BERLIN: The Mercedes-AMG C63 is a deeply desirable, beautifully made and significantly redeveloped performance saloon that should almost be considered a totally separate model, rather than, simply, a faster, more powerful C-Class. Rivals such as the Audi RS4 and BMW M3 may offer more dynamic precision, but this is one hugely characterful brute that has an altogether more rebellious charm.
The loudest, fastest and most powerful version of the Mercedes C-Class. AMG is to Mercedes-Benz what M Division is to BMW, so the C63 takes Merc’s mid-sized saloon as its foundation and goes to town with bespoke bodywork, wider tracks, unique springs and dampers, plus a hand-built, 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that’s both more powerful (469bhp vs 457bhp) and more efficient (34.5mpg vs 23.5mpg) than the original car’s naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8.
For this second-generation C63, customers also have the option of ordering a more hardcore C63 S version. For an additional £6,750, it adds 19-inch alloys, upgraded 390mm front discs (replacing the 360mm front discs on base cars), dynamic engine mounts, electronic rather than standard mechanical limited slip differential, AMG Performance seats and a power hike to 503bhp. Carbon ceramic discs are a £4,285 option, too.
Looks can be deceiving. Even in polar white and dressed with 18-inch alloys, quad pipes and a bonnet featuring twin power domes, the Mercedes-AMG C63 is, surprisingly, less German Touring Car race spec and more “we’re all in this together” austere. That is until you wake the thing. Push the starter button and curtains will twitch, window panes will rattle in their rusty metal casings and petrolheads will gravitate to one of the most angry timbres any modern production car can offer. Think Jaguar F-Type throaty, but with more bass.
Performance is equally astonishing. If you can stop the rear wheels from breaking traction in second or third of the automatic ‘box’s seven gears, the 0-62mph sprint takes just 4.1secs (4.0 seconds in the S), the lag-free V8 confirming that a performance marque built on natural aspiration is now going to enjoy a pretty successful future developing turbos. And all this in a car as beautifully appointed as a baby S-Class, with a 480-litre boot and space in the back for three adults.
Body movement is well controlled and the steering is a vast improvement over the standard C-Class saloon, maintaining a weighty electro-mechanical setup, but losing the variable-rate rack that robs confidence. That said, there are some downsides to having a saloon that doubles as a sledgehammer: the ride quality is car-sick firm for rear passengers, even when the adaptive dampers are in the softest Comfort setting, and the real world fuel economy isn’t anywhere near the claimed 34.5mpg. Budget for 20mpg and you’ll feel less peaky.
Should I get one?
If you like stealth-wealth cars that disguise their devastating potential under a cloak of practicality and live with some very sympathetic (or deaf) neighbours, then the Mercedes-AMG C63 is a daily driver that cannot help put a child-like grin on your face with its sheer excess.