Mercedes-amg C63 S Coupé Speedshift-mct
AMG has tweaked its C63 derivatives as Mercedes-benz’s C-class range reaches the halfway mark in its lifecycle
IT’S the perfect setting: a sequence of winding country roads, glistening blue skies and the characterful sound of a rumbling twin-turbo 4,0-litre V8 from the facelifted Mercedes AMG C63 S Coupé. Thankfully, the roads are quiet and free of traffic, which means there’s enough space and time for me to stretch the legs of the latest model to emerge from the hallowed halls of Affalterbach.
Along with the rest of the C-class range, the C63 performance derivatives have also received a mid-cycle revision, with some small changes to both the exterior and mechanicals which make a fairly substantive difference to the vehicle’s looks and abilities, if this C63 S Coupé is any indication.
The most notable visual difference is the Panamericana grille first introduced on the current AMG GT and this, together with a revised front bumper and a slightly remodelled rear with larger exhaust tailpipes, gives this C63 S Coupé a more muscular presence. The LED head- and taillamps have also been remodelled, although you’d have to be something of an AMG spotter to notice the difference.
Changes inside are equally understated, with the biggest difference coming in the shape of a new steering wheel adorned with the haptic switches from the latest Benz models. On the righthand spoke, you’ll also find a rotary switch for the driving modes (it doubles as a controller for the new nine-step traction system straight from the GT R), while the active damping and exhaust note can be manipu-
lated using buttons on the left. The new switches and their integrated LCDS look good, are ergonomically pleasing to use and do a fine job of making the driver feel like they’re at the helm of a proper sportscar.
While the facelifted C-class doesn’t get Mercedes-benz’s impressive new MBUX multimedia infotainment system and instrument display panel from the A-class, it does have an updated infotainment system. With customisable layouts, it complements the optional digital cockpit; handy if you’re the type who prefers a tailored information display.
Somewhat ironically, while the visual clues may suggest the updated car is more aggressive than its predecessor, the mechanical changes have made it a more forgiving vehicle to drive. While the engine and its outputs remain the same, under the hood the revisions include a new nine-speed transmission, updated electronic limited-slip differential, adaptive suspension and electronic stability control. And the result is a vehicle noticeably easier to drive. Whereas the previous car could be a little leery through the corners, this version feels a little less demanding and more forgiving.
When we last drove a C63 S Coupé (February 2018), it placed third in a three-way comparative test against the BMW M4 Competition and Audi RS5 Quattro. The main reason was the trouble it had in getting its 375 kw to the tarmac without a significant portion going up in expensive tyre smoke. It was a car constantly demanding concentration, with only the bravest and skilled able to keep it balanced on the edge of its traction vectors.
While the facelift maintains the muscle-car demeanour, the tweaks mentioned have seen the car’s limits pushed further back. What’s made the biggest difference here is the electronic differential that more effectively controls power delivery to the rear wheels and quick exits are now a far more controlled and composed affair. The electronically controlled dampers, tweaked to make the chassis more rigid, take on the weight of the extra lateral Gs and also add to a smooth transition on exit. In
the background, the ninespeed transmission provides more frequent shifts with shorter ratios helping it reach the 375 kw resting at the 5 500 r/min mark faster.
Your safety net is electronic stability control that’s been revised with a new piece of software called AMG Dynamics. This manages the rear-axle torque vectoring and monitors and responds to the driver’s throttle and steering inputs.
These revisions may have taken the edge off the C63 S but don’t be fooled into thinking it has lost its bite. The limit has merely been moved; trust me, you’re still going to need your A-game if you want to go exploring those outer limits.
With the next flagship AMG C-class already confirmed to feature an electric-plus-in-linesix configuration, this facelifted C63 S is the swansong of a dying breed that may well be the last C-class to ever bear a V8 cast by AMG. Embracing the future of eco-friendly drivetrains may be a welcome and necessary change but, after experiencing the speed and sound of the high-powered V8 C63 S, the next-generation C-class AMG will have a tough job matching the sensory drama of its predecessor.
The magnificent V8 engine remains at the core of the driving experience but now feels less frantic thanks to the new gearbox.
These revisions may have taken the edge off the C63 S but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s lost its bite
clockwise from right Larger tailpipes make it clear this is no ordinary C-class; drive selector on the steering wheel is a welcome addition; buckets provide exemplary support; new steering wheel looks great and the buttons are easy to configure.