2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance W206

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance W206

Latest generation C-Class from Affalterbach teams high technology with old school tyre-shredding brawn.


So complex is the new Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance, it takes serious brain power to digest all its splendiferous features. Revealed in full form after literally years of teasing us, the sixth-generation C-Class controversially drops V8 power in favour of a four-cylinder plug-in hybrid powertrain.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance W206

Starting under the bonnet, the 206-series C63 packs a 1,991cc M139l engine (‘l’ stands for longitudinal installation) derived from that seen in the bonkers A45 S hatchback. However, in the C63 this four-cylinder is equipped with an electrically assisted turbocharger, which significantly reduces turbo lag.

The pokey two-litre makes 469bhp at 6,750rpm meaning it’s the world’s most powerful four-cylinder, producing an astonishing 236bhp per litre. Coupled with 402lb ft at 5,250 to 5,500rpm, it’s clear AMG means serious business with its brand new C-Class.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance W206

This would all be impressive without the hybrid element of the powertrain, much of which is shared with that seen in AMG’s new One hypercar. At the rear axle lurks a 201bhp (150kW) electric motor neatly packed with its own automatically-shifting two-speed gearbox, as well as an electronically controlled limitedslip differential; the whole bundle is known as an electric drive unit (EDU). Also at the rear is a seriously sophisticated 400V lithium-ion battery designed for fast power output and recharging, and unlocking an eight-mile driving range on electric power alone.

With the outputs of that naughty four-cylinder and AMG-ified battery/electric motor combined, the C63 S E Performance musters 671bhp and 752lb ft torque. This means a 0-62mph sprint of 3.4 seconds for both the Saloon and Estate, and 155mph top speeds (174/168mph with the optional AMG Driver’s Package). For reference, the old C63 S made 503bhp and 516lb ft torque, and hit 62mph from a standing start in around four seconds.

Technology showcase

Getting all that performance to the road is a nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT 9G gearbox and AMG 4Matic+ four-wheel drive system with fully variable torque distribution and Drift Mode.

These are teamed with some pretty hefty chassis modifications to ensure the C63 handles as well as it goes in a straight line. Rear-wheel steering that provides angles of up to 2.5 degrees is just for starters – front axle track width has increased 76mm, while the wheelbase has grown 10mm.

2023 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance W206 - engine

AMG Ride Control suspension with adaptive damping, three-stage steering with variable geometry and an AMG composite braking system (ceramic composite is optional) further ramp up the C63’s credentials as a road-going missile.

Of course, the C63 has beefed-up looks to match its under-skin thrust. Styling highlights from the Affalterbach catalogue include the first use of an AMG badge on the nose instead of the usual Mercedes-Benz emblem, a functional air outlet sitting between the bonnet’s power domes, an AMG radiator grille, various aero flics to shape air as it leaves the rippling bodywork, plus two electronically controlled air panels behind the grille and front apron to aid cooling.

AMG 19-inch alloys are standard, with 20-inch wheels on the extras list, there are additional ‘E Performance’ badges on the flanks, and – how could we forget – twin-tailpipes either side of a large diffuser. Interior highlights include a new generation of AMG Performance seat (optional) that weighs less and features improved cooling. There’s also an AMG-specific MBUX infotainment system with racy graphics, plus an AMG Performance steering wheel and special pedal set; the accelerator provides haptic feedback, allowing the driver to feel the point at which the 201bhp electric motor is called up for the kickdown function.

There are eight AMG Dynamic Select modes (Electric, Comfort, Battery Hold, Sport, Sport+, Race, Slippery, and Individual), which alter everything from ride stiffness and powertrain response and sound, to steering weight and energy recuperation strength for recharging the battery.

The downside to all this technology is a kerb weight of 2,111kg for the C63 Saloon and 2,145kg for the Estate.

Somehow, though, this makes the 40.9mpg fuel consumption and 156g/km CO2 emissions seem even more extraordinary. Prices for the new C63 were not confirmed at the time of writing (note the C43 starts at £67,000), but expect to see cars in showrooms in early 2023.

Four-wheel drive and rear-wheel steering are new to the C63 formula.We've got eyes for the C63 Estate; AMG could've added a V8 but didn't… The 4-cyl alone makes 469bhp; the electric set up adds over 200bhp.

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