High Performing Athlete

Thanks to the way it handles and the quality of the interior, the Mercedes AMG C63 is one highly desirable car with very distinct edges.

The recent deprivation of its “Benz” designation won’t likely stop the new AMG’s C-class derivative in shaping up to be one of the most fascinating beasts ever to roar out of Affalterbach. Mercedes enthusiasts can still recall how AMG announced the departure of the now-legendary naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V-8: its final sanctuary is the outgoing C63 AMG coupe, which remains on sale for the 2015 model year. Thus, the new C63 sedan adopts the M177 twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V-8—essentially the same engine as the M178 is found in the AMG GT—in two strengths.

The basic C63 is rated for an awesome 469 horsepower, while an uprated S model variant drops 503 onto its sled, with official sources saying that the take rate on the AMG cars’ optional horsepower-raising packages was so high that it decided to basically turn those into their own trims.

The maximum torque of the model is rated at 479 or 516 lb-ft and is served up on a plateau that stretches from 1750 to 4500 rpm. As for the S, the M177 rides on dynamic engine mounts like those of the AMG GT, which adjust their stiffness according to driving style to either isolate engine noise and vibration (softer), or minimize engine movement (firmer).

The sprint from zero to 60 mph is said to take four seconds in the C63 and 3.9 in the C63 S. Top speed, as ever, is governed at an easily attainable 155 mph. These figures are especially remarkable considering the new car’s much more reasonable drinking habits, as Mercedes claims the car is 32% more efficient than its predecessor. If that number carries over to EPA testing, the new car’s combined mpg figure would be nearly 20 mpg.

Power is shuttled through the AMG’s Speedshift seven-speed automatic, essentially a regular automatic with a clutch in place of a torque converter. It boasts “”acoustic upshift and distinctive double-declutching feedback””, which is to say it helps the car sound super awesome—doubly so when the optional performance exhaust is specified.

In this day and age, an AMG is no longer limited and labelled as a straight-line beast. As is already demonstrated by its predecessor, this rear-wheel-drive—that’s right, no 4MATIC business here—performance sedan is intended to shred twisty backroads and racetracks. The multilink front and rear suspension setups have been heavily massaged to keep the car planted and body roll to a minimum. That includes a wider track, a heavy dose of aluminium, an available three-stage adjustable setup and AMG-specific (and as-yet-unspecified) tuning. A mechanical locking rear differential is standard; the S version gets an ultra-quick electronically locking diff.
The standard C63 is fitted with 245/40R-18 front and 265/40R-18 rear rubber, while the S moves up to 245/35R-19 and 265/35R-19 meats. Of course, the vehicle’s character can be optimized by means of chassis modes that variously affect steering and throttle response, engine noise, the electronic dampers and the ESP stability-control system. And, in what is the most excellent news, the ESP can be turned off entirely.

In terms of appearance, the C63 more than reflects the classically luxurious elegance of a glorious Merc. The heavily modified front end is particularly noticeable, with wider fenders that jut forward by more than two additional inches. The car itself is 0.6 inches broader than the regular C-class.

A deck lid spoiler defines the rear, along with a multi-finned diffuser and four chromed exhaust finishers. Inside, Mercedes-AMG has fitted this compact sedan with bespoke trim and materials, including a clock with IWC branding. When it arrives, the C63 S will be available in the “Edition 1” spec, which will bring special matte-black wheels with red rims, a wheelbarrow full of blacked-out trim pieces (mirror caps, window trim, exhaust finishers, etc.), red grille and mirror accents, and matte-grey rocker stripes. Inside, the Edition 1 gets black leather seats with red diamond stitching, red seatbelts, a flat-bottom faux-suede-wrapped steering wheel with Edition 1 badging and more.
Following the excellent cars that were the C32 and C55, we can safely say that the C63 joins a line of AMG firsts to be thoroughly and comprehensively re-engineered to suit its market. Furthermore, it is unmistakable that the C63 represents a step-up by Mercedes, both in design and engineering commitment, compared with its predecessors.

While the 6.3-litre V8 engine very much remains the centrepiece of the car, it is no longer the dominant factor. Just about every other part of the C63 that moves – and plenty of things that don’t – has been redesigned and the result is a more complete car that feels entirely separate from the rest of the C-class range.

We believe the C63 is one of AMG’s finest moments to date. It has a sense of completeness to its dynamic repertoire that has fallen short on many previous Mercedes AMG products.

Apart from being shatteringly quick and beautifully made, it’s also just a thunderously good car to drive, so much so that it more than compensates for the “just okay” elements that are the ride and the range. All in all, the C63 remains an intoxicating and desirable car in any of its body styles. There’s a lot to like about a roomy and versatile estate that goes and sounds like a C63.

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