Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe: Savage elegance

By GEORGE WONG | 12 April 2018


It’s not often that we get to drive an AMG car. But when we do, it’s always an occasion to see how much further it can push the regular Mercedes base car on the performance slider.

The C 63 S Coupe is a genuine show-and-tell example of Mercedes-AMG’s handiwork, an enticing package that harks of the elastic power lurking within.

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Exterior

The coupe is undoubtedly a looker. Graceful and aggressive at once, this is a striking car that demands attention. Sitting low to the ground with flared wheel arches that house big forged wheels, the coupe looks fast even when standing still.

There’s a restrained drama in the curves that begins with the AMG grille and continues with the bulging bonnet to the swooping roofline and aggressive diffuser.

With prominent ‘V8 Biturbo’ emblems on the front wings ,it’s a reminder to all about its bestselling feature. In addition, carbon-fibre trim on the sides, bright red brake callipers along with blacked-out wheels/mirror housings/window surrounds/bumpers accentuate the sporty appearance. A set of quad exhaust tips round off the effect.

This is a car that wouldn’t be out of place barrelling down a race track as is or cruising along the expressway.

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Interior 

The cabin is a snapshot of how Mercedes defines performance luxury. It’s all togged up to complement the exterior façade.

It echoes the familiarity of the standard C-Class but the sporty theme is amplified to justify the much higher asking price.

Dark and masculine, the dashboard is decked out with carbon fibre panellings and brushed aluminium inserts that continue to the doors. Like the regular C-Class coupe, a floating 7-inch display takes centrestage, and still isn’t touch-sensitive.

Typical AMG appointments are the premium Napa leather seats, sports steering wheel with paddle shifters and sport seats with side supports upfront, wrapped in Artico man-made leather/Dinamica microfibre.Also included are the AMG-specific IWC analogue clock, panoramic sunroof, Burmester sound system and blood-red seatbelts to add a racy contrast.

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The AMG-specific instrument cluster with AMG main menu includes a Racetimer and an AMG Start-up display.

The C 63 S seats four. Coupes are designed to pamper the duo upfront. Not so the rear where head and legroom aren’t much to speak of.

A low seating position in the C 63 S means it’s easy to go in but takes more effort to get out, more so for the two passengers in the back row of the two-door car.

The floating display and classic instrument cluster still have legs in keeping with the current crop of C-Class cars.

But they are starting to lose their lustre in the face of massive screen redesigns in the other regular Mercedes models, and most recently in the new A-Class. Even the updated C 63/C 43 have begun to get an optional digital meter cluster, among other notable changes -- like the in-your-face Panamericana grille.

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Practicality 

Coupes are hardly known for their practicality in the way sedans of a similar size would. But the C 63 S makes an effort in that department.

In a nod to in-cabin practicality, there is decent glove box capacity, two cupholders per row, a deep centre console compartment, shallow door pockets and side storage spaces in back row. Two rear passengers sit tight but they do get rear air-cond vents as small comfort. There are also hooks in second row to hang shopping bags and what-nots at a pinch.

Out back, the C 63 S has the benefit of a decent sized boot space that should be able to fit in enough luggage for a couple on a weekend getaway.

Mercedes (5)

Safety 

As fast as the C 63 S is, safety hasn’t been neglected. It’s available in gobs. Count these as standard: seven airbags (includes kneebag), blind spot detection, lane keeping assist, brake assist, 360° camera, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, steering assist, queue assist, attention assist and Isofix child seat attachment system.

Little things matter too. Reverse the car and the wing mirrors automatically dip to show a better view of the road at the back.

 

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Equipment 

Even without the added niceties of the limited Edition 1 pack that switches the wheels from 19 to 20-inch and other cosmetic touches, the base car is already well-appointed.

The C 63 S test car came with the following equipment and options as standard:
LED High Performance headlamps, keyless entry & Keyless-GO, hands-free access, Eco start/stop, AMG Night Package, Cruise control with Speedtronic, high performance composite brakes, panoramic sliding sunroof, Nappa leather upholstery, sports pedals, AMG Carbon Fibre dash inserts, Burmester surround sound system, tyre pressure monitoring system

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Performance 

AMG cars pivot their existence around the hand-built engine. Mercedes-AMG boss Tobias Moers once said C 43 customers often move up to the C 63 after overcoming the notion it was sheer overkill.

