The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E PERFORMANCE is a real game changer in the 55-year history of AMG. With know-how from Formula 1™, it brings state-of-the-art technologies from motorsport to the road. A two-speed electric motor positioned on the rear axle supports the 2.0-litre turbo engine that is mounted longitudinally at the front. This is the most powerful production four-cylinder in the world.
Power delivery and torque build-up occur very spontaneously and without delay: as in Formula 1™, the electric support of the exhaust gas turbocharger eliminates the turbo lag of the combustion engine, while at the same time the electric drive pushes powerfully from a standstill. The electric powertrain and the high-performance battery with 400 volts are AMG-exclusive, in-house developments. They underline the high-end engineering competence of the Affalterbach-based developers.
Just like in Formula 1™, the battery is specifically designed for fast power output and draw with innovative direct cooling of the cells. The combined system output is 500 kW (680 hp), the combined maximum system torque 1020 Nm. These are new peak values for the C-Class.
Other highlights of the new model series, which is being launched simultaneously as a Saloon and as an Estate: for the first time in a C 63, the fully variable all-wheel drive system AMG Performance 4MATIC+ is used to transfer the drive power to the road, and includes a Drift Mode for even more driving pleasure. Added to this is active rear axle steering as standard, another unique feature in this segment.
“With the C 63 S E PERFORMANCE, we are opening a new chapter in the history of our brand. Even 55 years after our company was founded, we at AMG continue to show the boldness and the will to realise the creative, to deliver something special. The new C 63 in particular is a real game changer. With its revolutionary concept, it brings a completely new approach to the segment, which until now has been primarily characterised by the promise purely of performance. With a maximum system output of 680 hp, we do indeed keep this promise. But the intelligent P3 hybrid concept offers much more. I am sure that with this technology, which incorporates a lot of know-how from Formula 1, we will also appeal to a new group of customers”, says Philipp Schiemer, Chairman of the Board of Management of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
“With its Performance hybrid drive and electrically assisted exhaust turbocharger, the new C 63 S E PERFORMANCE is a technological masterpiece that takes a new approach. The electrified powertrain offers a whole new driving experience. The immediate response of the electric drive at the rear axle, the rapid torque build-up as well as the fast power output and also draw of our battery are very special features. Add to this the standard-fit rear axle steering and the fully variable all-wheel drive with Drift Mode – the new C 63 once again illustrates the high level of technical expertise that AMG possesses”, says Jochen Hermann, Chief Technical Officer of Mercedes-AMG GmbH.
As in Formula 1, the battery is specifically designed for fast power delivery and take-up. The electric range of 13 kilometres allows a practical operating radius, for example in the city or in residential areas.
Expressive design with striking front apron
Form follows function: the design of the new C 63 S differs from that of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in its more muscular proportions. The Saloon and Estate models are both based on an extensively modified AMG bodyshell. The front end is 50 millimetres longer and the front wings are wider. All in all, the overall exterior dimensions differ considerably from those of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. In terms of length, the Saloon and Estate measure an extra 83 millimetres. The wider track width at the front axle results in 76 millimetres more overall width at the front. And the wheelbase has grown by ten millimetres. All in all, this results in a layout that gives the new C 63 S a powerful, stretched and muscular look.
A new distinguishing feature, and one that is exclusive to the C 63 S, is the slim air outlet in the centre of the bonnet that transitions elegantly into the two powerdomes. A small but particularly fine detail: for the first time on a Mercedes-AMG production model, a round badge with a black AMG emblem replaces the Mercedes star with laurel wreath on the bonnet. Further typical elements include the AMG-specific radiator grille with vertical struts and the AMG front apron in jet-wing design. Flics, large inlets and air curtains direct the airflow specifically to its various functions. Two electronically controlled AIR PANELS (behind the radiator grille and in the front apron) allow the air to be regulated as required.
