The 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance is a Seismic Shift from the Old School, But It Still Packs 671 HP

Mercedes also claims a gigantic 752 lb-ft of torque from this hybrid AMG model

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E-Performance
(Images: Mercedes-Benz, European model shown)
  • Mercedes-AMG announced its most potent C 63 model yet, packing 671 horsepower and 752 lb-ft of torque.
  • Unlike past AMG C-Class cars, though, this one uses…a turbocharged four-cylinder powertrain.
    • Gone is the V-8, and in its place is a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four backed by an electric motor mounted on the rear axle.
  • Thanks to a mechanical all-wheel drive system and the potent M139 engine — currently the most powerful four-cylinder in a road-going application — the C 63 S E Performance manages 0-60 in 3.3 seconds.
  • Pricing and a few other numbers are not available for the U.S. market yet.
    • More info will emerge closer to this car’s launch later next year.

Wait, wait, wait…you said AMG C 63 S…with a four-cylinder engine?

If you’ve been following AMG for the past year or so, this won’t come as such a shock. If you haven’t though, and this is your first impression of the latest from Mercedes’ performance stable, let me bring you up to speed.

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E-Performance

What you’re looking at here is the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance. Double-barreled name, I know, but that’s this latest AMG model’s full title. Unpacking that name, you can surmise what this car’s all about. It’s the top of the C-Class’ performance ladder, the “S” denotes its more hardcore, track-focused status, but “E-Performance” may be a new one to you. This car is a plug-in hybrid (more on that in a moment) packing Mercedes’ M139 turbocharged four-cylinder and an electric motor over the rear axle.

Before even getting into the powerplant, it’s clear on first sight that AMG went to great effort to beef up your standard C-Class. While the resemblance is obvious, this C 63 S is actually 2 inches longer in its front end, and 3.3 inches longer overall than the standard models. The wheelbase is 0.4 inches longer, while the front fenders and track have widened by 3 inches. Up front, you get the expected vertical slatted grille, as well as a massive amount of cooling inlets.

19-inch wheels come standard as does a large rear diffuser and deck lid spoiler, but one of my favorite touches on the styling front is a bit more subtle. Rather than the standard Mercedes-Benz badge with laurel wreaths on the hood, you get a special black AMG badge with “Affalterbach” on the hood, a nod to AMG’s headquarters.

What sort of power and speed can I expect from the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance?

At its heart, you still get an internal combustion engine — we’re not quite talking about total electrification here. The 2.0-liter M139 turbocharged four-cylinder, on its own, manages 469 horsepower and 402 lb-ft of torque. Even without a boost from the onboard electric motor, that’s nearly as much grunt as the outgoing 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8, with half the capacity. The four-pot gets an exhaust gas turbocharger to even out responsiveness and reduce turbo lag, and Mercedes claims this is currently the most powerful engine of its kind in production for road-going cars.

Fortunately, the rear motor improves those figures even further. The electric motor over the rear axle produces 201 horsepower at peak output and 236 lb-ft of torque. Put them together, and the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance claims 671 horsepower and 752 lb-ft of torque at full power. I’m aware the math doesn’t quite add up on that, but this car does have an unusual setup in terms of how it makes all that power.

Part of the difference comes down to the transmissions (yes, plural — there are two). The gas engine comes mated to Mercedes’ “Speed Shift” 9-speed multi-clutch transmission. It’s not the torque converter automatic you’ll see in some of the company’s standard cars. Instead, this uses a smaller and lighter “wet start-off” clutch to functionally act as a sort of torque converter. But its lower mass allows it to respond faster and provide better launches.

Then, the engine’s power makes its way down a driveshaft to a rear electric drive unit. The EDU contains the electric motor, as well as another two-speed transmission and a limited-slip differential. Mercedes says the two-speed approach for the unit offers better wheel torque at slow speeds, as the electric motor shoulders more of the burden getting the car off the line, where the gas engine is far less efficient. Then, it shifts into second gear at higher speeds to allow operation up to 87 mph when used in tandem with the gas engine. Since we’re talking about a mechanical linkage between the engine and EDU, the electric power can also be shunted forward to the front axle to aid traction, when needed.

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E-Performance

Can you drive the C 63 S on electricity alone?

So you have a traditional fuel door to feed the 2.0-liter gas engine, but you also have a charging port for the onboard battery. Indeed, this is a plug-in hybrid, so the high-performance battery does allow you to drive the car on electricity alone. Mind you, Mercedes-AMG geared the 6.1-kWh unit and 400-volt electrical architecture toward fast power delivery, not range.

