MERCEDES-AMG is ditching its long-serving V8 powertrains and turning to hybrid technology honed on the Formula 1 circuit for its latest C63 high performance saloon and estate.
With the world's most powerful 2.0-litre four cylinder engine mated to an electric motor with a plug-in hybrid system, the new C63 develops 680 horsepower and comes with all-wheel-drive.
A drift mode is also fitted as is active rear axle steering.
"With the C 63 S E Performance, we are opening a new chapter in the history of our brand," said Philipp Schiemer, Mercedes-AMG chairman. "Even 55 years after our company was founded, we at AMG continue to show the boldness and the will to realise the creative, to deliver something special.
"The new C 63 in particular is a real game changer. With its revolutionary concept, it brings a completely new approach to the segment, which until now has been primarily characterised by the promise purely of performance.
With a maximum system output of 680 hp, we do indeed keep this promise. But the intelligent P3 hybrid concept offers much more. I am sure that with this technology, which incorporates a lot of know-how from Formula 1, we will also appeal to a new group of customers."
Compared to the standard C-Class it is some 83mm longer, is wider and has a longer wheelbase which Mercedes-AMG says produces a powerful, stretched and muscular look.
A feature that is exclusive to the C 63 S, is the slim air outlet in the centre of the bonnet between two powerdomes and for the first time on a Mercedes-AMG production model, a round badge with a black AMG emblem replaces the Mercedes star with laurel wreath on the bonnet.
Further elements include the AMG-specific radiator grille with vertical struts and the AMG front apron in jet-wing design. Matching side skirts and the rear apron with large diffuser as well as two trapezoidal tailpipe trims round off the design.
From a performance perspective, both the C63 saloon and estate can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 3.4 seconds with a top speed governed to 155mph or 175mph.
With a 204hp electric motor powering the rear axle, the car has a lithium-ion energy storage system already proven in the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team's Formula 1 hybrid racing cars.
As such the C63 can run purely on electric power for some eight miles while overall fuel economy is rated officially at 34mpg. Emissions are 156g/km.
Eight drive modes are available while the car has a nine-speed automatic transmission that is set up to maximise performance on both the road and the track.
The new C63 is due to arrive later in the year with pricing to be announced closer to the release date.