Mercedes-Benz recently unveiled its all-new AMG C Class performance cars, built right here in South Africa. At a media event in East London, the German automaker gave media a first look at these vehicles, both the C43 and C63S e-performance models, and while they were not ready to drive, we got to experience the C43 with driving instructors around the track.

Being locally built, we also had a first look inside its East London plant, where the vehicles will be built and exported. The C63S will be exported to over 80 markets, including China. Important to note, the engines come from Germany and are assembled in South Africa at the plant.

AMG C43 4Matic

The C43 4Mati is a completely different car to its predecessor. The turbocharged 2L four-cylinder engine has a total output of 300kW and 500Nm of torque. It also has a mild hybrid system that gives an additional 10kW boost, with technologies derived directly from Formula 1.

Mark Raine, Co-CEO of Mercedes-Benz South Africa says, “Behind every Formula 1 championship is a series of innovations that give the world’s greatest racers that extra bit of edge. With an ingenious new engine at its core, coupled with the innovative technology of the electric exhaust gas turbocharger, we are once again increasing the attractiveness of this latest generation of powerful sedan.”

Mercedes says the new 48V electric exhaust gas turbocharger guarantees particularly spontaneous response across the entire rev range and thus offers an even more dynamic driving experience. The innovative system is a direct derivative of the technology that the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team has been using so successfully in the premier class of motorsport for many years, it adds.

The C43 4Matic goes from 0-100km/h in 4.6 seconds, and top speed is electronically capped at 250km/h, and with the optional AMG Driver’s Package, it can go up to 265km/h. Fuel efficiency is 9.1-8.7L/100km (WLTP).

AMG C63S e-Performance

Using its F1 background, the AMG C63S e-Performance is going to be a real “game changer”, says Mercedes. The turbocharged 2L four-cylinder engine has an output of 500kW and 1020Nm of torque. The performance hybrid has a 150kW and 320Nm of torque electric motor on the rear, which integrates with an electric two-speed gearbox and electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential in a compact electric drive unit, which is referred to as a P3 hybrid.

The car will go from 0-100km/h in 3.4 seconds, and has a top speed of 280km/h. Maximum torque is 545Nm. Fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km (WLTP), and electric consumption is 11.7kWh/100km.

It has a new distinguishing feature, exclusive to the C63S, a narrow air outlet in the centre of the bonnet that transitions elegantly into the two power domes, as described by the company. And another small but particularly fine detail: for the first time ever on a Mercedes-AMG production model, a round badge with a black AMG emblem replaces the Mercedes star with laurel wreath on the bonnet.

The plug-in hybrid has a 6.1kWh battery capacity providing 13km of range, delivering a continuous output of 70kW, which peaks at 150kW for 10 seconds. It can be charged through its on-board 3.7kW AC charger at a charging station, wallbox or household socket. The battery is meant for a quick burst of power and not for its range. It also has a built-in cooling system, using a high-tech coolant that flows into all 560 cells and cools them individually, which results in it always being at an optimal temperature.

The AMG C63S e-Performance will be the only variant, and offer eight driving modes: Electric, Comfort, Battery Hold, Sport, Sport+, Race, Slippery and Individual. Electric mode offers driving from 0-125 km/h with the combustion engine switched off, but as mentioned, range is limited.

We were just given a sneak peak for these vehicles. Both these locally built AMG models, the C43 and the C63S will be available in 2023.

From the East London plant tour, no photos inside