In April 2018, AMG boss Tobias Moers (currently Aston Martin CEO) took a lot of people by surprise when it announced the next-generation C63 would go hybrid. Why? “Severe regulations” are forcing the boys and girls from Affalterbach to hop on the electrified bandwagon. In October 2019, a rumour claimed the new C63 would lose half of its cylinders. Fast forward to this week, Mercedes confirmed the drastic engine downsize.
In an interview with Car and Driver, C-Class chief engineer Christian Früh revealed important details about what the W206 will bring to the table. For starters, the new generation will stick to a rear-wheel-drive architecture – sourced from the S-Class – because it’s “impossible to achieve this kind of handling and balance with a front-wheel-drive platform.”
Gallery: Next-Gen Mercedes-AMG C63 Spy Photos
All flavours of the next C-Class are going to be offered exclusively with four-cylinder engines, and yes, that includes the AMGs. It’s unclear whether the C43 will transition to the C53 name, but we know for sure it will drop the V6 in favour of an electrified four-port. The top dog is also losing its loud and thirsty V8 to make room for a hybrid four-cylinder engine, which C&D says will have more than 500 bhp.
Although quite rare, the C-Class with a manual gearbox is still available in some parts of the world, especially in Europe. That’s not going to be the case with its successor as all versions of the W206 will come only with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Another tidbit disclosed by Früh is the new generation will have an all-Mercedes engine lineup, meaning no more powertrains co-developed with Renault.
Already announced by Mercedes to debut on a production model in 2021, an electric turbocharger will effectively put an end to the dreaded turbo lag. Some say the C63 will be among the first recipients of the e-turbo tech, but nothing is official at this point. Perhaps we’ll see it first in the GT73e plug-in hybrid arriving in the following months with roughly 800 horsepower.
The world premiere is scheduled to take place on February 23 when the three-pointed star will unveil the non-AMG C-Class saloon. The estate is likely not far behind, with the C43/C53 and C63 AMGs expected to hit the market sometime in 2022 along with a high-riding C-Class All-Terrain.