by Karl Furlong
Although it is now a good few years old, this may be the best time to get your hands on the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe. Reports indicate that the next-generation C63 Coupe will employ a turbocharged four-cylinder with hybrid assistance, which means that the existing and glorious V8 may not be around for much longer. This engine endows the C63 Coupe with its unique character and, in the case of the C63 S, produces 503 horsepower. In this guise, the C63 will reach 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds. Fortunately, this stunning coupe isn't a one-trick pony. It handles with poise and has a sexy, high-quality interior. Even though the all-new BMW M4 is here to likely once again raise the standards in this segment, the V8-powered C63 still has a lot to offer late into its life.
Not much has changed at all for the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe this year. It does, however, get a 12.3-inch digital driver's display as standard. This was previously an option.
The years have been kind to Mercedes' hot coupe. Somehow, the AMG C63 pulls off the rare feat of being both elegant and aggressive at the same time. In front, the large badge and Panamericana grille are flanked by LED headlamps with integrated LED daytime running lamps. A panorama roof, 18-inch AMG wheels, and quad-exit exhaust outlets are standard. The more powerful C63 S is even more aggressive with its larger 19-inch twin five-spoke AMG wheels. An exterior carbon fiber package and larger 20-inch wheels are optionally available.
Similar in size to its Audi and BMW rivals, the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe's dimensions include a 111.8-inch wheelbase, a length of 187.1 inches, and a height of 55.2 inches. The width is 79.4 inches including the side mirrors. The C63 was never a light vehicle and that shows in a curb weight of 4,109 pounds, whereas the sportier C63 S is even heavier at 4,134 lbs.
Both the C63 and C63 S Coupe are motivated by a 4.0-liter handcrafted bi-turbo V8 engine that remains a substantial part of this car's appeal. In the C63, the outputs are 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque, while the C63 S boasts specs of 503 hp and 516 lb-ft. In both cases, a nine-speed automatic transmission is used.
To drive, both versions of the rear-wheel-drive C63 are as absorbing as they've ever been and accelerate with the urgency of a true sports car. The engine emits a deep, angry rumble and provides instant power whether in town or at a higher speed on the highway. That MCT transmission is just as brilliant, with effortlessly quick shifts that only add to the fun. The base C63 can reach 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds, while the C63 S shaves a tenth of a second off that time. These numbers remain competitive with the new BMW M4, while the all-wheel-drive Audi RS5 matches the C63 S up to 60 mph.
Older AMGs used to be brutally quick in a straight line but fell far short of their BMW rivals when the road started to turn. That is no longer the case with the AMG C63 sports car, which boasts great body control and a quick and communicative steering system. The AMG Ride Control suspension with three-stage damping is more rigid than the setup on regular C-Class Coupes, making it a fine match for the V8's power. In the C63 S, a special Race Mode is optimized for track use as there is minimal intervention from the coupe's electronic nannies. In our own AMG C63 S Coupe review, we discovered that you'd better have your wits about you in this setting, though, as it's easy to evoke tire-shredding power slides.
Although the new AMG C63 is a great luxury coupe in terms of its interior appointments, it doesn't ride like one. It will feel too stiff for most, almost compelling you to switch to the more comfortable driving mode. Then again, there's always the softer C300 if you don't want to commit to the AMG badge. When you need to slow down, the AMG high-performance braking system - with massive 14.2-inch front discs and six-piston calipers - does a great job of bringing the C63 to a stop. The C63 S lives up to its track credentials with even more potent composite brakes with 15.4-inch front discs that are ventilated, slotted, and perforated.
Considering that it uses a fairly large V8, the C63's consumption isn't actually terrible relative to other similarly powerful coupes on sale. Its EPA ratings work out to 17/26/20 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles, and that applies to both the C63 and the more powerful C63 S. The all-new BMW M4 returns 16/23/19 mpg, so the C63 will manage a substantial three mpg more in highway driving. With its 17.4-gallon gas tank, the C63 Coupe has a range under mixed driving conditions of about 348 miles.
Officially a four-seater, the two-door Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe may look sportier than the C63 sedan, but you sacrifice what space is available. As usual, the driver and front-seat passenger won't have any trouble as both leg- and headroom are sufficient. The AMG Performance MB-Tex/Dinamica seats look good and do a good job of holding you in place thanks to their substantial side bolsters. If desired, Nappa leather can be optioned - this is standard on the C63 S. Unfortunately, both the headroom and the legroom are tighter at the back; in fact, you get 10 inches less legroom if you are consigned to the back seat, and the backrests themselves are too upright for long-distance comfort. It's more of a chore to get back there as well, but that's the case with most other 2-door coupes.
One large suitcase will take up most of the space inside the C63's trunk, which has a capacity of 10.5 cubic feet. This is a bit less space than you get in the new BMW M4, which offers 12 cubes. Then again, few people are buying the C63 Coupe for its ability to lug loads of stuff around. A nice touch is standard hands-free access, though, whereby a simple kick of your foot beneath the rear bumper automatically opens the trunk lid. Usefully, the rear seat can also be folded in a 40/20/40 split to accommodate larger items.
