It has now been a good year since Mercedes-AMG unleashed the current generation of its C 63, based on the W206 model series, on a largely confused public. You probably remember the introduction of the new model caused a great deal of controversy among fans and experts alike. The reason is simple. The much-loved V8 was replaced by a four-cylinder plug-in hybrid drive. 

The fact that the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance with a system output of up to 680 PS and 1,020 Nm is significantly more powerful than its immediate predecessor with a 4.0-litre biturbo eight-cylinder (510 PS and 700 Nm) hardly seems to impress enthusiasts and potential buyers.

AMG does not provide sales figures for individual models, but the hybrid 63 is unlikely to trigger a rush. Even a backpedalling towards the popular V8 was repeatedly the subject of speculation on the net. However, Mercedes immediately denied this.

Manhart CRE 700 auf Basis Mercedes-AMG C 63
Manhart CRE 700 auf Basis Mercedes-AMG C 63

The issue is also problematic for tuners. The predecessor, the W205, was one of the industry's favourites because of its very tuneable V8, among other things. Now they are cautious. 

Manhart Performance from Wuppertal, Germany is likely to be one of the first to take on the new C 63 S E Performance with its mix of 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder and an electric motor. The aim is to "bring back part of its soul", according to the press release. 

This is to be achieved, among other things, thanks to an increase in performance via an additional control unit. This gives the 63 (Manhart calls its car the CRE 700) 725 PS and 1,120 Nm of torque. 

The tuner improves the sound, which is very poor ex works, with sports downpipes and 300-cell catalytic converters for the original exhaust system. There is talk of a "significantly more powerful voice". 

The catch is that both upgrades do not yet have TÜV approval in Germany and are therefore initially intended for export. It's obvious they don't really trust the model and want to wait and see whether the new C 63 will ignite interest before spending a lot of money on TÜV tests. "If there is sufficient demand, it is undoubtedly possible to add TÜV-capable components to the programme," it says

However, those who want to give their hybridised performance Benz a bit of a facelift do not need to wait for TÜV approval. Manhart supplies H&R sports springs with 20 millimetre lowering and the now familiar decal set with decorative strips and lettering, chrome elements such as the Mercedes star on the front and the door handles have been covered in black wrap.

The matt black AMG wheels also feature matching red trim strips. Alternatively, other customised finishes are also possible. The dimensions of the Y-spoke rims are 9.5x20 inches all round. The Michelin tyres come ex works in sizes 265/35 ZR20 at the front and 275/35 ZR20 at the rear.

Manhart saw no need for further optimisation in the interior of this F1 Edition base car.

Gallery: Manhart CRE 700 based on Mercedes-AMG C 63