The next-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 – which will make the landmark switch from V8 to four-cylinder hybrid power – has been shown off in the UK in concept form ahead of a full production-spec reveal in the coming months.
On show at Goodwood's Festival of Speed, the upcoming BMW M3 rival is emphatically marked out from the standard Mercedes C-Class by way of an aggressive body kit, chunky AMG sports alloy wheels (covering the requisite drilled and ventilated brake discs) and a beefy quad-exit exhaust.
The C63 will be the first AMG model to feature an advanced four-cylinder hybrid drivetrain instead of its long-standing V8 power when it goes on sale later this year. The car will be one in a line of future new AMG models earmarked to receive an electrified version of Mercedes’ new turbocharged 2.0-litre M139 engine.
The potent four-cylinder engine kicks out a maximum of 416bhp and 369lb ft of torque in non-electrified form in the new Mercedes-AMG A 45 and its related siblings. The unit has already been engineered for longitudinal mounting as well as mild-hybrid electric boosting.
Mercedes has confirmed that the petrol unit has been tuned to give 470bhp in its own right for the new C63 - making it comfortably the most powerful four-cylinder engine in series production. It will then be paired with a 201bhp EV motor on the rear axle – a set-up Mercedes refers to as the 'P3' drivetrain – to give a total figure of 670bhp, some 167bhp more than the BMW M3, its closest rival.
This is despite a 50% reduction in swept capacity and cylinder count. With the benefit of electric boosting, it has also been conceived to deliver up to 553lb ft of torque – a 37lb ft increase on today’s C63 S 4Matic.
Autocar has been told the M139 engine will adopt a 48V integrated starter motor similar to that already used by the turbocharged 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder M256 unit, which powers the CLS 53 4Matic+ and other recent new AMG models.