Any petrolhead will get excited just by being near this thing. Flared front wheel arches, quad pipes and that three letter word, AMG. Just like an F80 M3, the W205 C63 is easy to dismiss just because its predecessor has a bigger engine and no turbo to take away from the sound department. Things are about to get worse with regulations that are obsessed with emission figures and on paper fuel economy. Putting depressing news aside, let’s drive the last C class to ever get a V8 engine.
7-speed Multi Clutch
0-100 km/h: 3.9s
Top speed: 250 or 290 km/h
From A$ 160,000
The first few meters will bring your attention to how good this steering setup is even compared to good old hydraulic ones. It is rewarding even at neighbourhood speeds, the best electric rack I’ve experienced in recent years. It is precise and nicely weighted which is very useful when it comes to change of direction at higher speeds.
Soon, you will be made aware that you are in a race car due to its firm springs. The C63 has a three-stage variable damper and in no mode, it’s relaxed. On the upside, it doesn’t get much harder. The C43 is already hard but this is on another level so if this is not something you can put up with, look elsewhere.
Should you wish to make life harder, you will be rewarded with intoxicating engine and exhaust tunes. It is a well put together exhaust system that’s tonal and most importantly, doesn’t drone. Even in recent years supercars don’t sound this good because they are stuffed with a certain particulate filter.
Drive it in aggressive modes, the exhaust barks on both up and downshifts. Rumbles and crackles are frequently audible without being too artificial, this has nothing to do with talent and everything to do with clever programming. A key ingredient when it comes to exceptional driving connection. I certainly have not been smiling this much behind a steering wheel for the last 5 years and when I've had enough, it can be quieted down with the press of a button.
Seven years on and this interior is still a nice place to be in. Soft dash and door inserts alongside Alcantara steering wheel and carbon fibre trimmings does a lot in elevating the space. These performance seats are beautiful to look at but I would personally opt for comfort seats to sustain longer journeys.
Analogue gauges started to look yesterday but that middle screen has certainly passed its time. Radar cruise and every modern safety feature is standard here which should be the way when you purchase a cream of the crop of any car.
One thing to note is, the C63S can be challenging. Its traction control will save you most of the time and sometimes it does let go and you will have to save yourself. As long as you stay off Race and Sport+ mode, you should be alright.
When it drizzles, the tail does feel like sidestepping even when you go gentle on the throttle so you better be away should you choose to go fast. Damp roads and temperatures of under 5 degree celsius, I would imagine a C63 will not be drivable but you actually can find grip after the tyres heat up. No caffeine is required on days like these because adrenaline takes over. On twisty mountains, this is not the most efficient tool whereby patience is required around a corner so hammer on with speed on the straights to make up for lost time. save yourself. As long as you stay off Race and Sport+ mode, you should be in safe hands.
This demonstrates how big and heavy a compact Mercedes-Benz has become. Its 1700 kilograms is very much present when slowing down and going round a corner hence I suspect the track is where it is home to given its firepower and torque. But then, the 10 thousand dollars ceramic brakes will be required because these steel ones will only last for a few laps on Sepang circuit. After all this is a heavily modified C class so it will lose the final edge to dedicated sports cars but makes up in areas like everyday practicality and ferrying people.
Having spent days in this C63, the Mustang GT comes to mind often. This has similarities with everything done in a more refined fashion which is reflected on its price tag. It is also not as loud as the Ford thanks to Euro regulations but enough to get the neighbours to frown. Transmissions have always been Mercedes’ Achilles heel but this one is a lot better than described by critics. It does get caught at times but it is no worse than a ZF box during my time with it.
On top of unaccommodating suspension, the rattle and creaks on the inside drives me mad. Additionally, its brakes squeal and that’s normal due to apparent rushed engineering so gone were the days where a Mercedes is built to be an heirloom. Those aside, this still is very much an AMG recipe where it thrills the people inside and reminds petrolheads what driving is all about.
Perhaps I am looking at the C63 the wrong way, maybe it is meant to be a weekend car or reserved for track days. If so, at least the sunroof, electrically adjustable steering wheel, heated powered seats and rear seats removed. Would I have this car then? Absolutely, it’d be for occasional slow drives where I enjoy the symphony of a fine 8-cylinder engine with the auto start-stop turned off.