Stuttgart - As many had suspected, the next-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 is looking set to ditch its rear-wheel-drive layout in favour of an all-wheel-drive set-up similar to that installed in the latest E63.

This move was confirmed to TopGear by an unnamed source, who also reassured that the new super saloon, due in 2021, would still offer a Drift Mode that can lock the central differential to send all the torque to the back wheels.

According to the British publication, the new C63 will continue to be powered by AMG’s 4-litre twin-turbo V8, with the top version likely tuned to produce around 400kW.

This will give it a significant edge over the Audi RS4, which produces 331kW, and likely the next-generation BMW M3 too, which will reportedly offer up to 373kW in Competition form, according to BimmerPost.

But whereas the next-generation M3 is set to offer a choice between manual and auto transmissions, according to BMW Blog, as well as a choice between rear- and all-wheel-drive (depending on the variant), the new C63 will apparently only offer a dual-clutch automated gearbox option and AWD.

TopGear reports that a C53 AMG will also be offered, presumably replacing the C43, and powered by Merc’s new straight-six turbo engine mated to a mild hybrid system. The powertrain produces 320kW in E53 form, but it remains to be seen whether the C53 will have the same output.

In design terms you can expect the next-generation C-Class to get smoother styling, possibly along the lines of the latest CLS and CLA models. The car is also rumoured to be larger, without the associated weight gain, as it moves to a new and more aluminium-intensive architecture.

Like the current model, the next C-Class is set to be built in South Africa for large-scale export.

IOL Motoring