We review the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe

We review the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe
111
Enlarge

The Car.co.uk verdict:

4.3

There’s always been something special about the Mercedes-AMG C63 cars. On paper, they might just look like a big-power engine sitting in a C-Class body, but in reality, they’re so much more. This C63 S Coupe is a weaponised C-Class. Everything about it is meaner and more powerful than the car it’s based on, in fact, it’s even a bit meaner and more powerful than the RS and M cars it shares a class with.

If you look hard, there are a few imperfections with this latest incarnation of the C63 S – but they don’t even enter your mind when you’re driving. The Mercedes-AMG C63 S is better than ever – and you’ll run out of bravery long before it runs out of power and noise.

Pros

  • Engine noise and pulling power is virtually unrivalled in class
  • Fantastic drive configuration settings adapt the car to your ability
  • New 9-speed gearbox is unbelievably quick and smooth

Cons

  • It’s a shame white is the only cost-free colour option
  • Steering can feel a little light and disconnected at times
  • Infotainment system isn’t up to the same standard as that of the A-Class

At a glance

  • Looks
  • Practicality
  • Engine & power
  • Reliability
  • Equipment & options
  • Interior
  • The drive
  • Cost
  • Safety
  • Why buy

Looks

4.5 out of 5

The C63 S Coupe is a stunning car – from every angle 

You’ll need a keen eye to spot most of the changes Mercedes-AMG has ushered in for the C63 S Coupe – but that’s a good thing, because these are just a few make-up adjustments on what is already a drop-dead gorgeous car. 

The most significant alteration is the redesigned front grille – the previously horizontal design has been replaced by vertical chrome bars that - rather appropriately - look like they should be holding-in a dangerous caged animal. Either side of the new grille, you’ll find new all-LED headlights – and beneath, the bumper is slightly deeper with slightly tweaked intakes to channel air in and around the C63 Coupe.

If you’re not already familiar with previous versions of the C63 S Coupe, you’re in for a treat when you get closely acquainted. Compared to the standard C-Class, you’ll find more aggressive bumpers front and rear, beautifully flared arches that are home to either 19-inch or 20-inch alloys, 4 exhausts – and, if your options budget allows for it, a host of carbon fibre additions. 

The only minor grumble about the look of the car would really relate to the colour. As standard, you can have any colour you want – as long as it’s Polar White. Fancy the deep black you’ve seen in promo shots? Or grey for that battleship look? They’re all going to cost extra. Not the end of the world on a car of this price, but it does mean most people will be spending more to make their C63 S perfect.

Practicality

3.5 out of 5

Perfect for 1 or 2 people, but back seat passengers will be cramped

The Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe’s dimensions mean practicality is fairly limited – but, since this car’s available as a saloon or estate, you’re probably not overly concerned that this coupe is a bit tighter for backseat passengers or luggage. That said, there’s even less space in this AMG version compared to the standard C-Class Coupe – so be careful not to base your purchase around the standard car’s capacity.

It’s usually safe to write-off the backseats in a performance coupe as being simply for show – or for young children, but you can squeeze a couple of adults into the C63 S Coupe, although you wouldn’t want to be in there for a big journey. 

There’s plenty of space up front in the C63 S, so you won’t struggle for headroom, and there’s loads of adjustment in the seats to keep everyone comfortable for long distances. All told, this is a very useable coupe. It’s not quite as big as the BMW M4, but for a brisk commute or a weekend away for two people, it’ll do the job perfectly.

Engine & power

4.5 out of 5

503bhp – delivered through a lightning-fast 9-speed auto ‘box 

Lift the bonnet on your new C63 S, and you’ll find a beautiful 4-litre V8 twin-turbo powerplant that’s good for both 503bhp and 700nm of torque. This colossal power will launch the car to 60mph in 3.9-seconds – and the top speed is electronically limited at 180mph. Facts and figures aside, this engine sounds like a dream come true; this is a car you’ll be starting with the windows down – and no one could blame you for actively seeking tunnels just to hear that noise coming back at you. 

The pre-facelift AMG C63 S Coupe had a 7-speed gearbox that seemed perfectly matched to the engine – but, Mercedes-AMG has decided it wasn’t quite sharp enough, so this new version sports a 9-speed multi-clutch transmission instead, making changes even quicker. The system employs a wet start-off clutch in an effort to reduce weight and pare down the reaction time of the full system.

An electronic limited-slip differential comes as standard on the C63 S Coupe to make sure every ounce of power is heading in the right direction when you plant your foot out of a corner – and different performance modes in the car even dictate how much play there is in the engine mounts; reducing movement (and therefore comfort) when you need all that torque to translate to forward motion.

