If you're a Merc fan, you're probably already aware that the next Mercedes-AMG C63 will be ditching V8 power in favor of an electrified four-cylinder. The news hasn't gone down especially well, despite promises that the new engine will be even more powerful. But if you're a die-hard fan of the V8, there is still one last opportunity to own a rear-wheel-drive sedan with a throaty engine note. The 2021 AMG C63 comes in two guises: regular and S. The former sees the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 produce 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, while the latter makes 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. But with a new BMW M3 landing in showrooms as you read this, way before the all-new C63 arrives, can the 2021 C63 still satisfy the gearhead, or is it a relic holding on to old technology?
The new AMG C63 is only lightly updated for the 2021 model year, offering new paint options and coming standard with a panoramic glass roof and a 12.3-inch digital driver info display. Beyond these changes, it is identical to the 2020 C63.
See trim levels and configurations:
The exterior of the C63 sedan gives very few clues as to its performance. Sure, you get the Panamericana grille and a massaged hood, but it looks far more subtle than the equivalent BMW. LED lighting all-around looks stunning while bulbous arches house 18-inch wheels - 19-inch wheels are standard on the S model. Subtle fender badges and creases hint at the V8 power while the rear shows off fake vents, a subtle trunk spoiler, trapezoidal quad-exit exhaust tips, and an angry diffuser. A panoramic glass roof is now standard for 2021.
The C63 lives up to its billing as a compact luxury sedan, with dimensions that reflect that. Length measures 187.2 inches (187.3 on the S model), while width is rated at 79.5 inches. The wheelbase has a rating of 111.8 inches while height is pegged at 56.1 inches. Curb weight starts at 3,874 pounds for the C63 rising to 3,900 lbs for the C63 S. The new BMW M3 is comparable, weighing 3,840 lbs in standard guise and 3,890 lbs in AWD Competition spec.
As standard, you can have your C63 in Black or Polar White, but if you're willing to spend extra, the variety increases. Available metallic finishes include Obsidian Black, Iridium Silver, Mojave Silver, Lunar Blue, Brilliant Blue, and Selenite Grey. With the S model, you get black accents in place of much of the standard chrome for a more menacing look, but both have the same color options, with optional colors adding $720 to either build price. Base C63s get gray brake calipers while the C63 S wears red.
Performance is not something this old V8 is short of. The base version of the C63 uses the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 as the more powerful C63 S, just with a little less grunt. Here, you get 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. Despite all the power going to the rear wheels, unlike rivals that provide AWD, the base C63 can do the 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.9 seconds and will top out at a limited 155 mph. Opt for the C63 S and you'll shave a tenth off the 0-60 sprint and only run out of acceleration when you get to 180 mph. Regardless of which car you choose, a nine-speed automatic called the AMG Speedshift MCT handles gear changes with no manual variant offered. This will displease those who like to row their own gears, but there's no doubt that the auto is the quickest and smoothest way to get going. Speaking of smoothness, adaptive dampers are included as standard, allowing you to tauten the ride when driving aggressively. When it's time to relax and go for a long cruise, just flip the suspension into Comfort for a luxurious and relaxed ride.
The base engine of the 2021 Mercedes-AMG C63 is a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 producing 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque, while the more aggressive C63 S uses the same engine but generates 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. Either model is equipped with a nine-speed automatic transmission with paddles mounted on the steering wheel. While previous generations of AMG-enhanced Mercs had a reputation for producing plumes of smoke that billow from the rear wheels with the lightest stab of the accelerator, the modern C63 is still quite happy to do this, and turning the traction control off will still allow you to perform ludicrous slides and smokey burnouts.
But the C63 knows how to behave in a civilized manner too, getting away from the lights is effortless, and overtaking on the freeway is just as simple. Part of what makes using the power easy is the nine-speed auto, a transmission that shifts seamlessly and always picks the right gear for the moment. There was a time when 'boxes with so many ratios would be indecisive and make the drive worse, but nowadays the super fast sedan that is the AMG C63 shows that you can have a serene ride when cruising and an assertive system when driving vigorously. Using the paddles at your own discretion is enjoyable too, with the shifts occurring as you select them with no hesitation. But driving this car is bittersweet when you have the knowledge that you won't hear that roar from the next C63.
The benchmark in this segment has always been the BMW M3, while the equivalent Merc has generally been considered a little fatter and luxurious, but the great divide has closed in recent times. Sure, the C63's adaptive damping allows it to maintain its reputation for a relaxing ride, but it has also developed the ability to be a sharp driving tool that is just as enjoyable to carve corners with as it is to cruise in. Sure, like most other electric steering setups, you get little to no feedback at lower speeds, but turn-in is sharp and easy to judge. The body stays remarkably flat for the most part too, and even in Comfort mode, you won't feel like you're at the helm of a yacht. Braking is excellent too, proving strong yet easy to modulate. In the C63 S, the goal of controlled driving is made easier thanks to dynamic engine mounts and standard carbon ceramic brakes, but either model offers a great blend of comfort and precision. The turbochargers do rob you of some of that glorious V8 noise, but we're pretty sure that the next generation's 2.0-liter turbo engine will make us yearn for the noises that this V8 does make. Overall, the C63 may be considered soft by some, but it is still one of the most enjoyable sports sedans to pilot, regardless of what kind of road you're on.