The C 63 is further differentiated into the standard C 63 and C 63 S – the epitome of C-Class performance. Although you can order the detuned and lower-priced C 63 (-34hp, -50Nm), Mercedes-Benz Malaysia would rather steer you to the pricier C 63 S so that you can savour the full potential of a top-flight coupe whose 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine doles out 510hp from 5,500rpm and 700Nm of twist from 1,750-4,500rpm.

The prevailing logic: if you are going to spend so much on an AMG performer, why settle for less in big muscle territory? The powerplant, incidentally, is a close relative to the one in the AMG GT car.

All that kick-ass power is routed to the rear wheels via an AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7-speed sports automatic transmission.

The C 63 S is armed with Launch Control, a source of personal amusement. It’s wicked fun to see if you can achieve the 3.9s official sprint time as the car gallops from 0-100kph. The exercise is literally a rush, with top speed capped at 250kph. An optional AMG tune-up bumps up the top speed to 290kph.

Like the fire-breathing engine, the advanced AMG Ride Control chassis with electronically controlled shock absorbers, the AMG Dynamic Select drive settings, the rear differential lock and the dynamic engine mounts that were all developed in-house, worked together to enhance driving dynamics.

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Ride & handling 

The V8 engine starts up with a bark and gets growly all the way, promising a visceral experience.

Apart from the usual Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual drive modes, the Race mode sets the C 63 S apart from the C 43 and the C 63. A Performance exhaust system with flap control button on the centre console provides the driver with an even greater level of control of the exhaust note. With the button activated, the sound the car makes reminds one of a chugging motorboat heading out to sea.

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It doesn't take much pedal pressure to make the coupe go fast with the turbos pumping up the urgency from a lowly 1,750rpm.

The C 63 S is an absolute blast to drive. The beefy tiller affords excellent grip. Ride is firm. Gears shifts rapidly.

The car tackles road duty with taut driving dynamics. Turn-in is quick and there's good steering feedback. It is sharp, agile and stable at speeds, making the driver feel he is in total control.

The coupe handles tight corners well but at the expense of a noisy ride even in Comfort mode.

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As in most things that go fast, effective stoppers are equally important. Braking power is immense, bringing the powerful coupe to a quick stop without any noticeable sign of brake fade.

If you know what you are doing, this is a car that will reel out oversteering thrills by the second. Trust the V8 to put on a good show.

While the C 63 S is downright ferocious, it can still be a relatively pliant beast that stays manageable in the hands of a less experienced individual. But the rumble it makes and the quivering forces within are always a reminder that it’s special and meant for the individual who appreciates driving a finely tuned projectile.

In most driving situations, we reckon Comfort is the default mode, with the rest of the drive modes stepping up the excitement when the need for frisky manoeuvres takes hold.

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Fuel Consumption 

The official figurefor combined fuel consumption is 8.6l/100km but the real-world mileage will depart from the script simply because environments and personal driving styles differ widely.

With more highway driving done than city driving and with a penchant to overwork the go-fast pedal, we ended up with 11.5l/100km after an exploratory weekend. Not bad really for a small car with a big engine.

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Reliability

Mercedes-Benz offers a two-year manufacturer warranty and a two-year in-country extended warranty, a mirror image to the manufacturer warranty with unlimited mileage coverage.

The comprehensive coverage keeps cost of ownership under control. You only need to pay for cost of the vehicle maintenance as well as wear and tear items. Such costs vary as vehicle maintenance, wear and tear items charges are subject to individual driving behaviour.

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Price 

The C 63 S retails at RM773,888 (on-the-road with GST and without insurance). The 4-door version is RM75,000 less.

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Summary

No one doubts the C 63 S Coupe’s reputation as a luxury hotrod. It is a supremely talented machine that satisfies many of the parameters that define a performance luxury car.

If you have the means to pay the stiff asking price for an AMG-massaged C-Class, you will be rewarded with a car that is elegant yet savage, allowing for bouts of hooliganism - executed with authority.

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Mercedes C 63 S AMG Coupe - 57
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Small window in rear row
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Rear view camera hidden in the logo.
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Rear view camera hidden in the logo.
Fuel flap
Frameless windows typical of coupe
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Glove box
View rearwards
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Rear row
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Panoramic sliding subnroof
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Keywords

Overview

Styling
80%
Comfort
70%
Performance
90%
Safety
90%
Value
70%

CarSifu's Rating: 8.0