In very real terms, this engine and drivetrain is simply magnificent German engineering. It’s got bags and bags of power, and it feels like every bit of that power is instantly under your foot when you press the accelerator.

Reliability

4 out of 5

A high-performance car with a great reliability record 

Generally speaking, you won’t find reliability data for many 400bhp V8 twin-turbo monsters – and it’s just down to the fact that there aren’t enough of them on the road to paint an accurate reliability picture. While this is the case with the C63 S Coupe, the car that it’s based on – the C-Class – does feature, and it does well across a number of industry studies.

Engine, ride quality, gearbox, handling, interior, and external trim are all rated highly by owners – so you can be sure that the AMG treatment will at least keep this the same, if not improve it even further. Should you run into any problems, Mercedes offer a 3-year, unlimited mileage warranty to get you back on track.

Equipment & options

4 out of 5

Masses of onboard equipment – and plenty of options for your C63 S Coupe

Your Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe will be very generously spec’d; even before you’ve done some expensive clicking in the options list. In the already premium interior, you’ve got a full ambient light package, auto-dimming mirrors, electric folding mirrors, and dual-zone climate control to keep you and your passenger happy. For audio entertainment, top-end German hi-fi company Burmester provide some exceptional speakers – easily on par with top-end Bose and B&O systems found in other brands.

An intelligent cruise control system will tie in with an optional driving assistance package to make motorway driving completely stress-free – and parking is equally stress-free thanks to an assistance system that makes getting into a space virtually autonomous. You’ll also get a reversing camera that’ll help to make sure that expensive looking rear diffuser stays in one piece if you decide to park yourself. 

If you’re not a fan of white cars, you can upgrade to a metallic colour for an extra £685, or, if you want the very purposeful Iridium Silver Magno finish, you’ll have to dip into your pocket for an extra £1,795. There are a handful of wheel options too – starting from £1,700 and going up from there as you get into the 20-inch lightweight choices. You’re in control of your interior’s design too – Mercedes lets you pick from plain black nappa leather or mix that black with ‘white pearl’ or ‘red pepper’ should you wish to liven things up – all for no extra cost.

The priciest addition you can make to your C63 S is the AMG high-performance ceramic composite braking system; adding an extra £4,285 to the list price of your Coupe. The standard brakes are superb – but if you feel like you might benefit from a little bit of extra power – or you’re likely to be driving in a way that’ll cause standard steel brakes to fade, then the ceramic option is money well spent.

Interior

4.5 out of 5

A series of interior tweaks keep the C 63 S in line with the best in class

If you climb into the C 63 S Coupe as a driver, the first thing you’ll notice is the upgraded steering wheel compared to last generation C-Classes. It’s a complicated looking affair that involves a fair amount of configuration adjustment (more on that later) – but from a purely interior point of view, it’s a very nice unit that’s again wrapped in nappa leather and puts most of your important controls at your fingertips. 

Behind the wheel, you’ve got a digital display cluster that can be customised to show you a world of drive information – and, perched neatly in the centre of the dash is a wide-screen infotainment system. If you’ve read our A-Class review, you’ll have every right to be excited about the Mercedes Assistant and augmented-reality sat nav system that’s hiding in here – but, we’re sorry to tell you that for reasons unknown, Mercedes-AMG has decided to put the previous generation system in here – so the best kit, in this case, is reserved for A-Class customers.  

Still, there’s nothing to be down about, you’re wrapped up in some of the best nappa leather coated AMG seats you could wish for – and this new car even has electronically adjustable bolster controls, so you can get those seats to squeeze you nice and tight while you get over the disappointment about the infotainment system.

It’s personal choice of course, but we’d say the C63 S interior trumps that of the Audi RS4 – especially because of the big sweeping expanse of black oak or carbon that blends the centre-console into the dash. Whether you agree about the RS4 or not, there’s no doubting that the Mercedes-AMG well surpassed BMW’s efforts with the M4.   

The drive

4.5 out of 5

Mercedes-AMG let you choose how much freedom you give this monster

Let’s be absolutely clear about one thing; the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe is a beast – and, driving it, you’ll never forget that. The V8 growls at you constantly, and, unlike the slightly more well-behaved and manageable RS4 and RS5, hovering your foot over the accelerator always has the feels like you’re swing open the cage of a very hungry lion.

As the 3.9-second 0-60mph time suggests, taking off in the C63 S Coupe is awesome; blink, and you’re flying. The new 9-speed ‘box changes in a tiny fraction of a second, and masses of torque is available even low down the rev-count, so you feel like you’ll never run out of power as you noisily rocket your way toward that 180mph top speed. 