If you're interested in the more powerful C63 S, you don't have to worry about spending more on fuel. According to the EPA, both variants of the C63 will return 17/26/21 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. With a 17.4-gallon gas tank, that means an average mixed driving range of around 365 miles per tank. By contrast, the new M3 is expected to deliver figures of 16/23/19 mpg. Blame the extra weight of AWD.
If there's one thing that can never be called into question when talking about modern Mercs, it's their quality. And that shines through especially brightly in the interior, where you find a handsomely crafted cockpit filled with high-quality materials and beautiful finishings. Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch digital driver's display while the center of the dash houses a 10.25-inch display. 64-color ambient lighting enhances the luxury feel while supportive yet comfortable seats make you feel at home. This is a gorgeous cabin that blends tech with elegant design in all the best ways.
Much like many rivals in this class, the C63 will comfortably seat five adults, but the rear seats can be a little cramped for taller individuals on long journeys. Nevertheless, getting in and out isn't a chore regardless of which row you're in. Of course, sitting in front is the most comfortable, with ample headroom and legroom. Power-adjustable seats here allow the driver to find the perfect position to be comfortably in control, and with few large panels around the glasshouse, visibility in all directions is good. The seats themselves are also comfortable on long journeys and supportive when you're pulling some Gs in the corners.
Without adding to the build price of your C63, there's only one choice on offer: black MB-Tex (faux leather) with Dinamica suede. If you want black Nappa leather, you'll have to spend $2,590 or get the C63 S, which gets Nappa as standard. That money can also buy you Nappa in a mix of black and Platinum White Pearl, or black with Red Pepper. There's also Magma Grey with black leather and yellow stitching. Alternatively, you can spend $3,100 on the designo Nappa leather package in Platinum White Pearl and black.
Trim elements come in four no-cost variants: Natural Grain Black Ash wood and aluminum, Dark Brown Linden wood, Natural Grain Grey Oak wood, and Natural Grain Walnut wood. For $975, you can have a sporty AMG carbon fiber finish. You can also spec your steering wheel in Nappa/Dinamica, full Dinamica, or with a mix of Dinamica and carbon fiber, with these options adding $500, $600, or $900 to your bill respectively. On the C63 S, Nappa costs nothing, while the Dinamica and Dinamica/carbon choices cost $100 and $400 respectively. You can also swap out the standard silver seatbelts on the S for black at no charge.
According to Mercedes, the C63 offers 12.6 cubic feet of volume in the trunk. That's enough for four medium-sized suitcases to be comfortably stowed, but if you need more space, the rear seats can be dropped in a 40/20/40 split.
In the cockpit, occupants get reasonable door pockets with recesses for drinks bottles, center armrest storage, and four cupholders. You also get a spot in the center console for your phone.
The C63 may be expensive, but you get a lot of gizmos to justify the sticker price. Race Start launch control is standard as are adaptive dampers, an electronic limited-slip differential, a panoramic glass roof, and a hands-free electronic trunk. You also get an IWC Ingenieur analog clock in the dash, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless ignition, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding wing mirrors, a lap-timer, crosswind assist, and a driver attention warning. Other standard equipment includes a 12.3-inch digital driver display, frontal crash preparation, blind-spot monitoring with a vehicle exit warning, and adaptive braking. Options include adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams, ventilated front seats, parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, rear collision preparation, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, a head-up display, and lane change assist.
Sadly, Mercedes is reserving the far better MBUX infotainment system for the 2022 C-Class family. In the meantime, you're stuck with the old COMAND system. We aren't big fans of this system because of its confusing menu layouts and slower responses, but the graphics displayed on the 10.25-inch touchscreen display are clear and attractive enough. The audio quality is also excellent thanks to a 13-speaker Burmester sound system. Standard features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports, HD Radio, and SiriusXM satellite radio. Wireless charging and navigation are optional though, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The 2021 C63 has, thus far, been free of recalls, but the 2020 model did suffer one in February of this year for a faulty eCall system that would provide an inaccurate location for emergency services. The entire C-Class range was also subject to recalls for front seatbelts that wouldn't fully retract, an incorrectly programmed ESP system, and turbo oil lines that may leak.
Should anything go awry during the first four years or 50,000 miles of ownership, a limited warranty entitles you to coverage from the dealer. You also get a powertrain warranty for the same period, but no complimentary scheduled maintenance is offered.
Safety is very important in any car, but especially so in a car that is capable of at least 155 mph. The NHTSA has not yet subjected the 2021 AMG C63 to review, but the regular C-Class was partially tested in frontal and rollover tests, both of which it achieved a four-star rating in. The IIHS has fully tested the 2021 C-Class and awarded it the agency's highest possible honor for 2020: a Top Safety Pick+ award.
