The new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E PERFORMANCE hybrid (combined fuel consumption, weighted: 6.9 l/100 km / 34 mpg US; combined CO2 emissions, weighted: 156 g/km; combined electric energy consumption, weighted: 11.7 kWh/100 km) brings advanced technologies from motorsport to the road. A two-speed electric motor positioned on the rear axle supports the 2.0-liter 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 N·m. These are new peak values for the C-Class.
Also as in Formula 1, the battery is specifically designed for fast power delivery and take-up. The electric-only range supported by the 6.1 kWh battery is 13 kilometers (8 miles).
Other highlights of the new model series, which is being launched simultaneously as a sedan and as anwagon: 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.
The AMG-specific E PERFORMANCE hybrid drive. In the new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E PERFORMANCE, the 2.0-liter 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 N·m deliver impressive performance: both models accelerate from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds. Acceleration only ends at an electronically governed 280 km/h (Wagon 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)—i.e., 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 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.
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.
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 kilometers 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.
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 millimeters thin. Around 14 liters 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.
Operating strategy: electric power always available. The basic operating strategy is derived from the hybrid powerpack of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 racing car. As in motor racing’s premier class, maximum propulsion is always available when the driver demands it by kickdown—for example for powerful acceleration out of bends, or when overtaking. The electric power can always be called up and frequently reproduced via high recuperation performance and needs-based recharging. The car’s specific battery concept allows the optimal compromise between maximum driving dynamics and contemporary efficiency. All components are perfectly coordinated: the performance gain can be experienced directly.
Eight AMG drive programs. The eight AMG DYNAMIC SELECT driving modes “Electric”, “Comfort”, “Battery Hold”, “Sport”, “Sport+”, “RACE”, “Slippery” and “Individual” are precisely tailored to the new drive technology and thus offer a wide range of driving experiences—from efficient to dynamic. The driving modes adjust important parameters such as the response of the drive system and transmission, the steering characteristics, the suspension damping or the sound.
The boost power of the electric motor also depends on the selected drive program. It can be selected via the display in the center console or the AMG steering wheel buttons. However, one thing is the same in all programs: the peak output of the electric motor with a boost of 150 kW can be called up at any time via the kick-down function. The haptic accelerator pedal provides a tangible pressure point that the driver’s foot must overcome.
Usually, the Performance hybrid starts silently (“Silent Mode”) in the “Comfort” drive program when the electric motor is switched on. In the instrument cluster, the “Ready” icon signals that the vehicle is ready to drive. In addition, a powerful, sonorous start-up sound typical of AMG is emitted in the interior via the vehicle’s loudspeakers as acoustic feedback showing readiness to get going. Slight pressure on the accelerator pedal is all it takes to set the AMG Performance hybrid in motion.
“Electric” drive program: the focus is on the electric driving experience. All-electric driving is possible from standstill up to 125 km/h, with the combustion engine always switched off. The mechanical connection to the AMG Performance 4MATIC+ components means that all-wheel drive is always available: if the rear wheels suddenly have too much slip, the power of the electric motor is also transmitted to the front wheels via the propeller shaft and drive shafts. If the battery has run down or the driver requests more power, the intelligent operating control system automatically switches to the “Comfort” driving mode and the combustion engine starts up to provide propulsion.
“Comfort” drive program:starting off is undertaken in most cases in electric mode. Combustion engine and electric motor run as the situation demands—with electric drive at low speeds, for example in residential areas or in the city center, and hybrid driving with combustion engine and electric motor in the countryside and on the motorway. The boost power of the electric motor is a maximum of around 25%. Overall, the result is a harmonious and consumption-optimized driving impression, due in part to the early upshifts of the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT-9G transmission. Suspension and steering are set up for an emphasis on comfort. The steering focus is on energy efficiency, so that fuel consumption and emissions can be reduced. The hallmark AMG sportiness and agility are retained.
“Battery Hold” drive program: as in the “Comfort” drive program, the combustion engine and electric motor run based on the situation with a maximum boost of around 25%. The biggest difference is that the operating strategy keeps the battery state of charge constant. For example, if the battery is at 75% charge, it remains in this range in “Battery Hold”. Use of the electric motor is then limited and optimized for low power consumption, which is compensated for by recuperation, for example. Advantage for drivers: they can decide when to make full use of the battery charge again, simply by changing the drive program.
“Sport” drive program: starting off with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. More boost from the electric motor is enabled, up to around 65%. Sporty driving impression owing to more agile accelerator response, shorter shift times and earlier downshifts. A more dynamic suspension and steering set-up.
