Car and Driver contributor Georg Kacher is back from the watercooler with more gossip about what’s ahead. This is the same reporter who brought us insider trading about BMW working on an M5 with a plug-in hybrid V8 making around 750 horsepower for the 2024 model year, said hybrid powertrain to be shared with an SUV called the X8 M at the time. Half that rumor has come true already, the X8 M having turned into the BMW XM Label, the XM boasting a plug-in hybrid V8 with 738 horsepower. The other half of the rumor is pertinent in light of Kacher’s new report: He credits two sources for news that AMG could go back to V8 powertrains for the AMG C 63 and AMG E 63 as soon as 2026.
For any who managed to miss the furor, AMG’s open heart surgery on the most recent C 63 S threw out the previous V8 drivetrain making 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque for a plug-in hybrid four-cylinder setup making 671 hp and 752 lb-ft. From the moment the sedan debuted, fans made it clear they regarded losing two cylinders as far more important than gaining 168 horses and 236 pound-feet. The coming AMG E 63 gets a similar revision when renewed, giving up the TTV8 for a plug-in hybrid inline-six drivetrain. Sometimes little things mean a lot, sometimes they mean everything.
Kacher writes of both cars, “Some say that’s not good enough to do battle with the BMW M3, which has a twin-turbo inline-six, and the future BMW M5, which is slated to have a hybrid setup with a twin-turbo V-8. The upcoming Audi RS5 and RS7 will also be powered by a V-6 hybrid good for up to 640 horsepower.” These sentences show just how vital yet irrational the issue is for AMG buyers, emphasizing again that enthusiasm — especially among buyers dropping AMG money — is a matter of passion above engineering.
Ignore this being about Mercedes doing battle with the BMW. The 671-hp C 63 already stomps out the 503-hp BMW M3 on the spec sheet. The retired, non-hybrid E 63 made 603 hp and 527 lb-ft. Keeping up with the competition won’t be a problem for a hybrid V6. This is about how buyers expect AMG to do battle — with irate V8 overkill and an apocalyptic exhaust note no PHEV four- or six-cylinder can match.
According the report, the old gloves are going back on, Mercedes engineers working on making the 4.0-liter M177 twin-turbo V8 legal under Euro 7 emissions rules. The word from “senior engineers” is that the E and C can swallow the eight-cylinder with “only minor bodywork changes.”