If you do not know what you are on the lookout for, this black 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63 S sedan does not look way more particular than your common C Class. In an age the place its opponents develop an increasing number of aggressively styled, Merc has determined to maintain its most hardcore C sedan wanting pretty understated. It is a transfer that appears to say, “this automobile is for me, not the gawkers at curbside.” I dig that.
However in the identical method fashionista can see the delicate variations between an off-the-rack go well with and a tailor-made designer label, lovers will instantly know the distinction between this handcrafted AMG and the C300 parked close by. They are going to acknowledge the distinctive entrance and rear bumper, the “V8 Biturbo” badges and 19-inch wheels that fill the arches. They’re going to see the marginally extra athletic experience top and listen to the exhaust’s burble and know that this automobile is one thing particular.
Let’s begin by diving proper into the engine bay the place you may discover a hand-built and signed Four.Zero-liter biturbo V8 AMG engine on show. There’s little or no in the way in which of plastic engine cowl right here, and you’ll see the “scorching inside V” turbochargers plainly between the 2 cylinder banks. The C63 makes 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, however our C63 S has been massaged and re-tuned to ship 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from the identical energy plant.
That juice flows to the rear wheels by means of a 7-speed multiclutch computerized transmission (MCT). This gearbox operates largely like a traditional computerized transmission however makes use of a moist startup clutch as an alternative of a torque converter for improved efficiency and effectivity. The benefit is that it could fireplace off Zero.1-second upshifts and rev-matched downshifts in its handbook mode, launch more durable than a torque converter computerized might and deal with extra torque than a dual-clutch transmission.
The motive force controls the perspective of the C63 S and its AMG coronary heart with a Dynamic Choose wheel on the middle console which toggles between Consolation, Sport, Sport+ and Race modes. Every setting adjusts the efficiency of the throttle response, transmission programming, suspension damper firmness, and traction management. Our instance was additionally geared up with an AMG Efficiency exhaust that will get louder and fewer restrictive within the Sport and Race modes. In fact, every of those methods will also be individually adjusted with buttons additionally discovered on the middle console.
Beneath the subdued look is a suspension that is firmer, a wheel monitor that is wider for higher stability in turns and tires which might be wider and stickier than these on non-AMG C Class fashions.
Zero-to-60 mph occurs in simply three.9 seconds for the C63 S (or Four.Zero within the C63) with a high pace of 180 mph (simply 155 for the C63). Aiding drivers in reaching these occasions is a Race Begin launch management system that is virtually too straightforward to activate. Simply put the automobile into Sport+ or Race mode and seize each paddles shifters for a second to activate Race Begin. Then simply plant the brake pedal, matt the throttle and launch the brake for optimum acceleration.
500-plus ponies on the rear wheels on damp and twisty roads may be scary in a automobile just like the Shelby GT350, however the C63 S is not scary in any respect. It goes in regards to the matter of pace in a most business-like method with tons of grip, glorious steering really feel that is by no means too busy and throttle responsiveness and energy supply that by no means appears to let up. There is a improbable roar that comes from the exhaust, however not one of the crackle and pop that you simply’d get from, say, Jaguar’s 5.Zero-liter V8. The C63 S is a critical automobile for critical drivers. That is the form of automobile that makes whipping up a mountain street at virtually double the pace restrict really feel like simply one other day on the workplace.
That is to not say it could’t minimize free and have a little bit of enjoyable, simply that the game sedan’s efficiency limits are so beneficiant that it takes a deliberate effort to, say, break the rear wheels a bit free in a nook and ideally the security of a race monitor to push the C63 S to lose its composure. Luckily, AMG has seen match to equip the sedan with huge 14.2 inch efficiency disc brakes all-around — and bigger 15.Four-inch entrance stoppers on the C63 S — which ought to be capable of deal with the calls for of closed-course driving.
Nevertheless, most of my days with the C63 S have been spent round city and in commuter site visitors.
The C Class chassis additionally makes for a really comfy day by day driver; simply pop its Dynamic Choose swap into the Consolation mode and really feel the AMG Trip Management suspension settle into its softest setting, the elective AMG Efficiency exhaust settle down, and the 7-speed computerized transmission chill out. The V8 biturbo engine, which may be fairly ferocious at pace, nonetheless feels effortlessly athletic on the interstate. The sedan prowled the busy streets round Roadshow’s San Francisco HQ like a lion on a stroll, with its deep growl hinting at its energy.
You may in all probability need to disable the stop-start system beneath most circumstances. The system stops the engine when idling — say, at a site visitors mild — to save lots of gas. And whereas it fires the engine up immediately after I lifted from the brake pedal, it appeared to take ages to truly re-engage the transmission and begin delivering energy after I reached the fuel pedal. I get the sensation that Mercedes has smoothed over the MCT’s engagement to maintain the V8 from jerking the sedan through the stop-to-start transition, but it surely largely simply left me with an inconsistent accelerator pedal really feel round city. Luckily, the system is straightforward to toggle off with only a single button press.