Matching side skirts, the rear apron with large diffuser as well as the two trapezoidal, externally ribbed dual tailpipe trims round off the design. Exclusive details at the rear include the special airflow breakaway edge on the boot lid (roof spoiler on the Estate), the plug-in charging flap and the model designation set against a red background. The “E PERFORMANCE” badge on the wings indicates the hybrid drive. The C 63 S rolls on 19‑inch AMG light-alloy wheels and mixed tyres as standard. Optional wheel/tyre combinations are available in 20-inch size, likewise with mixed tyres, among them a new forged wheel.
Stylish interior, new generation of the AMG Performance seat
In the interior, AMG sports seats with special upholstery layout and a distinctive stitching pattern add to the refined impression. There are also many individual choices available for the interior. Exclusive colours and various nappa leather upholsteries with an embossed AMG emblem in the front head restraints serve to emphasise either the sporty or the luxurious side of the C 63 S.
The completely redesigned second-generation AMG Performance seat is available as an option. Its special feature is the seat side bolsters with weight-saving openings that also allow better ventilation. If nappa leather upholstery is selected, these also feature a contrasting colour as an extra highlight. The shape of the backrest tapers towards the bottom. The AMG logo is now positioned between the matt chrome openings below the integrated head restraint.
MBUX multimedia system with hybrid-specific displays
The MBUX infotainment system includes various AMG- and hybrid-specific displays and functions. These include special displays in the instrument cluster, on the portrait-orientation multimedia central display in the centre console and on the optional head-up display.
The appearance of the instrument cluster can be personalised with different display styles and individually selectable main views. The AMG-specific Supersport style offers the option of displaying various contents via a vertical menu structure. These include a menu with hybrid-specific temperatures or a setup menu that displays the current settings for the suspension or transmission. In addition, the driver can also have a navigation map or consumption data displayed in the Supersport style.
The head-up display, too, offers AMG-specific display styles such as Race and Supersport. These can be accessed via the main menu in the instrument cluster. High-quality graphics in the multimedia display also visualise in an AMG-specific manner such details as the power flow of the entire drive system, engine speed, power, torque and temperature of the electric motor, as well as the battery temperature.
Added to this is the shortcut button for the AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive programs. AMG TRACK PACE, the data logger for use on the race track, is also integrated. The software records more than 80 vehicle-specific data such as speed, acceleration, steering angle and brake pedal actuation ten times per second while driving around a race track. In addition the lap and sector times are displayed.
AMG Performance steering wheel in twin-spoke design
The standard AMG Performance steering wheel with its distinctive twin-spoke design and seamlessly integrated control buttons also offers tangible and visible added value. The round AMG steering wheel buttons impress with brilliant displays and their perfect turn-and-press operating logic. This allows important driving functions and all driving modes to be controlled without the driver having to take their hands off the steering wheel. As a new feature, it is possible to select the regeneration levels of the hybrid drive via the steering wheel buttons.
The AMG-specific E PERFORMANCE hybrid drive: combustion engine in the front, electric motor in the rear
In the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E PERFORMANCE, the 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine is combined with a permanently excited synchronous electric motor, a high-performance battery developed in Affalterbach and fully variable AMG Performance 4MATIC+ all-wheel drive. The system output of 500 kW (680 hp) and the maximum system torque of 1020 Nm make for impressive driving performance: the Saloon and Estate accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. Acceleration only ends at an electronically governed 280 km/h (Estate 270 km/h, in both cases with optional AMG Driver’s Package).
The 150 kW (204 hp) electric motor is positioned at the rear axle, where it is integrated with an electrically shifted two-speed gearbox and the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential in a compact electric drive unit (EDU). Experts refer to this layout as a P3 hybrid. The lightweight high-performance battery is also located in the rear above the rear axle. This compact design has numerous advantages:
- The electric motor acts directly on the rear axle and can therefore convert its power more directly into propulsion – for that extra boost when moving off, accelerating or overtaking.
- The inherent design of the electric motor means that its power can kick in straight away at full torque, making particularly agile starting possible.