“Sport+” drive program: starting off with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. Even higher boost performance of up to 80%. Extremely sporty character thanks to even more agile throttle response and targeted torque intervention during upshifts with cylinder deactivation for optimum shift times. Increased idle speed for faster starting. An even more dynamic set-up for suspension, steering and powertrain.
“RACE” drive program: for highly dynamic driving on closed race tracks. In this mode, all the parameters are configured for maximum performance. Starting off with combustion engine and electric motor and situational interaction of the two drives. Electric boost power of the electric motor up to 80%. Strong battery recharging at low power demand for maximum electrical availability. In addition, the “Boost Mode” can be called up via the left-hand steering wheel button. The boost power is then limited to a maximum of 30% in order to conserve energy reserves. These can then be used specifically on the race track for spontaneous power demand via kick-down and 100% boost power—or example for an acceleration manoeuvre or powerful acceleration out of corners.
“Slippery” drive program: optimized for slippery road conditions, with reduced power and a flat torque curve. Electric-only driving and recuperation adjustment are deactivated.
“Individual” drive program: individual customisation of the drive, transmission, AMG DYNAMICS, suspension, steering and exhaust system.
Performance hybrid drive can control the traction of one wheel instead of ESP. The hybrid drive also brings benefits in terms of the dynamic handling control. Instead of braking intervention by ESP, the electric motor can also control traction as soon as a wheel signals too much slip. To do this, the intelligent control system reduces the drive torque of the electric motor that is transferred to the wheel via the limited-slip rear differential. The result is that ESP does not have to intervene at all, or only later. The combustion engine can thus be operated with higher torque, which both improves agility afterwards and increases efficiency. In addition, the power otherwise “destroyed” during braking can be used to charge the battery.
Recuperation selectable in four stages. Because the high-performance battery is always in the optimum temperature window of around 45 degrees due to direct cooling, regeneration can also be optimized—normally a battery heats up strongly at high regeneration power, so that energy recovery needs to be limited.
Recuperation starts when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator pedal, i.e. in overrun mode without touching the brake pedal. This charges the battery and creates a strong braking torque—the wheel brakes are subjected to less wear or, depending on the regeneration level and traffic situation, do not have to be applied at all. Another advantage of recuperation: the vehicle does not speed up on steep downhill slopes. So the system works like an engine brake, but also feeds energy into the battery.
The driver can select four different regeneration levels using the right-hand AMG steering wheel button. This applies in all drive programs with the exception of “Slippery”, and the energy recovery is configured differently depending on the driving mode.
Level 0: The vehicle behaves similarly to a conventional combustion-engine model with manual transmission, where the clutch is disengaged, and rolls on with the least resistance when the accelerator is released. The recuperation level is very low, and only serves to maintain the vehicle’s power supply. With the combustion engine switched off, friction losses in the powertrain are reduced to a minimum.
Level 1: This is the standard setting, at which recuperation is already noticeable to the driver, and corresponds approximately to the deceleration of a conventional combustion engine when the clutch is engaged.
Level 2: Stronger recuperation, the brake pedal hardly needs to be used when moving in traffic.
Level 3: Maximum energy recovery, making so-called “one-pedal” driving possible as in an all-electric car. Depending on the driving status, more than 100 kW of power can be fed back into the battery.
Special feature of the RACE drive program: on the racetrack, the driver wants to squeeze the maximum time possible out of any braking action. In the “RACE” drive program, recuperation is automatically set at level 1 to allow the most reproducible vehicle behavior possible at the limits.
AMG 2.0-liter engine with electrically assisted exhaust gas turbocharger. The AMG 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine was developed entirely at the company’s headquarters in Affalterbach. 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).
The functional principle of the electric exhaust gas turbocharger. An electric motor around four centimeters thin is integrated directly on the turbocharger shaft between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the intake side. Electronically controlled, this drives the shaft of the turbocharger directly and thus accelerates the compressor wheel, before the exhaust gas flow takes over the drive in the conventional way.
This significantly improves the response directly from idle speed and across the entire rev range. The combustion engine responds even more spontaneously to accelerator pedal input, while the entire driving feel is significantly more dynamic. In addition, the electrification of the turbocharger allows higher torque at low revs. This also increases agility and optimises acceleration from a standstill. Even when the driver takes their foot off the accelerator or brakes, the technology is able to maintain boost pressure at all times. This ensures a continuously direct response.
Powered by the 400-volt on-board electrical system, the electric exhaust gas turbocharger operates at speeds of up to 150,000 rpm. The turbocharger, electric motor and power electronics are connected to the cooling circuit of the combustion engine in order to ensure an idea temperature environment at all times.
