2019 Mercedes-amg C 63
PACKING THE POWER
Decisions, decisions. You want the 2019 Mercedes C-class but with some Affalterbach flair, and the C 43 isn’t quite enough. You need the full Mercedes-amg C 63 S treatment. The wagon is out if you live in the U.S., but you’ll still get to choose between the sedan, coupe, and cabriolet.
The four body styles were developed simultaneously, and although they share at least 95 percent of their features, they were developed to stand as individual cars with unique characteristics.
Under the hood is the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 you know and love. In the C 63 it generates 469 horsepower from 5,500 to 6,250 rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 to 4,500 rpm. Up your choice to the C 63 S, and horsepower rises to 503 at the same rpm and 516 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 to 4,500 rpm. Unlike the allwheel-drive C 43, the C 63 is rear-drive only.
The existing seven-speed automatic has been replaced by a new Mercedes-developed nine-speed automatic. It’s both smooth and lightning quick, matching revs and working up and down the gears with a speed and precision a human can’t match with paddles—but feel free to try.
The cabrio has the best soundtrack. There’s nothing like the sound of that engine to send your heart soaring while driving with the top down. The optional performance exhaust system has selectable exhaust flaps so you can tune the note from discreet to clearthe-road. We applauded every snort and pop.
The convertible is heaviest, which engineers are fine with because this model was designed to be a daily driver that won’t hit the track. There are also elements in place to help control the temperature when you’re exposed to the elements. With the rear wind deflector and windows up, the wind doesn’t play hairdresser. The much-loved Airscarf that keeps your neck warm is standard.
An aero package is available only on the coupe, it being the variant most likely to go to a track. This package tweaks the look with a front splitter, a spoiler with an integrated Gurney flap, broader side skirt inserts, rear bumper flics, and diffuser inserts. The rear track is also 1.8 inches wider than the sedan’s.
A cool feature on S models in all body styles is the AMG Drive Unit, a round controller on the steering wheel that changes drive modes and adjusts the traction control. It highlights how effective traction control is. The settings are 0 to 9, and although the assumption would be that 9 would provide the most control, in fact 9 means no control and 0 maximum assistance. Some on our drive unknowingly had their car in the wrong setting on the track and quickly realized their mistake.
Mercedes also extended the AMG dynamics by adding a sixth drive mode, Slippery, to the lineup, which also includes Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race, and Individual. The modes were recalibrated to broaden the performance envelope, creating more of a chasm between Comfort and Race.
We wonder if this complexity is necessary, though. AMG says whether customers use it is irrelevant. The point is they want it just in case—and it appeals to younger buyers. The wider spread in adaptive damper tuning between modes also addresses complaints that the outgoing model was too stiff.
Also new are different agility programs—ranging from Basic to Advanced, Pro, and Master—which are automatically selected by the respective drive program
that adjusts the engine response and suspension from extremely safety oriented to ultra exciting. Master mode in the Race drive program permits higher yaw rates and delivers the quickest responses of the accelerator, gearshift, and standard electronically controlled limitedslip differential.
The C 63 has a retuned AMG steel suspension with a four-link front and multilink rear suspension. Some off-camber points on the track revealed how well the car corners at speed even when one wheel was lifted.
The suspension sopped up most of the road conditions easily, though there were a few areas where the chatter was too harsh in Sport and Sport+ drive modes. There’s little compromise with the convertible, but one stretch of pavement elicited a few thumps, reminding us of the structural challenges of losing a roof.
How responsive is the steering? Think it and send the brain waves to your fingertips, and the car is already there. It requires the lightest touch at high speeds.
Stopping is effective but not harsh with the optional front carbon-ceramic brakes on the S. It was vital and well tested on the narrow stretches and blind corners of the Bilster Berg private track.
The AMG Track Pace program will log more than 80 sets of track data 10 times per second, and it displays lap times with colored graphics to quickly tell you if you are lapping faster or slower.
Pricing isn’t available yet, but look for the C 63 S sedan to start about $73,000, the coupe about $75,000, and the convertible about $82,000 when sales begin in early 2019.
SPECS 2019 Mercedes-amg C 63 S Base Price $73,000-$82,000 (est)
Vehicle Layout Front-engine, RWD, 4-pass, 2-door coupe, convertible; 5-pass, 4-door sedan
Engine 4.0L/503-hp/516-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8
Transmission 9-speed automatic
Curb Weight 3,700-3,950 lb (mfr)
Wheelbase 111.8 in
L x W xh 187.1-187.3 x 72.4-73.9 x 55.2-56.1 in
0-60 MPH 3.7-3.9 sec (mfr est)
EPA City/hwy/comb Fuel Econ
Not yet rated
On Sale in U.S. Early 2019
POWERFUL BEVY The U.S. doesn’t get the wagon, but the other three C 63 body styles have their individual styles and attributes.
AMG Track Pace logs more than 80 sets of track data 10 times per second and displays lap times to quickly tell you if your last lap was faster.