C-Class Hot Rod
There’s no two ways about it, the Mercedes C63 is a take-no-prisoners sports sedan. Stomp on the gas, and it will rush you up to 60 in just four seconds. The C63 is Mercedes’ answer to the BMW M3.
The C63 is the handiwork of Mercedes’ AMG division, which takes ordinary Mercedes vehicles, and hot-rods them. In the case of the C63, the AMG speed merchants began with a standard C-Class compact sedan, and made a host of changes. They started by reconfiguring the C’s engine bay, and installing a 6.3-liter V-8. The eight-cylinder motor pumps out 451 hp and 433-lb-ft. of torque. Surprisingly, this engine weighs only 70 lbs. more than the Mercedes 3.5-liter V-6.
But the AMG guys didn’t stop there. They also firmed up the suspension, tightened the steering and added bigger brakes. The front track is 1.4 inches wider, and big 18-inch wheels, fitted with high-performance tires, enhance this car’s handling.
The sheet metal also came in for some modification. The C63 sports power bulges on the hood, flared out wheel wells and a more aggressive front bumper. They also added ground-hugging side sills and a rear deck spoiler. All these combine to add visual muscle to the more sedate C-Class body.
On the inside, the changes are more modest. The most impressive amongst them are the AMG sport-bucket seats. These seats are highly bolstered, but will be a tight fit for anyone broad of beam. My test car’s seats were nicely finished in leather, but surprisingly, leather is not standard. A flat-bottom steering wheel, sport gauges and metal-faced floor pedals further define the C63 as an AMG car.
Those looking for luxury in the C63 may be disappointed. The cabin is all business, and there are not a lot of standard creature comforts. Automatic air conditioning, a moonroof and power seats are about it. In fact, the dash, with its dull pebble-grain finish looks rather humble. The cabin is a bit tight, and adults in the rear will surely feel cramped.
Out on the road, the C63 has the guts of a street fighter. When you hit the gas hard, it emits a hellacious growl and pins you to the back of your seat. The acceleration will take your breath away. A seven-speed automatic, with steering wheel paddle shifters, delivers power to the rear wheels. Drivers can adjust the sharpness of the shifting in there stages by pushing a button on the center console.
The C63 not only goes fast it handles well too. Take it out on a curvy road, and it will do whatever you ask of it without breaking a sweat. The steering in this AMG sedan is so quick that it requires only a slight movement of the wheel to change direction. Yet, the steering is speed sensitive, so it always feels properly weighted. The taut suspension enables the C63 to nearly corner flat, so body lean is almost non-existent. The hefty brakes also do their part by delivering short and straight stops.
But if the C63 has a drawback, it’s the ride quality. It is firm to the point of harshness. On smooth freeways it is compliant enough, but around town, it feels like a buckboard. And on a rough road, it will rattle your teeth. But I suspect that buyers of the C63 will consider the ultra-firm ride a reasonable tradeoff for its outstanding handling.
The base price for the C63 is $60,325, including Gas Guzzler tax. With options like leather, xenon headlamps and the Tele Aide communications system, the bottom line on my test car read $66,500.
Sports Car Handling
Ultra Firm Ride