The last time that Mercedes-Benz’s C63 badge was true to capacity, was in 2015.
Since its launch back in 2007, the C63 has been Mercedes-Benz’s prototypical four-door performance car: a compact platform with way too much engine.
It is a formula which worked remarkably well, endearing the C63 nameplate to four-door performance car enthusiasts globally.
The C63’s original naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8 was downsized to 4.0-litres in late 2015, but gained turbocharging to mitigate the taper in capacity.
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As AMG’s C63 engines have grown smaller, they have also unexpectedly become more potent.
According to industry sources, AMG is now facing the reality of launching the next-generation C63 as a four-cylinder car, something which would have been unimaginable a few years ago.
When bigger isn’t better
The reality is that downsizing pressure is immense within the automotive industry.
Advances in hybridization has created a powertrain solution where small capacity turbocharged engines can produce all the require performance, without any low-speed torque deficit, thanks to battery power.
Mercedes-Benz has immersive technical experience in high-performance engine hybridization, thanks to its enormously successful F1 racing team.
Image: Net Car Show
For AMG brand fanatics the idea of a four-cylinder C63 might at first seem bothersome, but upon evaluation there are many potential benefits too.
If you look at the current AMG powertrain range, the smallest engines are most impressive.
AMG’s M139 engine has the world’s highest specific power output and engineers believe that this engine’s architecture has potential to release even more energy.
Mercedes-Benz’s current hybrid systems can add a lot of torque during peak throttle demand too, as has been proven by the new-generation 53-Series AMGs.
Better handling but less drama
One of the fundamental benefits of a smaller engine is less mass above the front axle. That means quicker steering responses and less understeer.
During extreme deceleration, a smaller engine also enact less brake dive on the front half of the vehicle.
With advances in engine design and hybridization, there is no question that a potential future four-cylinder C63 would be every bit as fast as it should.
In fact, the only possible issue would be acoustic. AMG has always traded strongly on the noise of its V8 engines.
It deploys a great deal of resources to ensure that its V8s have a very specific sound profile, which distinguish them from rival six- and eight-cylinder engines.
With a four-cylinder powerplant, it is a lot more difficult to create the required drama that has always been so inherent to the C63 ownership experience.
Active valving can help AMG achieve its goal of created a hybridized C63 which sounds true to purpose, but dramatic engine sound is fundamentally a factor of engine capacity and very high crankspeed.
These are two mechanical attributes that are a weakness of any future-proof four-cylinder turbocharge engine.
For fans of the C63 there is no doubt that any future reconfiguration to four-cylinders, will not sacrifice performance, although it might sound a lot different to all those C63s which have gone before.