The range-topping Mercedes-AMG CLE63 is due any day now. We thought it would have the same 671-horsepower four-cylinder hybrid powertrain used in the C63, but that's no longer happening, according to a report from Autocar. Instead, it appears Mercedes-Benz is backtracking on the high-performance four-pot in favor of V-8 thunder.

Citing "senior officials" at Mercedes-Benz, the report claims the CLE63 will use the familiar twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 with mild-hybrid assist, making up to 585 hp. If that's the case, it will have nearly 100 less hp than originally planned. It's unclear if a plug-in hybrid powertrain is under consideration, but we've spotted prototypes with charging ports. We also captured one on video emitting hardly any sound, so Mercedes does have electrified prototypes in the field. And they likely have the aforementioned four-cylinder setup.

Gallery: Mercedes-AMG CLE 63 Coupe New Spy Photos

As such, switching to V-8 power could be a late-development decision in response to public criticism over the high-output four-pot. That's what Autocar claims, citing slower sales for the C-Class overall in Europe. In the United States, sales for the C-Class are down just slightly through the first quarter of 2024, showing a three percent drop versus last year.

It's worth noting that new C63 models are just now reaching dealerships in the UK. Pricing for the US was announced in mid-April, and has yet to go on sale. In short, Mercedes has received criticism over dropping the V-8 in the C63 but there's no sales data to see if buyers truly don't want the four-cylinder hybrid, at least on our side of the pond. We've contacted Mercedes seeking more information and a confirmation of the report, but the automaker declined to comment.

If Autocar is accurate, the CLE63 will easily slot above the CLE53 and its 443-hp twin-turbocharged inline-six powertrain. But it will fall well short of the C63 when it comes to power. All should be answered later this year when the CLE63 makes its official debut.

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