When you do swing the door to the lion enclosure open, the AMG Dynamics programme helps to keep you safe. The 2 new dials on the steering wheel give you control over driving modes. You can use the dials and buttons to choose different drive and suspension settings – as well as being able to turn off the electronic stability control. If you do, you then unlock another menu; which lets you adjust how much help you get from the traction control system. Clearly, you can shut this off completely – but do so with caution, because the back end of the C63 S Coupe is more than happy to run away from you if you’re anything but smooth with your power delivery. 

The only thing that’s a slight disappointment with the C 63 S is the feel you get through the steering wheel. You always feel like you’re in full control of the car – it’s just surprisingly light, and that can lead to a slight feeling of being disconnected as you apply pressure into a bend. It’s not enough to really detract from the experience of driving the Mercedes-AMG though, so if you like your cars with insane amounts of power and noise, you’re going to be head-over-heels in love with your C63 S.

Cost

4.5 out of 5

Costlier than its rivals – but your extra spend gets you a lot of character

The Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe’s price tag is a fairly hefty £67,000 – and that’s before you choose a fancy colour and add carbon ceramic brakes. This makes the C63 S a more costly option than either of its main rivals; the BMW M4 and the Audi RS5 – so, where does your extra money go?

Displacement is the first answer. The Audi and the BMW come with twin-turbo 2.9-litre and 3-litre engines respectively, the RS5 in V8 configuration, and the M4 as a straight-6. Both sound good – but there’s a little extra noise from the C63 S – as well as around 65bhp extra power too. 

The M4 is a wonderful car and endlessly agile, but it doesn’t share the same driving joy that you get from the Mercedes. The same might be said of the RS5 too – it’s a gutsy and goes well when pushed, but you never really get the same sense of anticipation driving it; almost like Audi have done too good a job of making it a refined daily driver. 

If it’s not too abstract an idea, it’s probably reasonable to say that the extra spend involved with the Mercedes-AMG is spent on its soul. When all the parts come together, you get a really special end result. The C63 S is a genuinely exciting car to drive – and you feel like you’re playing with the settings on a racing game as you tweak your drive configuration. When you drive the M4 or the RS5 for a while, you’ll get used to the power – but with the C63 S, it’ll never fail to send your adrenaline levels soaring and keep you engaged. More costly than the rest of the class? Yes. Better value for a soaring V8 that you’ll never get bored of listening to? Definitely.

Safety

5 out of 5

A full 5-star Euro NCAP rating and plenty of safety kit onboard

In much the same way that reliability can be tricky to gauge when production numbers are low, safety is often also hard to get an accurate bead on – since very few high-performance cars are tested to destruction at the Euro NCAP safety facilities. Once again though, the C-Class that forms the basis for the C 63 S Coupe has been tested – and it performs excellently. 

92% adult occupant safety and 84% child occupant safety are excellent scores – with 77% pedestrian safety, and 70% safety assist both very good too. Safety assist scores are based around the onboard safety equipment that comes with the car – and, with the C63 S Coupe, there’s plenty of it. 

Driver alertness warnings and auto-braking come as standard, and, if safety is high on your priority list, there’s an optional package that’ll adjust your steering to help you keep in lane – and warn you if you’re about to pull out with a car in your blind spot too. Naturally, there’s the previously mentioned stability and drive control programmes constantly working in the background too – so even if you do run out of talent in the C63 S, there’s plenty of intelligent software that’ll help make up for it.

If you do find yourself involved in an accident, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system will automatically trigger an emergency call from a SIM that’s integrated into the car. Since seconds often matter when there’s a serious road traffic collision, it’s nice to know your car is working for you.

Why buy

4.5 out of 5

The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe is better than ever

It’s difficult not to grin when you’re driving the new C63 S. A combination of driving noise, adjustable performance settings, and sheer neck-snapping pull is just a dream to experience. At heart of it all is the twin-turbo V8. It might not have the insane displacement that previous 6.2-litre naturally aspirated units had, but it’s still absolutely brimming with character – and you can’t wait to get back to the car to wake it up again and listen to it come to life.

The C 63 has always been a fantastic car, but this latest version just seems to make the right tweaks in the right places to make the S Coupe even better again. The new steering wheel feels great, the new seat adjustments are perfect, that new grille adds just a tiny bit more menace, and the 9-speed gearbox is just magic.

It all adds up – and when it does, the result is just a touch classier and meaner than any other rival. Make sure you drive a C 63 S before you commit to buying an M4 and RS5, because, having driven and heard them all, we can say without doubt that this is the car that inspires the most envy when it roars past you.