The closed-deck design of the M139—a motorsport design—ensures high rigidity in conjunction with low weight and allows peak combustion pressures of up to 160 bar. The areas around the cylinders are mostly solid, and the cover plate is penetrated only by smaller ducts for the coolant and engine oil. Another outstanding feature is the two-stage petrol injection. In the first stage, particularly fast and precise piezo injectors deliver the fuel into the combustion chambers at pressures of up to 200 bar. The second stage adds intake manifold duct injection with solenoid valves, which is needed to achieve the engine’s high specific power output.
The high output also necessitates a sophisticated cooling system that can cool the cylinder head and crankcase to different temperature levels. This measure makes it possible to maintain a cold cylinder head for maximum power with efficient ignition timing, along with a warm crankcase to reduce internal engine friction. The cylinder head is cooled by a mechanical high-performance water pump; the crankcase is cooled by a second, electrically driven water pump. After a cold start, this pump remains passive until the engine has warmed up. In operation it is regulated by the engine control unit so that the crankcase is always cooled according to need.
The most powerful production four-cylinder. In the C 63 S, the four-cylinder unit develops 350 kW (476 hp) at 6725 rpm. This makes it the world’s most powerful series-production four-cylinder engine. The maximum torque of 545 N·m is available at 5250‑5500 rpm. A belt-driven starter generator (RSG) combines an alternator and starter in one component. The RSG starts the combustion engine and ensures the basic supply of the ancillary components such as air conditioning or driving lights. This also applies when the vehicle is at a traffic light and the charge level of the high-voltage battery is no longer sufficient to support the low-voltage on-board electrical system. The RSG is integrated into the 400-volt high-voltage network.
Power is transmitted via the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9G transmission (MCT = Multi-Clutch Transmission), in which a wet start-off clutch replaces the torque converter. It reduces weight and, thanks to its lower inertia, optimises response to accelerator pedal input, especially during spurts and load changes. The elaborately calibrated software ensures extremely short shift times as well as fast multiple downshifts if required. In addition, the intermediate throttle function in the “Sport” and “Sport+” driving modes delivers a particularly emotionally appealing gearshift experience. There is also the RACE START function, which ensures optimal acceleration from a standstill.
AMG RIDE CONTROL suspension with Adaptive Damping System. The standard AMG RIDE CONTROL steel-spring suspension with Adaptive Damping System combines pronounced sporty dynamic handling with the comfort over long distances that is such a hallmark of the brand. The basis for this is provided by the front axle, with specially developed steering knuckles and suspension joints on the spring control arm, and by the rear axle, which also features elastokinematics designed for driving dynamics.
Based on this, the damping at each individual wheel is continuously adjusted to the current demand—always taking into account the preselected suspension level, the driving style and the condition of the road surface. In addition to an improvement in ride quality and comfort, this leads, above all, to an increase in driving safety. The system used has already proved its worth in GT3 customer sport and in the AMG GT Black Series.
The key components are dampers made of lightweight materials that can move significantly more hydraulic fluid than conventional systems: instead of a slim piston, a significantly larger disc displaces the oil in the damper. Each damper is fitted with two external electrohydraulic valves, which act independently of each other to control draw and pressure. In the process, the system’s control software continuously monitors operating data such as steering wheel angle, vehicle speed, acceleration and body movement. In this way, the dampers are controlled within milliseconds as the situation requires. The result is that, even during extreme driving maneuvers or on poor roads, the wheels are always firmly on the ground. There is a choice of three different damping maps (“Comfort”, “Sport” and “Sport+”).
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 maneuvering 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 maneuverability.
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.
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. Due 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.
AMG DYNAMICS “Basic” is assigned to the “Comfort” and “Electric” drive program. The design results in a very stable ride with high yaw damping.
“Advanced” is activated in the “Sport” program. The vehicle remains neutrally balanced. The reduced yaw damping and increased agility support dynamic manoeuvres such as driving on winding country roads.
“Pro” (abbreviation for “Professional”) is part of the “Sport+” program. In “Pro” the driver receives even more assistance for dynamic driving maneuvers, while agility and feedback from the road when cornering are further enhanced.
“Master” is coupled with the drive program “RACE”. The “Master” mode is aimed at drivers who want to experience dynamism and driving enjoyment on cordoned-off circuits. “Master” offers a slightly oversteering vehicle balance, more direct steering and more agile turn-in behavior. In this way, “Master” ensures maximum agility and optimally exploits the dynamic potential of the “S” version. To activate “Master” mode, the driver must use the separate button in the center console to switch ESP to ESP SPORT handling mode or ESP OFF.
In the “Individual” drive program, drivers can set the AMG DYNAMICS levels “Basic”, “Advanced”, “Pro” and “Master” themselves.