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Next-gen Mercedes-AMG C63 to be all-wheel drive

By Cameron Kirby, 29 Apr 2019 News

Next-gen Mercedes-AMG C63 to be all-wheel drive

AMG to transform C-Class flagship from V8 rear-drive brawler, to six-pot hybrid track star

The days of Mercedes-AMG’s C63 being a rear-drive V8-powered brute are seemingly numbered, with the German performance company’s boss stating all future models are likely to have all-paw traction.

Speaking with Autocar in the UK, AMG boss Tobias Moers responded positively to the prospect of purely rear-wheel-drive vehicles disappearing from the company’s product range. 

“Customers have given us the answer, and most want four-wheel drive,” he said.

Read next: 2018 Audi RS5 v BMW M4 Pure v Mercedes-AMG C63 S

“Back in the days when we had an AMG E-Class as rear-wheel drive and with four-wheel drive as an option, over 90 percent chose 4WD.”

However, that doesn’t mean that customers who want to enjoy the antics of rear-wheel drive will miss out, as evidenced by the AMG E63’s drift mode. The twin-turbo V8-powered sedan is capable of sending 100 percent of its 450kW/850Nm exclusively to the rear treads at the press of a button, despite its all-wheel-drive set-up for ‘regular’ duties.

Moers’ comments mean it’s also likely the next-gen AMG GT supercar will become an all-paw monster. The AMG boss’s justification for the shift is that it would allow everyday customers to safely enjoy the ever-increasing power of AMG’s high-performance products.

“When I ask customers about the GT, they ask me about all-wheel drive. Regarding our competition, this is the downside of the AMG in terms of usability. People in Munich, for example, always, always ask for four-wheel drive – I think it’s for safety and stability,” he said.

Read next: 2018 BMW M5 vs 2018 Mercedes-AMG E63 S comparison review

Wheels reported in August last year that the next-gen C63 would likely become a six-cylinder hybrid, capable of 400kW.

It’s expected the 2021 C63 will swap outright power for dynamics and athleticism, with Moers confirming at last year’s New York motor show that the all-new C-Class flagship “will be a hybrid – that’s now a given.”

Development of the hybrid technology will be taken care of by Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, who also bolt together Lewis Hamilton’s world-beating engine.

The M256 in-line 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbocharged engine found in the CLS53 is likely to be the starting block for the next-gen C63’s powertrain, with the addition of hybrid tech, a kinetic energy recovery system and beefed-up turbocharging.

While the C63 looks likely to miss out on the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 currently nestled under the bonnet, the venerable M177/M178 will continue to enjoy a place within AMG’s range.

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The M177/M178 is in its most powerful guise while fitted to the GT 4-Door, where it produces 470kW and 900Nm. While the rumoured GT Black Edition could eclipse this figure, Moers says AMG won’t be pushing the unit beyond those yet-to-be-disclosed outputs.

“To go further, the system will be mated to a plug-in hybrid with an electric rear axle,” he told Autocar.

The hybrid AMG GT 4-Door would debut such a system.