The C-Class is Mercedes’ best-selling car in the U.S., so you better believe the brand takes the redesign seriously. Before the 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class arrives, we sat down with AMG’s Tobias Moers at the 2019 Frankfurt auto show to learn more about the 2021 C-Class AMG models and the future of AMG. With Frankfurt hosting the debuts of everything from a GLB 35 AMG to an updated plug-in GLC and the sleek EQS electric sedan concept, we chatted at the European auto show to learn about where the C-Class AMG models are headed. Here’s what we know so far.
A C 63 Plug-In Hybrid?
Moers confirmed that AMG is going hybrid, something we’ve heard is coming: “This is our intention, this is our strategy, and this is what we’re working on.” The next C- and S-Class AMG models will be plug-in hybrids, though don’t go looking for a huge EV range from powertrains we’re assured will be engineered differently from non-AMG Mercedes plug-ins.
The focus is on performance, though we’re sure that meeting increasingly stringent global fuel economy regulations is part of the picture, too. The outgoing C 63 S—that’s the one where the 4.0-liter turbo V-8 makes 503 hp—is good for 18/27 mpg city/highway as a sedan, but only 17/26 mpg as a coupe and 17/24 mpg as a convertible. Sure, roll your eyes at mpgs in an AMG story, but improved fuel economy translates to more AMGs in the future and—probably—a longer driving range before needing to fill up. Especially in a sport mode, the plug-in hybrid powertrain of the 2021 C 63 (assuming AMG doesn’t change its alphanumeric structure) could lead to satisfying temporary boosts in acceleration.
AMG Going for Four
You know that new AMG turbo-four that may make as much as 416 hp in upcoming models such as the A 45 S and CLA 45 S? Expect to see a version powering a future 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG model. Probably replacing the 385-hp turbo-six in the current C 43, performance should match that car. When we drove a 2017 C 43, it hit 60 mph in a MotorTrend-tested 4.2 seconds, and a previously tested C 63 S reached 60 in an even 4.0 seconds.
Where that leaves the 2021 C 63 is unclear; the current car’s soundtrack comes from a boosted V-8.
AMG AWD for All
Every 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class AMG model will have AWD. The current C 43 models already do, and the next-gen C 63’s replacement should get a rear-biased AWD system with a drift mode.
That drivetrain shift, along with the previously announced move to hybrid power, may subtly change how people perceive AMG. Customer exposure to the Mercedes sub-brand got a lift once “AMG-lite” models (think C 43 versus the C63) rolled into dealerships.
“We had our journey with brand awareness,” Moers says. “When we started with our new strategy in 2014, we were well aware that the brand was not perfectly understood in every market.”
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