Car and Driver (USA)
Raising Baby on Electricity and Boost
The 2023 Mercedes-AMG C63 goes from having a twin-turbo V-8 to a single-turbo four-cylinder. To ensure it’s worthy of the AMG badge, it employs Formula 1 tech and a couple of electric motors.
Engine downsizing usually means losing a cylinder or two, but the upcoming W206 generation of the Mercedes-AMG C63 makes a more radical reduction. Gone is the old car’s twin-turbocharged V-8 and in goes a hybridized and turbocharged fourcylinder. But, before we all get too upset about the demise of one of our favorite engines, let’s consider the reasons to be optimistic about the new one.
The next C63 will use a longitudinally mounted version of the M139 turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, which, in transverse form, powers AMG’s CLA45 and GLA45. Unlike the CLA and GLA version, the C63 will have a 400-volt electric turbocharger (or e-turbo), a bit of motorsport technology transfer from M-B’s Formula 1 powerplant. A small motor mounted directly onto the turbo’s shaft will be able to accelerate the compressor to deliver boost before exhaust gases start to flow. AMG says it will be possible to keep the turbo spinning even when the engine is idling to ensure instant throttle response.
The 400-volt supply to make this happen comes from the battery powering a hybrid system that includes a rearmounted electric motor. The motor will drive the rear axle through its own two-speed gearbox, which shifts into its top ratio around 87 mph. The motor adds to the torque delivered from the four-cylinder via the conventional driveshaft. Engine output can also be sent to the front axle thanks to a clutch-pack coupling on the nine-speed automatic, and electric torque can be shifted forward by effectively reversing the torque flow within the driveline. A small (think 5.0-kilowatt-hour usable capacity or smaller) battery pack sits above the rear drive unit to aid weight distribution, and it can deliver 201 horsepower for up to 10 seconds at a time.
We will need to wait until the new C63 is officially unveiled to get the final tally, but AMG promises the four-cylinder engine will make at least 442 horsepower. The combined figure with the electric motor should make at least as much power in the new car as the 503-hp V-8 does in the outgoing model. The hybrid system will eventually mate with the brand’s 4.0-liter V-8 to make an even more muscular 73 AMG powertrain for larger AMG models. We’ll see the C63 this year and anticipate its price to start at just over $70,000.
WHAT THEY ARE: They’re mid-size crossovers [Don’t stop reading, it gets good— Ed.] that will be the first U.S.-bound Mazda models to use the company’s new longitudinal-engine platform and inline-six engine. The three-row CX-90 replaces the CX-9, while the CX-70 is a two-row variant.
WHAT POWERS THEM: While Mazda promises gasoline, diesel, and Skyactiv-X compression-ignition variants of its new inlinesix, diesel is unlikely for the U.S. And Mazda has yet to certify the Skyactiv-X technology here, so our market will likely get the gas 3.0-liter. Expect the engine to have a turbocharger and a 48-volt hybrid system with an output somewhere in the mid-300-hp range. A plug-inhybrid powertrain using an inline-four and a single AC motor is also in the works.
WHY THEY MATTER: The new platform and engine are Mazda’s bid for premiumness—to become more like BMW and less like Honda or Toyota. The longitudinalengine layout should allow engineers to better tune ride and handling, and it also creates that all-important dash-to-axle ratio that implies luxury.
ESTIMATED PRICE AND ON-SALE DATE: The CX-70 will arrive sometime before the end of 2022 starting at about $38,000, with the sevenpassenger CX-90 set to follow in 2023 with a starting price around $40,000.