Under the Hood
The base C63 is powered by a hand-built 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine derived from the mill found under the hood of the Porsche 911-fighting GT coupe. While the GT boasts 503 horsepower in its most powerful state of tune, the V8 is tuned to generate 469 ponies between 5,500 and 6,250 rpm and 479 lb-ft. of torque from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm when it is bolted in the C63's engine bay. That's enough grunt to send the roughly 3,800-pound sedan from zero to 60 mph in four seconds flat and on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph.
More expensive, the C63 S benefits from an evolution of the twin-turbo V8 that pumps out 503 horsepower between 5,500 and 6,250 rpm and 516 lb-ft. of torque 1,750 to 4,500 rpm. The extra power lowers the C63 S' zero-to-60 time to 3.9 seconds and allows it to reach a track-worthy top speed of 180 mph.
Both engines spin the rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission that can be controlled by aluminum steering wheel-mounted shift paddles. The C63 features a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the S gains a more advanced electronic unit.
Fuel economy checks in at 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway thanks in part to a standard start/stop system.
The C63 sits noticeably lower than its more humble non-AMG counterpart thanks to an adjustable sport-tuned suspension. Upgraded brakes on all four corners help bring the action to a stop both on and off the track.
Looking the Part
Based on the fourth-generation C-Class, the C63 boasts a muscular-looking front fascia accented by a twin-slat radiator grille, a bulged hood and sizable air dams with mesh inserts. The dynamic look continues past the front end with deep side skirts, while the hot-rodded C's rear fascia gains four exhaust pipes, vertical air vents in the bumper and an air diffuser.
Engine aside, the S stands out from the regular C63 thanks to a sprinkling of gloss black trim all around, accents on the rocker panels, red brake calipers, chrome accents on the air diffuser and S-specific multi-spoke 19-inch alloy wheels.
The C63 offers seating for up to five passengers and 16.9 cubic feet of trunk space. Its muscular look is complemented by a performance-focused cockpit with sport seats for the front passengers, a meaty leather-upholstered three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel, gloss black trim on the center console and an AMG-specific instrument cluster with carbon fiber inserts. The instrument cluster includes a high-definition TFT screen that can be configured to provide vital information about the car and its surroundings.
The C63 S builds on the C63 with a steering wheel upholstered in a combination of leather and an Alcantara-like fabric called Dinamica, black ash open pore trim on the center console, an elegant analog clock and a model-specific instrument cluster with red accents.
An innovative smartphone-like touch pad located on the center console lets the front passengers control the COMAND infotainment system with simple finger gestures. Occupants can also use the touchpad to enter an address in the optional navigation system or to add a contact in the phone book.
The standard mbrace system includes a host of cloud-based goodies including a concierge service, location-based traffic and weather updates, stolen vehicle location assistance, automatic collision notification and more. Available apps add internet browsing, Google local search with street view, Yelp reviews, Facebook access and news reports. Owners can even use a purpose-designed mbrace smartphone app to remotely lock, unlock or locate their C63.
Standard and Optional features
The C63 comes standard with 18-inch alloys wrapped by summer performance tires, LED lights on both ends, power-adjustable heated front seats with a memory function, a power-adjustable steering column, auto-dimming door mirrors that are power-adjustable and heated, MB-Tex upholstery on the dashboard, seats upholstered in a combination of MB-Tex and Dinamica, a split-folding rear seat, AMG illuminated door sill covers, ambient lighting, keyless entry and start, SiriusXM Radio with a six-month trial subscription, a Burmester Surround Sound System with a DVD drive, dual-zone A/C and an integrated garage door opener.
Stepping up to the C63 S adds dynamic engine mounts, 19-inch staggered alloy wheels wrapped by summer performance tires, Nappa leather-upholstered seats and Nappa Optik upholstery on the dashboard.
Both models can be ordered with a number of option packages including the Lighting Package that adds intelligent high beam control and active LED headlights. The Multimedia Package adds COMAND with navigation, a DVD/CD player, while the Hands Free Package bundles Hands Free Comfort Access, Hands Free Trunk Access and an electronic trunk closer.
The S can be further upgraded with an AMG Carbon Ceramic Braking system that consists of 15.8-inch carbon ceramic perforated two-piece rotors and six-piston calipers up front, and 14.2-inch steel rotors gripped by floating calipers out back.
The list of standalone options includes an adjustable AMG exhaust with computer-controlled flaps, carbon fiber trim on the dashboard, carbon fiber mirror caps, a carbon fiber spoiler out back, a heads-up display, red or silver seat belts, a panoramic sunroof and parking sensors on both ends.
All C63s come standard with seven airbags, a three-stage ESP, traction control and Mercedes' Collision Prevention Assist Plus technology, which emits visual and audible warnings when the car is too close to vehicle ahead. The system provides automatic partial braking if it detects that a collision is imminent.
Rear side airbags are available at an extra cost.
The Mercedes-AMG C63's closest rival in terms of performance and price is undoubtedly the iconic BMW M3. Buyers looking for an ultra-quick and ultra-luxurious grocery-getter should also test drive the aggressive-looking Cadillac ATS-V, which packs a 455-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 engine.