The Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance at a glance
- Plug-in hybrid replaces the previous V8 petrol engine
- Up to 680 hp and 1,020 Newton meters of system performance
- 0-100 km/h in 3.4 s, Vmax optional 280 km/h
- Electric range up to 13 km
- New price from 114,888 euros
Farewell to the good old days
In the eyes of many, the true Mercedes-AMG C 63 only existed once – in the W204 model series. Everything that came after was initially dismissed as ridiculous by the fan community and the self-proclaimed experts. No innovation was satisfactory to them. Turbocharging, improved efficiency, start-stop system, nine-speed automatic transmission, digital displays… No matter what it was, the disciples screamed. But nothing enrages V8 fans (whether they can afford a C 63 or not) more than the loss of that magical number of cylinders.
At AMG in Affalterbach, the outcry for the new C 63 SE Performance (weighted fuel consumption, combined: 6.9 l/100 km; weighted CO2 emissions, combined: 156 g/km; weighted power consumption, combined: 11.7 kWh/ 100 km)² calculated accordingly, in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim the horror was probably translated into sober numbers years in advance. Will there be a significant loss of buyers? How much money can you save if you can install an “economical” four-cylinder hybrid system with a sporty look in several models, from compact sports cars to luxury SUVs? Whether it belongs in the dwindling V8 population – for free. If in doubt, just anticipate from the semi-successful Formula 1 team, which can and must also boost electrically.
1,500 kilometers with ups and downs
For my part, I have decided to approach this car objectively – certainly not that easy as an occasional driver of the Holy Grail described above. What followed was a week and around 1,500 kilometers in the new C 63 SE Performance full of ups and downs. Full of displeasure and enthusiasm. So roughly the same as was and is the case with the V8 handcart of the 204 series.
The hard facts follow to get you in the mood further: the four-cylinder engine, known internally as the M139, has 476 hp and 545 Newton meters. Thanks to the 48-volt electrical system, it is powered by an additional electric compressor. In addition, up to 204 hp and 320 Newton meters of torque are available from the electric motor on the rear axle. This makes a total of 680 hp system output and up to 1,020 Newton meters (!) system torque, which are distributed to all four wheels as required according to the situation.
The standard sprint to 100 km/h should take 3.4 seconds, and the end (optional) only ends at 280 km/h. Does everything sound so sporty so far? At this point we first take a seat in the Benz: finely contoured sports seats delight the soul, the workmanship is mostly good. The compartment in the center console, which has a shirt-sleeved and black-painted flap, is unlikely to impress any Daimler driver.
Excellent MBUX, great light and fingerprints everywhere
Like the normal C-Class, the new C 63 also benefits primarily from the advantages of the infotainment system called MBUX. We’re quiet about it because, given its high level of perfection, there’s certainly no need to say anything more about it. The resolution of the screens is also amazing. However, we don’t want to simply accept that Mercedes couldn’t think of anything better than this unspeakable steering wheel lined with unreliable touch fields. Fat finger optics included. The two rotary-push controls for vehicle dynamics control, on the other hand, are pretty cool. Not only because they look great, but they can also be easily adjusted to individual preferences. Anyone who likes all sorts of light displays will get their money’s worth in the new AMG C-Class.
Before the actual driving chapter, let’s jump briefly into the luggage compartment. Who at Daimler actually decided that a battery level in the trunk was acceptable at any time? In the sedan, but especially in the T-model. We didn’t have the latter to test, but the hybrid technology reduces the already manageable trunk of the sedan to 280 liters.
How does the new C 63 S E-Performance drive now?
The electric drive in the current C 63 ensures less frustration than serenity. When fully charged, the battery, which is only 6.1 kWh in size, ensures that our test car, painted matt black, covers urban routes almost exclusively electrically and therefore silently. This is a relief for residents, especially in Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich – because there are certainly more than enough loud cars from Affalterbach in some regions. But the accessories trade will certainly bring one or two sound amplifiers onto the market for the new C 63. The quiet tryst can of course also be ended by pointing the finger at the driving mode switch.
However, switching on the four-cylinder engine is not very gallant and so it is actually this combustion engine that is rightly used by all diehards to predict doom. Not because it’s a four-cylinder. But above all because this engine simply works inharmoniously when driving normally and cautiously. The sound is so artificially booming that at some point you’ll think you’re in a sprinter with a diesel engine – to stay with the same company. The nine-speed automatic shifts with little smoothness, rips through the gears abruptly and rushes with artificial double-declutching bursts that are neither useful nor sound good. A restless, vibrating idle may perhaps be a sign of a sports engine, but it is a nuisance in everyday life and will cause one thing above all for buyers or lessees of a 115,000 euro car: annoyance.
Acceleration: There won’t be a dry eye here
In a positive sense, no eye stays dry when you press the right pedal deeply down and see a clear stretch of highway in front of you. Suddenly both engines mobilize all the assembled horses, the 9G-Tronic snaps the gears to the right gear ratio at lightning speed and the 20-inchers claw into the asphalt as if there was no tomorrow. In terms of longitudinal dynamics, the C 63 SE Performance crushes almost everything that normally drives around on German roads, up to a top speed of 280 km/h.
In terms of lateral dynamics, the developers got what they could out of the 2.1 tons of live weight (for a C-Class!). The front end is convincingly stiff, which facilitates quick steering maneuvers. The steering reacts precisely, but its directness could still be improved. The chassis, on the other hand, keeps the AMG promise, clearly wins the battle with weight, and bounces gently when driving quickly without drifting into softness. The developers have created an excellent combination of sport and comfort.
However, there is disillusionment when it comes to real consumption on longer journeys. Almost 11 liters per 100 kilometers have little to do with efficiency and, with its complex technology, push the four-cylinder hybrid into the category of modern six and eight-cylinder engines. This may be of less interest to the potential buyer, but it does not support the argument for the small combustion engine. Meanwhile, there are increasing signs that the corporate leaders could, excuse the pun, give in. It is rumored that there could be an electrically assisted combustion engine with more displacement and cylinders in the C 63 at a later date.
What remains in the end is an internal conflict. As a sports device (and less so in everyday life), the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance 4matic is certainly a big hit. The predecessors with V8 cannot keep up in any way. However, the new one simply lacks emotions and charismatic influences, which were previously largely transmitted through the large-volume engine. For the very near future, we would like to see a return to more cylinders, more displacement and more emotions. (Text and photos: Maximilian Planker | Additional photos: manufacturer)
Technical data Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance*
|Model||Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance|
|Gasoline engine||2.0 liter four-cylinder|
|Combustion engine performance||350 kW (476 hp) at 6,750 rpm|
|Torque||545 Nm at 5,250 – 5,500 rpm|
|Electric motor performance||150 kW (204 HP) / 320 Nm|
|System performance||500 kW (680 hp)|
|drive||All-wheel drive/9-speed automatic|
|Combined consumption||6.9 l/100 km²|
|Consumption (electricity)||11.7 kWh/100 km²|
|CO2 emissions combined||156 g/km²|
|Acceleration (0-100 km/h)||3.4s|
|Top speed||280 km/h|
|Weight||approx. 2,100 kg|
|Basic price Mercedes-AMG C 63 SE Performance||from 114,888.55 euros|