Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

You don’t need to actually drive it to realise just how explosive Mercedes-AMG C63 performance actually is – the specification sheet tells you all you need to know. Both models use the same engine and transmission, though the S model adds more power and torque and subsequently improves on the benchmark performance times.


C63


Like all AMGs that have come before it, and are sold concurrently, the engine found under the double power-domed bonnet is hand built by one person in AMG’s Affalterbach facility. There’s even a signed plaque atop the engine to remind you just which person was responsible for slotting-in your pistons.

It is a new engine for the firm, replacing the much-loved 6.2 naturally-aspirated V8 found in the previous model, though the new Mercedes-AMG GT sportscar shares the same basic unit. Here in the C63 this 4-litre twin-turbo V8 produces 469bhp and 650Nm of torque, each available from 5,500rpm and 1,750rpm respectively. What the spec sheet doesn’t convey is the sheer flexibility of the engine, that torque figure ensuring that for each corner you attack you can select a gear at least one, if not two, ratios higher than you initially expect.

Off the line the standard C63 saloon will crack the benchmark 0-62mph acceleration test in just 4.1 seconds, the estate taking just one tenth longer and the coupe the quickest of the three in four seconds flat. As you’d expect all are limited to 155mph as per most other German performance models, though the optionally available AMG Driver’s Pack increases this to 180mph.

Even at low speeds the quad exhaust outlets burble away, and when accelerating hard a butterfly valve at the front of the exhaust improves the rumble further. Selecting the C63’s more aggressive Sport or Sport + modes from the AMG Dynamic Select function adds the odd pop and crackle on the overrun too, though it’s the optionally available adjustable exhaust with its extra pair of valves at the rear of the system that impresses most.

If you want your C63 with added drama, it’s a must-have.


C63 S


As if the ‘regular’ C63 isn’t fast enough the S model adds extra power and torque – 34bhp and 50Nm, taking headline numbers to 503bhp and 700Nm – to the mix. The extra urge propels the C63 S down the road one tenth quicker for the 0-62mph dash and barely affects fuel economy or CO2 figures.

From the driver’s seat the standard C63 already feels plenty fast enough – not many will wish for the extra performance should they be lucky enough to own one – but this S definitely feels a shade more urgent.

It’s only the S that gets the new Race Mode too, which sharpens engine and transmission responses to their highest, increasing engine idle speed and cancelling the start/stop system to ensure the best performance available is there when you require it.


AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic gearbox


Regardless of which C63 you choose all come with the firm’s famed seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, with paddle shifters – pleasingly made from real metal – nestled just behind the steering wheel. At lower speeds its docile and smooth, ramping up its rate of change as you increase your performance requests (or altering the driving mode) and providing quick, intuitive double-declutched downshifts on tight twisting back roads.

The new C63 may look just like a regular Mercedes C-Class, but underneath the skin it’s dramatically different – and all for the better.

A wider track with four-link front suspension and bespoke steering arms compliments specially tuned dampers – which operate with three pre-selectable modes – and the C63 comes with a mechanical locking differential as standard. Combined with the 245/40R18 front and 265/40R18 rear tyres this generates massive levels of grip, the differential providing maximum cornering stability on the road.

It certainly feels more stable and less rear-driven than some of its rivals, and the three-stage Electronic Stability Control system cuts in far less than you might expect it to – in the dry at least. When it does there’s no sudden loss of power or braking application, the subtle flash of the orange traction control light in the instrument cluster often the only clue to its intervention.

Selecting the Sport mode from the ESP system allows the driver to explore the limits of the chassis and slightly beyond before the car calls time, and though you’ll never generate tyre smoke you can enjoy some mild oversteer – the rear of the car pushing wide as you corner.

Turning it off completely is a vastly different prospect, meaning the only thing holding the 650Nm back from delaminating your rear rubber on the tarmac is your right foot. All credit to the fine-tuning this car has received though, as the throttle calibration and feedback through the wheel and chassis mean you’re never surprised by any sudden snaps of oversteer. The steering is substantially weighted and offers enough feedback to keep you informed of its actions.

It’s certainly one of the best balanced rear-wheel drive sports saloons we’ve ever experienced with a progressive change from mild understeer to lurid oversteer, all down to your right foot.

Should it all go wrong the 360mm brakes (front and rear) provide ample stopping power, while a 390mm front upgrade is available – as is a carbon ceramic set, which may seem expensive at over £4,000 but are expected to last the lifetime of the car. Keep your C63 for a decade and they may actually work out cheaper than ten years of standard replacements.

Choose the C63 S and there’s a couple of other benefits to the handling; as standard that car comes with dynamic engine mounts, which lessen the movement of the block under fast cornering, as well as upgraded front brakes (390mm versus 360mm), 19-inch wheels and an electronic rear differential. The latter reacts faster and more sensitively than the mechanical item, allowing far greater exploration of the car’s handling abilities. Standard AMG performance seats on the S, with deeper bolstering ensure you’re held in place better when doing so.