The next-generation 2022 Mercedes-AMG C63 is now all but confirmed to be a four-cylinder plug-in hybrid.
Mercedes-AMG has taken the wraps off a new high-performance plug-in hybrid system based around a four-cylinder engine which will be employed by AMG-badged versions of the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class – with rumours suggesting it'll be the flagship C63 performance mid-sizer that will benefit.
While AMG’s smallest 63 model is set to lose its V8 engine, bent-eight layouts won’t be omitted from the German performance marque’s line-up entirely, with the current 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 to serve as the centrepiece of a new 600kW-plus PHEV system that's set to power larger models including the GT 4-Door Coupe.
Under the bonnet of the plug-in AMG C-Class will be a version of Mercedes-AMG's 2.0-litre 'M139' turbocharged four-cylinder, mounted longitudinally and fitted with an electrically-driven turbocharger to develop "more than" 330kW on its own – up at least 20kW over the AMG A45 S hot hatch's 310kW/500Nm variant of the same engine.
The high-output four-pot will be paired with a 150kW/320Nm electric motor on the rear axle and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, the latter capable of driving auxiliary features such as driving lights and air conditioning at low speeds, or adding a performance boost of up to 10kW.
The system's total output? Mercedes-AMG quotes a combined power output for the four-cylinder symphony of "over" 480kW – a 105kW-plus jump over the outgoing AMG C63 S's 375kW/700Nm twin-turbocharged V8.
That figure is even enough to scare the German brand's larger models, outgunning the 450kW/850Nm E63 S and 470kW/900Nm GT63 S 4-Door, but falling short of the aforementioned plug-in GT 4-Door.
Providing power for the electrical system is a 6.1kWh 'High Performance Battery', claimed to employ Formula One technology to improve performance under load when the battery is under constant charge and discharge loads, and when within a set temperature window of 45 degrees Celsius, to ensure it can use its entire capacity.
A total of 560 battery cells make up the 89kg pack – each with their own liquid-cooling system – running at 400 volts overall.
The battery is mounted above the rear axle, with the latter also housing the 150kW electric motor, an electronically-controlled two-speed transmission, and an electronic locking rear differential.
Gear changes are conducted by a nine-speed 'AMG Speedshift MCT' multi-clutch automatic transmission.
Six drive models are on offer: Electric, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual.
Electric mode allows cars with the four-cylinder PHEV system to drive on electrons alone at speeds up to 130km/h. Rear-wheel drive is selected by default, though electric drive can be diverted to the front wheels if the rear treads break traction.
Comfort mode uses the electric motor by default, before switching on the combustion engine as it's needed. Sport and Sport+ profiles combine the two at all times, with steering weight, damper stiffness, exhaust sound and transmission programming all tweaked to err towards sportiness and spirited driving.
Race mode optimises all vehicle parameters for maximum attack, extracting full power from the electric motor under hard acceleration to improve performance.
Four stability control modes are available – Basic (used in Comfort and Electric), Advanced (used in Sport), Pro (used in Sport+) and Master (used in Race) – though the electric motor's ability to regulate wheel traction and minimise slip on its own reduces the need for ESP to be activated and cut engine power, again increasing performance.
An additional four regenerative braking modes are on offer, with the maximum Level 3 setting unlocking 90kW of energy recuperation and one-pedal driving for C63 buyers in city environments.
As for the aforementioned electrically-driven turbocharger, the unit employs an electric motor to spool up the turbo before exhaust gas is able to flow through, improving response at low rpms, and allowing the turbo to continue spinning during gear changes, or when the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator and applies the brakes on the race track.
The new C63's 'P3' plug-in hybrid system will also spread into Mercedes-AMG's V8-powered models, where it will develop over 600kW and 1000Nm, and reach 100km/h from a standstill in under 3.0 seconds.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more details of the new Mercedes-AMG C63 as its debut approaches later in 2021, or early in 2022.