Mercedes-Benz is dropping the 4.0L twin-turbo V8 in the hottest C-Class, but while we will mourn the end of that big engine shoehorned into a compact sedan, the company has just announced one hell of a replacement. The 2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance is now a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that packs an electric motor and the most powerful four-cylinder engine in the world.
That 2.0L four-cylinder is turbocharged to a level we almost can't believe. All by itself, the gas engine makes 469 hp and 402 lb-ft of torque. That's the same power AMG managed to wring from the 4.0L V8 in the outgoing C 63, but with half the displacement. The big turbo is spun by the exhaust flow per normal, but also with a powerful electric motor to help make sure there is as little turbo lag as possible. This helps it earn it the title of most powerful four-cylinder engine in a production car in the world.
The electric motor adds 201 hp for up to 10 seconds at a time (94 horses continuously) and adds 236 lb-ft of torque. The total system output is an astonishing 671 horsepower and 752 lb-ft of torque. With AMG all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic, it can hit 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds.
You'll get some fuel-efficiency benefits, too. With a 6.1-kWh battery (this is a plug-in hybrid), the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance offers an estimated electric range of 13 km on the European testing cycle. The car can run at highway speeds on the electric motor or you can save your charge for later.
A steel-sprung suspension is standard, but the car includes adaptive damping with AMG tuning. Rear-axle steering is standard to help aid stability on the highway and cut the turning circle in town. Six-piston front brakes are standard (single-pot in the rear), and Mercedes-AMG says it can handle the car's weight under heavy use.
The new C 63 will have the Mercedes MBUX infotainment system with AMG-specific displays as well as hybrid displays. The cabin will have special AMG-specific trimming and will offer a new version of the company's AMG Performance seat with both weight savings and improved ventilation.
Cosmetically, the C 63 won't be far off of the standard C-Class. It gets wider, with the tires pushed out inside chunkier fenders. There's a new air outlet in the hood along with a pair of power bulges. Lastly, AMG has replaced the Mercedes star on the hood (actually the nose panel, but AMG calls it the hood) with a black AMG badge.
There's no word yet from Mercedes on pricing or arrival timing, but we're expecting the 2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 to hit dealers early next year as a 2024 model with pricing somewhere north of the of the old V8 car's $90k.