2019 Mercedes-amg C 63

PACK­ING THE POWER

Motor Trend - - News | Opinion | Gossip | Stuff - Alisa Prid­dle

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.

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