- In addition, the driver immediately experiences a noticeable performance increase thanks to the integrated, electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential: the hybrid model accelerates out of bends with great agility.
- If slip occurs at the rear axle, the drive power of the electric motor is also transferred to the front wheels as needed for more traction. The mechanical connection of the fully variable all-wheel drive makes this possible by means of a propeller shaft and the drive shafts of the front wheels.
- The positioning on the rear axle improves the weight distribution as well as the axle load distribution in the vehicle and thus forms the basis for the convincing handling.
- The AMG concept offers very high recuperation efficiency, as the system allows only minimal mechanical and hydraulic losses from the engine and transmission.
- The automated two-speed transmission at the rear axle with its specially calibrated gear ratio ensures the spread from high wheel torque for agile starting to safe continuous output at higher speeds. An electric actuator engages second gear at around 140 km/h at the latest, which corresponds to the electric motor’s maximum speed of around 13,500 rpm.
- With the increase in performance due to the additional electric motor, the development team was also able to improve the efficiency of the entire vehicle in parallel – and achieve lower emissions as well as lower consumption.
Inspired by Formula 1, developed in Affalterbach: the AMG high-performance battery
When the electrification strategy was being defined, it was clear from the outset that all essential components would be developed in Affalterbach. Among these is the AMG high-performance battery (HPB). The development of the lithium-ion energy storage system is inspired by technologies that have already been proven in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team’s Formula 1 hybrid racing cars. In the course of development, there was a lively exchange of expert knowledge between the High Performance Powertrains (HPP) Formula 1 engine shop in Brixworth and Mercedes-AMG in Affalterbach. The AMG high-performance battery combines high power that can be called up frequently in succession with low weight to increase the overall performance of the vehicle. Added to this are the fast energy draw and the high power density. This means that during a brisk drive in hilly terrain, for example, drivers can immediately call on the full power potential on uphill stretches, while recuperation is strong when driving downhill.
70 kW continuous output and 150 kW peak output
The high-performance battery in the C 63 S E PERFORMANCE offers a capacity of 6.1 kWh, continuous output of 70 kW and a peak output of 150 kW for ten seconds. The low weight of only 89 kilograms allows the very high power density of 1.7 kW/kg. For comparison: conventional batteries without direct cooling of the cells achieve about half this figure. Charging is via the 3.7 kW on-board AC charger, at a charging station, wallbox or household socket. The battery is designed for fast power delivery and draw, not for the longest possible range. Nevertheless, the electric range of 13 kilometres allows a practical operating radius, for example for quiet and emission-free driving from a residential area to the outskirts of the city or to the motorway.
The continual push for innovation: direct cooling of the battery cells
The basis for the high performance of the AMG 400-volt battery is its innovative direct cooling system: for the first time, a high-tech coolant based on an electrically non-conductive liquid flows around all 560 cells and cools them individually. Every battery needs a defined temperature for optimum power delivery. If the battery becomes too cold or too hot, it noticeably loses power at times, or has to be regulated to avoid damage if the heat becomes excessive. The consistent temperature of the battery therefore has a decisive influence on its performance, service life and safety. Conventional cooling systems, which only cool with air or the entire battery pack indirectly with water, quickly reach their limits – especially as the requirements continue to increase due to cells with ever increasing energy density. If the thermal management does not fulfil its function optimally, the battery is at risk of ageing prematurely.
For the direct cooling, the AMG specialists had to develop new cooling modules that are only millimetres thin. Around 14 litres of coolant circulate from top to bottom through the entire battery past each cell with the help of a specially developed high-performance electric pump, also flowing through an oil/water heat exchanger attached directly to the battery. This conducts the heat into one of the vehicle’s two low-temperature (LT) circuits, and from there to the LT radiator at the front of the car where it is released into the outside air. The system is designed to ensure even heat distribution in the battery.