Merc places a lot of emphasis on safety equipment, so all C63s get a rearview camera, a driver assist warning, crosswind assist, blind-spot monitoring with vehicle exit warning, rain-sensing wipers, frontal collision preparation, adaptive braking with brake assist, and eight airbags. These maticinclude frontal, side-impact, and rollover airbags. If you want more security, you can add adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams, parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, automatic emergency braking, rear collision preparation, lane keep and lane change assists, and a head-up display.
The Mercedes-AMG C63 Sedan is a ferocious animal but can be tamed with practice and caution. It's a visceral monster but can do long-distance road trips with ease too. Basically, this is a true Jekyll & Hyde machine. It's supremely fast yet comfortable and comes loaded with tech but still feels like a solid Merc should. We love its subtle styling, raucous engine, and impeccable build quality, but it is not without faults. The infotainment system is outdated, there's no manual gearbox on offer, and some of the car's better safety features are reserved for the options list. Nevertheless, it's the last of a dying breed and will be remembered as the last V8-powered C63. That gives it character, and in an age where cars are becoming more soulless by the day, character is something that you can't place a value on. We're pretty sure that its arch-nemesis, the BMW M3 will be even better than this when it arrives, but is there anything quite like an AMG-fettled V8? No, there isn't. Considering this will be the last of its kind to be housed under the hood of a C-Class, we think you should look for reasons to buy one, not reasons to get something better.
The Mercedes-AMG C63 starts at a base price of $68,600 before a $1,050 destination charge. The faster C63 S has a base MSRP of $76,200 before the same destination fee, but if you go crazy with the options, a fully loaded model will set you back over $95,000.
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG C63 sedan is offered in two flavors: regular and S. Both send their power to the rear wheels and both use a nine-speed automatic gearbox to do so. Both also feature a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, but outputs vary between the two.
The base C63 rides on 18-inch wheels with gray brake calipers hiding behind them and boasts features like adaptive dampers, an electronic LSD, a panoramic glass roof, and an IWC Ingenieur analog clock in the dash. You also get heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free trunk lid, configurable ambient lighting, a 12.3-inch digital cluster, and a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display. This model develops 469 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque and has a top speed of 155 mph.
Stepping up to the C63 S gives you 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, along with a 180-mph speed cap. This model's greater speed entitles it to standard fitment of carbon-composite brakes with red calipers, along with 19-inch wheels. You also get the steering-mounted AMG Drive Unit, allowing you to switch drive modes without moving your hand to the center console. Dynamic engine mounts further emphasize this car's increased athleticism.
There are numerous options available for the C63, one of which is a set of ventilated front seats that add $450 to your build. Also available is the Multimedia Package for $1,250. This adds navigation with map updates for three years, enhanced voice control, and three years of live traffic updates. Wireless charging is a standalone option at $200 while the head-up display costs $1,100. The Parking Assistance Package adds parking sensors, rear cross-traffic alert, and a surround-view camera for the same price, but those obsessed with safety can also opt for the Driver Assistance Package at $1,700, adding adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, automatic emergency braking, lane change assist, and rear crash preparation.
Although there's a negligible performance difference in terms of 0-60 times, we can't help but lust after the C63 S. Its increased performance is hinted at with high-performance carbon-ceramic brakes and dynamic engine mounts, and we like the bigger 19-inch wheels too. In addition, as the last V8-powered Mercedes-AMG C63 ever, we think that getting the full-fat experience is the best way to go here. Of course, if you're not a huge fan of AMGs, you may as well opt for the more affordable car, but if you want the ultimate C63, there's no question as to which car you must choose.
Mercedes-AMG's M5 fighter has recently been updated for the 2021 model year and now looks smoother and more elegant than the model it replaces, but is it a good car to consider in place of the C63? After all, it has a six-figure price tag before you even think of looking at any options. In addition, you save the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 under the hood, albeit with a whopping 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. However, there's more to the E63 than just additional space and power. In the cabin, you get Merc's latest infotainment system, dubbed MBUX, along with twin 12.25-inch displays alongside each other. However, unless you intend to use the rear seats and bigger trunk on a regular basis, the drive experience is very similar to that of the C63. If you want the latest tech and more power in a more practical body, the E63 is the better choice, but if you want to have the most fun, we'd have the more wieldy C63.
The all-new BMW M3 has yet to touch down on our shores, but it looks like a fierce competitor. Pricing is expected to remain similar to that of the C63 and won't exceed $70,000 for the base model. Besides a brief flirtation with V8s in the E9X generation, BMW's production M3 has always preferred an inline engine, and the new one is no different. A 3.0-liter twin-turbo straight-six is the powerplant fitted, producing 473 hp in base guise and a C63-S-matching 503 hp in Competition form. Power goes to the rear wheels in the base model, which can be fitted with a six-speed manual, while Competition models will feature a switchable AWD system. An eight-speed automatic will be fitted here, and with the latest in iDrive technology, the G80 M3 will have a better infotainment system than that found in the current C63. We'll have to wait for our first drive to give a verdict on which car is better, but if you have any brand loyalty to Mercedes, the Bimmer isn't even an option. If you're a neutral, however, it may well be worth waiting for.
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