As a performance machine the C 63 S Coupe certainly looks the part.
The letters “AMG” are well on their way to being a household name as just about every Mercedes-Benz platform is offered in an AMG model, sometimes even in multiple flavours. Some might argue that this AMG proliferation has watered down what those infamous letters stand for, but there’s also an argument that for every five mildly tuned crossovers wearing the badge, there’s a fire breathing performance machine that keeps the essence alive and well. Our tester here, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe, is definitely the latter.
Based on the popular C-Class platform, the top-tier C 63 S takes turns the performance dial all the way up, boasting a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that produces a whopping 503 horsepower and an even more impressive 517 lb-ft of torque at 2,000RPM. This power is fed to the rear wheels through an electronically controlled limited slip differential mated to AMG’s impressive MCT nine-speed transmission. The power is impressive, as 500 horsepower on tap would be, but what’s more impressive is how smoothly hard acceleration comes on and how well the platform handles this increased power.
The hand built AMG 4.0-liter V8 is a thing of beauty and it just sings a glorious song through the large quad exhaust tips integrated into the bumper, though if you want to be a little more reserved there is an electronic baffle system that can quiet down the rumble. The MCT nine-speed is the real star here, thanks to its lightning quick shifting and intuitive ability to simply always be in the perfect gear. It also offers the ability to drop down multiple gears at once by double tapping the paddle, a necessary function to manage nine gears.
The adaptive AMG Ride Control suspension offers multiple modes, as you would expect from a car like this, and works wonders to keep this short wheel based, wide tracked, coupé confidently under control. While my spirited street driving did little to push the suspension anywhere near its limits, it certainly feels like it’s track-ready, which is good news for the weekend warriors. As a long-distance commuter the suspension is my main complaint about the C 63 S.
Even in Comfort mode, the suspension is fairly harsh and unforgiving, which can make for a jarring ride quality, especially in the city or on well rutted highways. In Sport, Sport + or Race modes, the suspension get even tauter, for better response, but it becomes nearly unbearable to drive for more than a few minutes on anything but perfect roads. In that same vein, the large summer performance tires, in this case Michelin Pilot Sport 4S, produce almost as much road noise as grip, and Mercedes has not done enough in the sound insulating department to keep that sound from intruding the cabin at highway speeds. These complaints boil down to the fact that the C 63 S is set up for performance driving, ahead of comfort and daily livability.
As a performance machine the C 63 S Coupe certainly looks the part, the standard C-Class bodywork has been very much reimagined with wider flared fenders, unique front and rear ends and a very aggressive hunkered down stance. It all gives the car a very sculpted and athletic look. Our tester came finished in Graphite Grey Magno (matte) paint and wears both the AMG Night Package (blacked out trim) and AMG Aerodynamics Package which adds some wind tunnel tested goodies such as an AMG spoiler, deeper front splitter, and aerodynamically optimized fascia. Complimented by the optional forged matte black staggered fitment wheels, our tester looks absolutely sinister and caught tons of looks. Few cars make a statement like a blacked-out AMG, and this C 63 S really takes that to the next level.
The interior, at a glance, really impresses. It’s a striking visual design and the abundant aluminium accents tie in very well to the gorgeous (and optional) carbon fiber inlayed center stack, console and accent pieces. The optional heated and ventilated AMG performance seats with Nappa leather and grey suede accents are heavily bolstered, making them a bit tricky to get in and out of, but once you’re settled into them offer fantastic support, comfort and hold for spirited driving.
There is a large 10.25-inch center screen controlled by the console mounted touchpad and rotary dial combo, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel controlled by the buttons and touchpads on the steering wheel. Speaking of which, the AMG DINAMIC Performance steering wheel in our test car is simply a work of art and includes a rotary dial to cycle drive modes and two color coded display buttons which can be configured to control the various individual AMG configurations such as exhaust tone and suspension setup.
Spending more and more time in the C 63 S though, I did begin to notice a few short comings from a finishings standpoint in the interior. The headliner is a simple black microfiber material, which feels sort of cheap for a car of this caliber, and while any of the frequent touch panels are wrapped in a soft leather, panels that are typically not touch like the dashboard and tops of the door panels are done in a simulated leather than does not have the same luxury as the rest of the space.
That said, the car does offer some features I didn’t necessarily expect, such as a large panoramic sunroof, fantastic ambient lighting with 64 different color options and a banging 590-watt Burmester 13-speaker sound system with beautifully detailed aluminium speaker grilles. Up front, there is plenty of handy storage in the generous center console and deep door pockets, and the trunk is surprisingly spacious, more than enough to handle our family’s weekly grocery run.
You may not buy a AMG like this for practicality, but it sure is nice to have in a pinch, and opens up more opportunities to use the car, rather than have it sit in the garage. Fuel economy is another practical high point. We took the car on a fairly length highway run and averaged a very favorable 9.8L/100km with a reasonably light foot. Even after a week of driving, and a little bit of heavy right foot usage to evaluate what the AMG had to offer, we ended the week with an average consumption of 11.0L/100km, extremely impressive for a track-machine like this with over 500 horsepower to play with.
Now, cars of this caliber also don’t exactly come cheap and the C 63 S is no exception. The base price is $86,200 and it quickly gets up over six-figures when you start checking option boxes. Our tester got the Technology Package ($1,900) which upgrades the headlamps to Multibeam LEDs and adds the 12.3” digital gauge cluster. The AMG Night Package ($1000), and the AMG Aerodynamics package ($1,500); plus the matte paint ($2,500) and the forged wheels ($2,000) totaled $8,900 in exterior options alone. Inside, our car got the AMG Performance seats ($2,300) and the AMG DIMANICA steering wheel ($650), heads up display ($1,500) and the must-have Premium Package ($5000) which adds a bunch of practically necessary tech like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, the larger center screen, Burmester sound, touchpad controller, etc.
Finally, a lot of the electronic driving/safety aids are added through the Intelligent Drive package ($2,700). In total, the cost of our test car came out to $109,250, and one could keep adding options to push this over the $120,000 mark if you wanted to. Truthfully though, even though this sounds like a lot of money (because it is) the pricing is right in line with competitors such as the BMW M4 Competition and Audi RS5.
I think it’s fair to say that the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe is a proper German rocket and upholds the legendary AMG moniker to the heights it deserves. It’s not a car for everyone given its compromised comfort, but if you’re looking for a raw and authentic driver’s car backed by the latest tech and unmistakable style, the C 63 S is a difficult contender to ignore.