The result is that the battery is always within a consistent, optimum operating temperature window averaging 45 degrees Celsius, no matter how often it is charged or discharged. It may well be that the average temperature is exceeded when driving at high speeds. The protection mechanisms are therefore configured so that the maximum performance can be obtained from the battery, with the temperature level subsequently lowered by direct cooling. Conventional cooling systems cannot cope with this, and the battery can no longer fully utilise its potential. That is not the case with the AMG high-performance battery: even during fast laps in hybrid mode on the race track, where acceleration (battery is discharged) and deceleration (battery is charged) are frequent, the energy storage system retains its high performance capacity.
Only effective direct cooling makes it possible to use cells with a very high power density. Thanks to this individual solution, the battery system is particularly light and compact. The low weight is also due to the material-saving busbar concept, and the lightweight yet strong crash structure of the aluminium housing. It ensures the highest level of safety.
AMG 2.0-litre engine with electrically assisted exhaust gas turbocharger
The AMG 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine was developed entirely at the company’s headquarters in Affalterbach. Experienced technicians produce it in hand-built quality according to the “One Man, One Engine” principle. In doing so, Mercedes-AMG combines the craftsmanship of its highly qualified employees with the state-of-the-art production methods of Industry 4.0 and a high degree of digitisation.
The internally named M139l engine (l for longitudinal installation) is the world’s first series-production engine to be turbocharged with an electric exhaust gas turbocharger. This innovative system is derived directly from the technology that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has been using so successfully in the premier class of motorsport for many years. The new form of turbocharging guarantees particularly spontaneous response across the entire rev range. This leads to an even more dynamic driving experience, while at the same time increasing efficiency. Compared to its C 43 4MATIC and SL 43 siblings, however, the turbocharger in the C 63 S is significantly larger. This enables a higher airflow rate and thus more power. In addition, the integrated electric motor is powered by the 400-volt high-voltage system (48 volts in the 43 models).
Three-stage AMG parameter steering and standard rear-axle steering
The steering layout also contributes to the increase in dynamics and comfort. The three-stage AMG parameter steering system, for example, features a variable steering geometry ratio that adapts to the selected drive program. At high speeds, the steering power assistance decreases; at low speeds it is steadily increased. As a result, comparatively little steering effort is required at low speeds, as well as when manoeuvring and parking, while the best possible control over the vehicle is maintained when driving faster. In the “Sport” and “Sport+” suspension settings, the driver also experiences significantly more feedback about the driving condition via the steering wheel.
The standard rear axle steering operates with a maximum steering angle of 2.5 degrees. Up to this point, the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the front wheels at speeds of up to 100 km/h (variable depending on the AMG DYNAMICS setting). This leads to a virtual shortening of the wheelbase, which in turn results in significantly more agile turn-in, less steering effort and improved manoeuvrability. For example, the turning circle is noticeably reduced when turning or parking. At speeds above 100 km/h (variable depending on the AMG DYNAMICS setting), on the other hand, the rear wheels turn in parallel to the front wheels – up to a maximum of 0.7 degrees. This virtual extension of the wheelbase has a positive effect on driving stability, leads to a faster build-up of lateral force when changing direction and thus to a more direct reaction of the vehicle to steering commands. The response of the rear-axle steering depends on the selected AMG DYNAMIC SELECT drive program.
The integrated AMG DYNAMICS dynamic control system is also part of the standard specification. It influences the control strategies of ESP® (Electronic Stability Program), the all-wheel drive, and the electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential. This increases agility without compromising the vehicle’s stability. Particularly noteworthy: AMG DYNAMICS determines how the vehicle should react. The system uses the available sensors, among other things, to ascertain the speed, lateral acceleration, steering angle and yaw rate. Thanks to an intelligent pilot-control principle, it is possible to anticipate how the driver wants the vehicle to behave, based on the driver’s actions and on data from the sensors. Regulation is tailored to the dynamic driving competence of the driver – without any noticeable or disruptive interventions by the system. The driver gets a very authentic driving feel with high cornering dynamics and optimum traction, as well as high stability and predictable handling. Even experienced drivers receive optimum assistance without feeling patronised by the system.