Pushed in a relaxed method, the C63 S will ship 20 mixed mpg (or 18 metropolis and 24 freeway mpg) which is on par with the likes of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the BMW M3 which use smaller 2.9L and three.0L turbocharged V6 engines, respectively.
COMAND cabin tech
Alongside the way in which, I used to be handled to a nicely appointed cabin with with black Nappa leather-based trim, an AMG carbon-fiber dashboard, silver metallic accents and beautiful saddle brown quilted Nappa leather-based seats. The outside design is extraordinarily understated, however the inside of the C63 S simply pops in the very best methods.
Now that is “only a C Class” and its AMG sport focus considerably limits the creature comforts obtainable, so do not count on therapeutic massage seats. Nevertheless, I used to be happy to seek out Benz’s colour ambient lighting and cabin perfume methods on the choices record, in addition to a bunch of extra helpful creature comforts like hands-free trunk entry with energy closing and a tasty Burmester premium audio system that appears virtually nearly as good because it sounds.
The dashboard is the place I begin to run into a number of hangups. The C Class continues to make use of an older technology of Benz’s COMAND infotainment. I’ve a variety of points with this method: My greatest gripe is with the awkward three-tier menu system on each display that’s complicated to make use of, poorly organized and makes even the big eight.Four-inch show appear cramped and cluttered. I am additionally not an enormous fan of the COMAND touchpad controller, which by no means actually felt pure.
The voice command is sort of good, permitting me to make use of pretty pure language to enter addresses or locations, and the onboard maps are rapidly and crisply rendered. The “Dynamic Route Steerage” navigation would typically ship me right into a floor street site visitors jam whereas making an attempt to keep away from freeway congestion, but it surely’s no worse than most OEM site visitors software program.
Largely, although, I discovered it disappointing to return to utilizing this setup after experiencing the much-improved newer technology discovered within the S Class and the upcoming MBUX system at CES this 12 months. I am undecided when the C Class is due for its subsequent refresh, however I am hoping we see higher tech as a part of a midcycle improve earlier than the subsequent technology, which will not be right here till 2021 if earlier generations are any indicator.
One closing cabin tech oddity is certainly one of packaging. You may get the C63 with both the aforementioned navigation system (a $2,200 bundle) or examine a special field to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity for $300, but it surely does not seem you could have each. It is a bizarre option to must make, particularly in households the place one driver loves smartphone integration and the opposite simply needs to make use of onboard maps, however I feel the less-expensive choice is the higher selection for this technology.
Driver assist and security methods
This AMG model of the C Class does not commerce any of its obtainable security tech within the pursuit of efficiency. You possibly can nonetheless spec the entire driver assist options obtainable to the sedan starting from the AMG head-up show to the wealth of superior driver assist methods (ADAS).
The usual loadout contains lively LED headlamps with computerized excessive beams, driver-attention monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, rear-view digicam, crosswind help and precollision alert methods, however a single $2,250 Driver Help Bundle provides many of the obtainable ADAS in a single go. It is a dear bundle, but it surely completely transforms the day by day driving expertise with options that increase security like pedestrian-sensing ahead collision alert with computerized braking, a rear-collision security system, lane-keeping help steering and extra. The blind-spot monitoring system will get smarter with steering help to keep away from collisions and rear cross-traffic braking help when reversing.
The bundle additionally makes commuting simpler and extra enjoyable with adaptive cruise management that works on the freeway and in stop-and-go site visitors with low-speed steering help.
One other $1,Zero90 checkbox provides a surround-view digicam system and Benz’s Parktronic semi-autonomous parking help, which may routinely steer the automobile right into a parallel parking spot on the contact of a button. Mercedes’ interface for this method is not as intuitive as I would like, but it surely’s a worthy addition for nervous parkers and concrete dwellers who need to keep away from curb-rashing these $1,250 19-inch AMG cast wheels.
The whole bundle
The 469-horsepower 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63 Sedan begins at $66,100, whereas the stronger 503-horsepower AMG C63 S Sedan goes for $73,700 earlier than a $995 vacation spot cost. With choices and packages, our instance had an as-tested value of $90,500.
Too wealthy in your blood? Nicely, Benz additionally gives the nonetheless fairly candy 362-horsepower C43 sedan, however for the cash, the C63 S is a fairly superior experience. It is highly effective and composed beneath stress, but in addition comfy and enjoyable on a commute. The outside design might be probably the most understated in its class, which is a robust constructive for these weary of overly aggressive designs like that of the Lexus IS-F. And it is a good automobile that may be loaded up with clever driver assist tech. If not for the irritating dashboard tech, which simply needs to be up to date quickly, and the awkward stop-start fuel-saver system, the C63 S could be a near-perfect sport sedan.
Nevertheless it’s not alone on the high. BMW’s M3 sedan is probably the C63’s most fierce rival providing a barely totally different, extra nimble efficiency and luxury steadiness. Cadillac’s ATS-V can be a favourite suggestion of mine for drivers extra involved with lap occasions than commuter consolation. In the meantime, upstarts just like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and (do not giggle) Kia’s