At this time, Mercedes did not quote exactly how far you can drive on electricity alone. It may be enough for a short commute, but the car offers a couple options centered around electric drive. If you do want to plug in, you can only do so plugging the car’s 14V onboard charger into an A/C outlet, wallbox or charging station. No DC fast charging is available, as you’d probably expect with such a small battery.

Working together, Mercedes says the C 63 S E-Performance can sprint from 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, though you’ll be able to raise that limit to 174 mph with an optional package, as you can do on some other AMG models.

Other performance upgrades for the C 63 S:

Mercedes-AMG’s latest model has eight (count ’em) drive modes for varying conditions, including a full electric option:

  • Electric: Allows full EV driving up to 81 mph without firing up the engine at all (at least until the battery’s low on charge)
  • Battery Hold: Uses the gas engine and energy recuperation to keep the state-of-charge at a set percentage (limits the boost from the electric motor)
  • Comfort: The standard drive mode – electric drive at low speeds, with electric motor boost power around 25% (so you don’t get the full 671 hp all the time here)
  • Sport: Fires up the engine, enables electric motor boost up to 65% of maximum output, and sharpens up throttle response/shift mapping/suspension/steering
  • Sport+: Sport and then some; Enables up to 80% electric motor assist and increases the engine’s idle speed for faster off-the-line acceleration
  • RACE: Under less than full-throttle conditions, sticks to 80% boost assistance from the electric motor and throws more power into the battery at times of low power demand, but…
    • Push a button on the left side of the steering wheel to activate “Boost Mode”
      • Conserves energy reserves by limiting electric motor assist to 30% until you hit the kick-down
      • When you kick-down, then you get 100% electric motor boost performance and that full 671 hp/752 lb-ft torque output with wide-open throttle

The 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance also offers four energy recuperation levels. Levels 0 through 3 vary between coasting at the low end, and one-pedal driving at the higher end. Race mode, for its part, sets the energy regen to Level 1 for more predictable braking during track use. Level 1 more or less mimics a conventional car’s ability to coast in gear, so that mode will feel the most natural to someone coming from a conventional gas-powered car.

2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E-Performance

Brakes, suspension and “sound”

While you could consider the powertrain a bit exotic, the brakes are more conventional fare. For the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance, you get a composite setup with iron rotors and an aluminum hat. At this point, at least, Mercedes made no mention of a carbon ceramic option. Still, you should get serious stopping power thanks to six-piston fixed calipers at the front. In the rear, you get single-piston floating calipers.

The new C 63 S brings rear-wheel steering into the mix as standard fare. It’s not quite as extreme as we’ve seen on some Mercedes, but it can steer the rear wheels up to 2.5 degrees below 62 mph. At slow speeds, they’ll turn opposite the front wheels to improve maneuverability. At speeds above 62 mph, the rear wheels will turn parallel to the front wheels up to 0.7 degrees for more agile cornering.

This 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance uses conventional steel sprung suspension, but you do get AMG’s Ride Control adaptive damping. It will continuously monitor and adjust the damping at each wheel depending on driving conditions. Naturally, you can vary the stiffness through the drive modes, while it will also firm or soften things up depending on the road surface, steering input, suspension load through corners and so on.

Finally, we get to what may be one of the more contentious features: the sound. Of course, the car needs to emit some noise when it’s in pure electric mode. To that end, the car has a loudspeaker at the front, and a soundbar with two additional speakers at the rear. Both work as part of the “Acoustic Vehicle Alerting System” to emit a low-frequency sound and alert nearby pedestrians in EV mode. The system also works to augment the gas engine’s noise, whether you’d like it to or not. The system captures the engine note using a pressure sensor in the exhaust system. From there, it pipes the sound through the car’s entertainment system, as well as through the loudspeakers to enhance the M139’s noise profile.

Looking inside the C 63 S

While 19-inchers come standard, you can get 20-inch wheels with staggered tires as an option. You can even get forged wheels, if you’re willing to fork over the extra cash.

Inside, the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance is your typical AMG fare. You get a flat-bottom steering wheel wrapped in leather and Alcantara, as well as contrast stitching on the seats, dashboard and center console. The MBUX infotainment system incorporates specific AMG and hybrid displays, while you also get bespoke information through the car’s digital instrument cluster and the optional head-up display.

Pricing for the new C 63 S is not available yet, nor are a few other figures like curb weight or all-electric range. We should have that information in the next year or so, as Mercedes aims to launch this new AMG C-Class by late 2023.