The formula of stuffing a large V8 engine in a small body will never get old. In fact, it’s been the calling card of Mercedes-AMG since its birth. That V8 rumble that sounds like thunder chewing on nails has been a hallmark of the modern AMG machines and can even be argued to be a core component of its identity.
Although the naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8 in the first C63 has given way to a smaller twin-turbo V8, its unrestrained character never faltered. Even as its peers such as the BMW M3 and Audi RS4 closed the book on the V8, in the back of our minds we just knew AMG wouldn’t give up the ghost. The C63 might’ve lacked the mathematical precision of the M3 for a fast lap but we really couldn’t care because of the engine note and brutish character that made it a handful.
Well that’s all in the past now.
Children, now’s the time to turn away. Autocar reports that the next C63 will bin the V8 for an inline-four with (horrors!) hybrid assistance. That engine is the current M139 2.0-litre turbo inline-four in the new A45 and CLA45 making 416hp and 500Nm of torque sans an electric helping hand. So, it’s no slouch and even revs to a giddy 7,200rpm.
The M139 is engineered for longitudinal mounting and can adopt a mild-hybrid system. In this case, it’ll be under the EQ Boost banner in the form of a 48V integrated starter motor similar to the one attached to the 3.0-litre straight-six engine in the 53 Series AMG models. The combo is expected to be detuned for the next C43 as well, replacing the 3.0-litre turbo V6. You should find the Mercedes nine-speed torque-converter MCT Speedshift transmission mated to the engine.
According to Autocar, upon hearing that the V8 C63 is dead, Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers “walked out of the boardroom when this was decided.” We feel you Tobias.
Don’t put those tissues away though, there’s more tears to be shed. All-wheel drive will be making its debut on the C63 too. However, the system will have a “drift mode” that sends power only to the rear; similar to the current E63.
Take it as consolation but the switch to a smaller engine will not result in a loss of power. Instead, the new C63 should match the current 503hp and actually deliver more torque; up to 750Nm of torque, over the current 700Nm.
Apart from the extra torque, a smaller engine obviously means less weight over the front axle for improved handling. Not only will the compact engine and electric motor package move the centre of gravity downwards, it’ll also shift into a more centralised position rearwards.
Since it’s out of our control, let’s all just appreciate that the new C63 will be a performance sedan with more torque, sharper handling and not chug fuel like a sailor downing a pint of beer. Only that throaty V8 roar will be missing.
Much like the uproar that followed Porsche’s move to make SUVs, purists might be repulsed by a hybrid four-cylinder C63 but the switch just might open up the model and Mercedes-AMG to a whole new untapped demographic of buyers and at the end of the day… making cars is a business.