EMBRACE THE FOUR-POT
Is Mercedes-AMG About to Take a Major Step Toward Killing the V8?
While it may not have been a pioneer in the field the way Honda and Toyota were, Mercedes-AMG has been at the forefront of hybrid technology in recent years — especially when it comes to leveraging it for performance. In motorsports, the German company just clinched its sixth-straight Formula 1 constructors’ title (which happens to coincide with all six years of F1’s hybrid-powertrain era). Meanwhile, at the production-car level, Mercedes-AMG can tout the exceptionally smooth inline-six hybrid in the Mercedes-AMG E53.
Things might be about to go to a whole new level, however. Autocar is reporting Mercedes-AMG will go all-in on hybrids with the next generation of the C63 — and replace its V8 engine with a hybridized four-pot.
The gas component won’t be your typical inline-four. It will be Mercedes’ crazy new M139 hot hatch engine, which puts an astounding 421 horsepower in its current max state of tune. Using that as a starting point, it wouldn’t take much electrical assistance to match the current Mercedes-AMG C63 (which makes 469 hp) and Mercedes-AMG C63 S (503 hp). Mercedes will allegedly use a tuned-up version of the 48-volt integrated starter motor found in AMG’s 53 models, which adds 22 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque in those vehicles.
According to the report, the four-cylinder AMG C63 will arrive early in 2022. That electrified powerplant will also appear in SUV and SUV coupe versions of the AMG GLC43 and GLC63, Autocar claims.
Will Mercedes sports car enthusiasts revolt should the V8 depart? Don’t count on it. This is only the latest move in Mercedes’ steady progression toward more efficient engines. The current 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is itself a more efficient replacement for AMG’s twin-turbo 5.5-liter V8, which in turn was a replacement for the naturally-aspirated 6.2-liter V8. You buy a new Mercedes-AMG to be on the cutting edge of engine development. The cutting edge is just shifting quickly because Mercedes has made so much progress with its four-cylinder engines.