as standard, another unique feature in this segment.

From the exterior, the new C 63 S is much more than what a C-Class will look if it had bulked up and gone to the gym. Based on an extensively modified AMG body shell, the front end is 50mm longer and the front wings are wider. It measures an extra 83mm and has a wider track width at the front axle resulting in 76mm more overall width at the front, and the wheelbase is grown by 10mm. Overall, this results in a layout that gives the new C 63 S a powerful, stretched, and muscular look.

Fine details of the AMG-specific radiator grille, and AMG front apron in jet-wing design hint at its pedigree. Matching side skirts, the rear apron with large diffuser as well as the two trapezoidal, externally ribbed dual tailpipe trims round off the design.

In the interior, AMG sports seats with special upholstery layout and a distinctive stitching pattern add to the refined impression. There are also many individual choices available for the interior, along with exclusive colours and various nappa leather upholsteries with an embossed AMG emblem in the front head restraints, to emphasise either the sporty or the luxurious side of the C 63 S. The completely redesigned second-generation AMG Performance seat is standard, and its special feature is the seat side bolsters with weight-saving openings that also allow better ventilation. With nappa leather upholstery, these also feature a contrasting colour as an extra highlight.

Inside, the MBUX infotainment system includes various AMG and hybrid-specific displays and functions including special displays in the instrument cluster, on the portrait-orientation multimedia central display in the centre console and on the optional head-up display. The shortcut button for the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs and the AMG TRACK PACE, with the latter used as a data logger on the racetrack, provides additional information for drivers. The TRACK PACE records more than 80 vehicle-specific data such as speed, acceleration, steering angle and brake pedal actuation ten times per second, while driving around a race track. In addition, the lap and sector times are also displayed.

In the heart of the C 63 S Performance sits the AMG-specific E Performance hybrid Drive with a combustion engine in the front and an electric motor in the rear. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine is combined with a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, a high-performance battery developed in Affalterbach and a fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. The system output of 500 kW (680hp) and the maximum system torque of 1020 Nm make for impressive driving performance, allowing the saloon to accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds.

The 150 kW (204hp) electric motor is positioned at the rear axle, where it is integrated with an electrically shifted two-speed gearbox and the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential in a compact electric drive unit (EDU), and experts refer to this layout as a P3 hybrid. The lightweight high-performance battery is also located in the rear above the rear axle giving the advantage of the motor acting directly on the rear axle and, therefore converting power more directly into propulsion when accelerating.

The high-performance battery offers a capacity of 6.1kWh and continuous output of 70kW and a peak of 150kW for 10 seconds. Weighing in at only 89kg, and a high-power density of 1.7kW/kg, the battery is designed for fast power delivery and draw, but the electric range of 13km still allows practical operating radius. The eight AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes are “Electric”, “Comfort”, “Battery Hold”, “Sport”, “Sport+”, “RACE”, “Slippery” and “Individual”, and these modes are precisely tailored to the new drive technology, thus, offer a wide range of driving experiences from efficient to dynamic. In Battery Hold, similarly to Comfort, the combustion engine and electric motor run based on the situation with a maximum boost of around 25 per cent. The difference is that in this mode, the battery state of charge remains constant.

Despite its awesome power, the hybrid nature of the C 63 S makes for a silent ride. The Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System should calm drivers concerned that their on-coming vehicle goes unnoticed by pedestrians. When on all-electric power, the system emits a specially composed, low-frequency and speed-modulated AMG sound. The system is active up to 20 km/h, where the electric drive signal fades out harmoniously. Anyone who so wishes can also experience the electric driving sound at higher speed ranges by activating it on the steering wheel.

In the C 63 S, the four-cylinder unit develops 350 kW (476 hp) at 6725rpm and this makes it the world’s most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine, coming with a maximum torque of 545Nm available at 5250-5500 rpm. A belt-driven starter generator (RSG) combines an alternator and starter in one component and it is integrated into the 400-volt high-voltage network. The RSG starts the combustion engine and ensures the basic supply of the ancillary components such as air conditioning or driving lights. This also applies when the vehicle is at a traffic light and the charge level of the high-voltage battery is no longer sufficient to support the low-voltage on-board electrical system.

Power is transmitted via the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission (MCT = Multi-Clutch Transmission), in which a wet start-off clutch replaces the torque converter. It reduces weight and optimises response to accelerator pedal input, especially during spurts and load changes. The elaborately calibrated software ensures extremely short shift times as well as fast multiple downshifts if required.

In addition, the intermediate throttle function in the Sport and Sport+ driving modes delivers a particularly emotionally appealing gearshift experience. There is also the RACE START function, which ensures optimal acceleration from a standstill.

Ride comfort is a key aspect in this performance-oriented vehicle that works just as well as to ferry the family around, or for long, touring journeys.

The standard AMG RIDE CONTROL steel-spring suspension with Adaptive Damping System combines pronounced sporty dynamic handling with the comfort over long distances. Elastokinematics designed for driving dynamics in the front and rear axles allow the damping at each wheel to be continuously adjusted taking into consideration the preselected suspension level, driving style and road conditions.

The steering layout also contributes to the increase in dynamics and comfort, and the three-stage AMG parameter steering system, for example, features a variable steering geometry ratio that adapts to the selected drive program. At high speeds, the steering power assistance decreases; at low speeds it is steadily increased. As a result, comparatively little steering effort is required at low speeds, as well as when manoeuvring and parking, while the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained when driving faster.

The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance is earmarked to be a game-changer in the 55-year history of AMG. With state-of-the-art technologies taken from Formula 1, the car brings motorsport to the roads of Singapore.