Mercedes-AMG Defends its Decision to Drop the C63's V8

Complain all you want about the four-cylinder, but AMG will not be deterred.

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2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance
Photo: Mercedes-AMG

We recently got a chance to drive the 2024 Mercedes-AMG C63 S E Performance, and it sure is quick. Of course, 671 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque will do that even if this generation is 700 pounds heavier than its predecessor. AMG’s decision to use a four-cylinder instead of a V8, though, has stirred up plenty of controversy. When asked about that decision recently, Mercedes-AMG’s director of vehicle development, Steffen Jastrow, doubled down.

Speaking to Australia’s CarSales at the launch, Jastrow acknowledged that some people aren’t happy the V8 is gone but insisted it was the right call. “Sure, there will be people that are probably disappointed that it has no more V8, but what we have in the new C63 is not just another V8,” he said. “It’s a revolution of the drivetrain – it’s a game changer.”

He also believes that even though it no longer has that signature C63 sound that the way the car drives is more than enough to make up for it, claiming, “Yes, it’s a very new approach but there are very many opportunities in that, and emotion not only comes from a V8 sound: it comes from how the powertrain reacts on the driver demands.”

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Jastrow adds that the hybrid setup comes with other advantages such as better weight distribution. “Just for an example, the V8, this was always a very heavy engine in the front of the car and now we have a very, very powerful four-cylinder, the world’s most powerful four-cylinder… and another 150kW [electric motor] we have on the rear axle. And that’s really, really helpful for weight distribution and for handling and driving dynamics of the car,” he said.

From the sound of it, this is the direction AMG is headed, and no amount of enthusiast complaints will change that. “Of course, there will be people that are very, very much connected to the V8 but this is the new era,” Jastrow explained. “And I think it’s a very, very good progression. We have the highest system output ever on a C-Class.”

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The new hybrid C63 certainly isn’t going to be for everybody, but then again, an $85,000-ish luxury super sedan isn’t for everyone regardless of what engine’s under the hood. But if you were one of the few holding out faint hope that enough criticism could convince AMG to change its course, you’re either going to have to get a lot louder or just accept that as we move into the age of EVs, the V8 will quickly become a relic of the past.