Driving report: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance Estate: Two faces

The buddy's assessment when it comes to the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance and the upcoming test is clear.

Driving report: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance Estate: Two faces

The buddy's assessment when it comes to the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance and the upcoming test is clear. “Taxi!” is his curt verdict. In order to be able to classify this statement, you have to know that the man is a fan of the sports cars from Zuffenhausen, is usually in the 500-plus-hp league and doesn't even get involved with engines with less than six pots. As far as the number of cylinders is concerned, the Mercedes AMG C 63 S E Performance T-model with its four does not meet the personal specifications of the Porsche aficionados. But the fans of the Affalterbacher tuning company also frown at the two-liter engine and mourn the time of the powerful eight trumpets along with their voluminous sound.

"Not so fast," you say at AMG, referring to the robust sound of the 350 kW / 476 hp petrol engine. Oh well. Quite nice, but the gentlemen who like to sit four in the car and heat through the city centers at night with the exhaust flap open will probably not be enthusiastic. Now Mercedes AMG is ramping up with the really big pound: Thanks to the 150 kW / 204 PS electric motor on the rear axle, the PHEV athlete C-Class delivers 500 kW / 680 PS with a maximum torque of 1,020 Newton meters. This means that the standard sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes just 3.4 seconds and only tops out at 270 km/h. The whole thing is pretty official with a standard consumption of 6.9 l/100 km!

In order to convince the last "yes-but" doubters, the AMG technicians pull out a second ace up their sleeve. The drive train of the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance is equipped with technology borrowed from the Formula 1 team. "We do almost the same thing in terms of energy management," explains AMG technician Sebastian Liendo. The fact that dynamics are at the top of the list can be seen from the 6.1 kilowatt hour battery (4.8 kWh net), whose main task is to support the combustion engine and therefore only enables a purely electric range of 13 kilometers. The 560 cells of the battery are individually cooled with an electrically non-conductive liquid so that the constant demand for power also works reliably. Thanks to this complex principle, which is used in a similar way in the premier class of racing, the energy storage devices have a power density of 1.7 kW/kg, i.e. approximately twice that of conventional batteries. This results in a weight of only 89 kilograms. Essential for a street athlete. With so much high-tech, it doesn't fit into the picture that the onboard charger only manages 3.7 kW.

For the speed fraction, the engineers have stored an ideal lap on 17 racetracks in the system. It should be around 70 courses later. As with a lap of the Mercedes drivers, the cockpit display reports that it is time to unleash the ten-second boost extra power of the electric motor with a kick-down. On the Ascari Race Resort, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance does excellently and shows no signs of fatigue even after three tough laps. The battery is charged with the most powerful of the four recuperation levels and unnoticed by the driver with the combustion engine as soon as the required power allows it. With the manual mode of the nine-speed double-clutch transmission, the acceleration is perfect and the lack of weight on the front axle has a positive effect when turning. Thanks to the two-speed gearbox on the rear axle, the electric motor does not run out of air, even at higher speeds.

The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance Estate doesn't always do quite as well on country roads. In automatic mode, the transmission sometimes sorts itself before it engages the appropriate gear, accompanied by a slight judder. The four-cylinder engine is less able to conceal its origins and revs up audibly when the power is progressively called up. Due to the weight of 2,190 kilograms and the AMG self-image, the chassis is rather firm, but never completely uncomfortable. The AMG engineers have noticeably improved the steering. The control is now more precise, gives more feedback and doesn't try to feign sportiness with large restoring forces. After the test drive, which took us through mountains with many curves, the on-board computer reported consumption of 10.3 l/100 km or 0.7 kWh/100 km.

A total of eight drive programs are available (“Electric”, “Comfort”, “Battery Hold”, “Sport”, “Sport”, “RACE”, “Slippery” and “Individual”), which can be refined with many additional setting options. Mostly via the two buttons on the steering wheel, which you have to press several times to get to the right menu. Only then do you go to the settings. We find the nested operating structure to be overloaded. But the Playstation fans of the C 63 community will love the many options. This also applies to the colorful world of AMG infotainment. While the limitations of the trunk due to the PHEV module are limited in the T-model (no compartment under the floor), there is a clear step in the luggage compartment in the sedan, which not only significantly reduces the volume, but also the loading with large suitcases massively more difficult. If you want the dynamically rolling game console, you have to wait until summer next year and have around 100,000 euros ready.

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