While rival German carmakers have ditched sonorous V8 engines for blown six-cylinder options, at least in the small performance segment, Mercedes-AMG has stayed the course with the rear-drive C63 – at least for now.
With stringent emissions requirements needing to be met by all manufacturers, as well as the fast-track to electrification, the days of AMG twin-turbo V8s seem numbered. That's according to Tobias Moers, head of Mercedes-AMG.
“I think the formula is perfect for now, but for sure we need to have a close look at viable alternatives, because we have to be creative and I’m chasing performance and that’s not strictly linked to the number of cylinders," he said, speaking with CarAdvice at the New York motor show.
“If you apply proper intelligent hybridisation or electrification to a car which is capable of having an always-on strategy regarding the battery and the whole system, then it’s amazing what you can get out of them.
“Which means for sure the next-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 will be a hybrid – that’s now a given,” he said.
Rear-wheel drive has also been a hallmark of the C63 – Moers calls it "the wild child" – but he hinted that could change change in the next generation.
The facelifted C63 S unveiled in New York uses 25,000 new parts, but the 375kW/700Nm V8 engine's output remains unchanged. Moers saw no reason to increase those numbers with the latest version.
“I think it’s a perfect combination of power output and gears, now with the nine-speed box, which offers the perfect range of gears. It’s better sorted out on a race track – you’re always in the right gear, coming out of corners, for example," he told us.
“The C63 was always well balanced, but now it’s better because we increased the driving dynamics, added a little bit more comfort and it’s faster on a racetrack with better traction on the rear axle. You can get back on the throttle mid-corner and nothing happens, which is great.
“We applied some features from the GT R, too, like our integrated vehicle controller, which is part of the ESP. We’ve also changed all the suspension settings with a new anti-roll bar and new dampers, spring rates along with geometry changes for really, more comfort and faster lap times."
We asked Moers about the effect hybridisation and electrification will have on AMG’s trademark exhaust note, given this is a fundamental requirement for most buyers.
“Obviously, if it runs electrical then there’s no AMG thunder. We are facing severe regulations, especially in Europe, but sound is very important for our customers, no doubt about that. However, I’m confident that we will find the right solution for that issue”.
He also told us to expect something very different in the next SL roadster, which may well become an exclusive AMG model – but not in the same form as the existing car.
“There’s a lot of potential with the next-generation SL to be honest. It’s going to be something very different from the current car.”