Formula 1 power for next Mercedes C63 AMG
The next-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 is set to be powered by a four-cylinder engine with a turbocharger borrowed from the world of Formula 1.
Mercedes-AMG is softening the ground ahead of a hammer-blow to red-blooded V8 lovers who will no doubt mourn the end of a muscle car era.
News of the C63's switch to four-cylinder power isn't official yet. But it is coming.
Following leaks to European media such as Autocar, which reported the C63's switch to four-cylinder power in October 2019, the German brand has released details of a high-tech turbo set to drive its next-generation performance cars.
Dubbed the "electric exhaust gas turbocharger" or eTurbo, the device blends the reaction speed of small turbos with the outright power of much larger units.
Conventional turbos have two main segments.
The "hot" side features a turbine spun by the vehicle's exhaust stream, which turns a shaft connected to a compressor wheel on the "cold" side. Compressed air force-fed into the engine allows you to pump in more fuel, resulting in a bigger bang and more power than a naturally aspirated engine of the same size.
Mercedes-AMG's new version adds a third element: a slim electric motor positioned on the shaft between the turbo's hot and cold sides. It eliminates turbo lag by using the electric motor to "spool up" the turbo quickly, giving drivers a near-instantaneous response rather than making them wait for the combustion engine's exhaust to spin the turbine.
The eTurbo will also keep the turbo humming along at high speed when a driver brakes or lifts off the throttle, ensuring optimum performance when they get back on the gas.
In theory, this improvement in response could allow engineers to use a much bigger turbo than before, delivering more power at full throttle and high revs. It also means you don't need a sizeable combustion engine to deliver sharp throttle response and stirring performance.
Which means you burn less fuel in everyday driving.
That's why we expect the 4.0-litre V8 in the current-generation C63 to be replaced by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine based on the new M139 motor found in the latest Mercedes-AMG A45. The little hatchback already makes 310kW and 500Nm with the aid of a normal turbo, enough to race to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds.
The new eTurbo could push peak power well beyond 350kW, giving the next-gen C63 the wallop it needs to tackle six-cylinder rivals in the BMW M3 and Audi RS4.
It is also likely to feature in the Formula 1-powered, $5 million Mercedes-AMG One hypercar for the road.
The innovation brings green credibility in the ability to harvest lost energy through the turbo's shaft-mounted motor, technology formerly known as the MGU-H (for motor generator unit-heat) in Formula 1.
The technology helps F1 cars with tiny 1.6-litre V6 engines to make around 650kW of power.
Tobias Moers, boss of Mercedes-AMG, says the eTurbo is "an example of the transfer of Formula 1 technology to the road", and that there will be more to come.
Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains managing director Andy Cowell saw the technology secure six world championships for the luxury brand's F1 team.
Speaking with Autosport.com in 2018, Cowell described MGU-H as "the most marvellous anti-lag system", and a piece of genuine innovation.
Renault F1 boss Cyril Abiteboul told Motorsport.com the efficiency of the MGU-H - both in power delivery and hybrid regeneration - allows teams to carry about 50 kilograms less fuel than they otherwise would need to deliver the same performance from a conventional turbo.
Originally published as Formula 1 power for next Mercedes C63 AMG