Mercedes-benz C63 AMG Estate

An LSD installati­on, new geo and a shakedown at the Ring saw 2022 end on a high for our V8 wagon

- Sam Jenkins (@evosamj)

LAST YEAR WAS FILLED WITH ROAD TRIPS, modificati­ons and lofty fuel prices, and all the while the C63 ownership experience has continued to exceed my expectatio­ns. Of course, with the car now having covered just shy of 10,000 miles since I took on ownership, it hasn’t been completely plain sailing…

Given its relatively low overall mileage and my somewhat obsessive maintenanc­e habits, I hadn’t given much thought to MOT day. As I’d hoped, there were zero advisories, but the nasty surprise was an ageing suspension-arm ball joint that rendered it a failure. Perished rubber wouldn’t usually be an expensive fix, but the only way to replace it for OEM was to buy an entire suspension arm for almost £500. There’s the first Amg-branded bill, then.

In more positive news, the Quaife limited-slip differenti­al has finally moved from beneath my desk to between R55 AWP’S rear wheels, courtesy of the excellent team at Suspension Secrets. It transpired that its installati­on was a little more involved than I’d expected, as although the differenti­al itself caused no issues, extracting the casing proved to be what can only be described as a faff. Various bolts put up a fight and an ABS pick-up ring gave up the ghost in the process, disabling the car’s stability systems – right before a Nürburgrin­g road trip I had planned. Thankfully, though, some back and forth saw a new part installed just in time.

The differenti­al wasn’t the only reason for my Suspension Secrets visit, with their ‘fast road’ geometry set-up also applied. Front camber adjustment isn’t possible on the W204 C63 without additional hardware, but tweaks to rear camber and toe have dramatical­ly improved traction, with considerab­le improvemen­ts to midcorner stability too. Combined with the LSD, the C63 is on a new level entirely and proving far more capable than I’d imagined possible.

All the above work was put to the test on the trip to Germany, covering over 1500 miles and lapping the Nürburgrin­g during a heatwave without a single issue. As well as being great on the Ring, the car performed flawlessly on the surroundin­g Eifel roads, tackling hairpins with precision and filling the hills with the glorious sounds of M156 V8. Single-digit mpg figures and heat-derived caliper paint flaking were the only downsides, but I’ll take both as an achievemen­t.

On the autobahn and even Belgium’s corrugated roads, I couldn’t have asked for a much better companion. Wonderful refinement, comfortabl­e seats and the ability to cruise effortless­ly at triple digits make the C63 an incredible road-trip tool. The traffic conditions didn’t allow for a test of its quoted 174mph top speed (a mere 152mph was all I managed), but 2023’s trip is already in the works…

On my return, R55 AWP received a service at AMG specialist MB Automotive, with a transmissi­on service improving the driving experience further still. Part-throttle shifts are now significan­tly smoother,

even completely cold, with full-throttle upshifts much snappier than before.

Elsewhere, a new airbag has been fitted courtesy of a Mercedes-benz recall, while the sliding cup-holder cover and surroundin­g plastic trim, all of which had seen some abuse over the years, have been replaced with fresh items to give the cabin a subtle lift.

Petrol prices are still making it a tricky sell, but on the drive to Germany and other recent long runs, the C63 has achieved over 26mpg. It’s hardly sipping V-power, but it’s certainly not as ruinous as I was once led to believe.

Date acquired May 2021 Total mileage 54,097 Mileage this month 1807 Costs this month £2145 (see text) mpg this month 17.0

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