Interior storage space is about what we expect for this type of car. The door pockets in front are a lot bigger than those at the back, while there is also a center console bin and cupholders front and rear.
The price of the 2021 AMG C63 sports coupe dictates that it would roll out of the factory with plenty of equipment, and generally, that's the case. The standard features list includes 14-way power-adjustable front seats with memory settings, heated front seats, power-folding wing mirrors, hands-free access, dual-zone climate control, remote start, a power panorama roof, a garage door opener, and a 64-color LED ambient lighting system. Despite the emphasis on performance, the C63 is still well-stocked with safety gear. This amounts to a rearview camera, blind-spot assist, crosswind assist, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and attention assist. Both trims have a race start function, but only the C63 S comes with a race mode and the AMG Drive Unit. On this model, that means the addition of quick-access switches on the steering wheel to adjust various performance settings. The coupe can be upgraded with ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, a surround-view camera system, a head-up display, and an automatic parking assistant.
This year, the C63 comes standard with the brand's configurable 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. It's still one of the best systems around, with various styles to suit your taste and pin-sharp graphics. Complementing this driver's display is a 10.25-inch central screen. While it isn't as sleekly integrated as the digital displays in newer Mercedes products like the A-Class, the C63's system is still quite intuitive and switches quickly between tasks. However, it's no MBUX. The system is packed with features, too, with everything from Bluetooth audio streaming to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, dual USB audio ports, SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, and an AMG-specific race timer to record and review your lap times. A 13-speaker Burmester surround sound system is standard and sounds fantastic, while its aluminum speaker grilles are lovely to look at. On the downside, a wireless charging pad should have been standard at this price. You also have to pay extra for navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and TuneIn Radio.
Mercedes' reputation for quality is reflected in J.D. Power's solid rating of 80 out of 100 for the AMG C63 Coupe. The C63 hasn't been entirely recall-free, though. 2019 was an especially troublesome year for the C-Class range as a whole; that year, the C63 Coupe was recalled for issues including an active brake assist system that may not engage and a steering rack lock nut that may fail. In 2020, the C63 was recalled for a malfunctioning ESP system. No recalls have yet been recorded for the 2021 C63 Coupe.
While BMW includes complimentary scheduled maintenance for its models, Mercedes-Benz does not. What you do get is the brand's regular four-year/50,000-mile limited and powertrain warranties. Roadside assistance is limited to either four years or when the mileage reaches 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.
The NHTSA has not evaluated the C-Class range as a whole, although the IIHS did assess the C-Class Sedan. It attained a Top Safety Pick + award for 2020, indicative of exceptional crash safety standards. This gives us an idea of how the C63 Coupe should perform, as it shares much in common with the regular C-Class.
If the ratings don't convince you, the comprehensive safety spec should. The C63 Coupe comes with eight airbags, including side airbags for both rows and knee airbags for those seated in front. The coupe also comes with attention assist, active brake assist, crosswind assist, blind-spot assist with exit warning, pre-safe accident preparation, electronic stability control, and the obligatory rearview camera. An endless number of optional safety features are on offer, from a head-up display to a surround-view camera, automatic parking assistance, adaptive cruise control, adaptive high-beam assist, active lane-change assist, active steering assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. Fully loaded, the C63's advanced features will take over many of the duties that you'd have to execute manually.
Although its successor is now not too far away, the current Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe could be the last of a dying breed. It's simply become too difficult for automakers to justify large-capacity V8 engines when turbocharging and electrification can offer the same level of performance far more efficiently. What they won't offer is the charisma and soul that this C63 delivers in bucketloads. Even if the new BMW M4 proves to be sharper to drive, the C63's engine sets it apart from its BMW and Audi competitors. To look at and sit in, the C63 Coupe remains one of the very best offerings in this corner of the US market. Our few foibles include the hard ride and the limited rear-seat space, but these aren't dealbreakers. If you can afford to take the plunge, do it before it's too late.
There are two Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe models to choose from. The cheaper C63 Coupe has a starting MSRP in the USA of $70,650, increasing to a cost of $78,250 for the C63 S. These prices exclude taxes, licensing, registration, as well as Mercedes-Benz's destination charge of $1,050. The new BMW M4 begins at a slightly higher price of $71,800, although the M4 Competition at $74,700 costs less than the C63 S.
At this price point, what's the use in holding back? We'd opt for the aggressive C63 S despite the increase in price. For an extra $7,600, the C63 S bumps power up to over 500 horsepower and adds more aggressive wheels, Nappa leather upholstery, and the AMG Drive Unit for easy management of performance characteristics. We'd also add the $1,700 Driver Assistance Package which will equip adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, and more. In such a fast car, you want to keep your eyes on the road, so the other box we'd tick would be for the $1,100 AMG head-up display.
The Audi RS5 is a superb sports coupe. Although offering two cylinders less than the Merc, it still manages a solid 444 hp and will hit 60 mph in exactly the same time as the C63 S. Overall, the Audi comes across as a more mature, refined, and less raucous offering. Its quattro all-wheel-drive system ensures that nothing will unstick this Audi from the road, but it's crushingly effective rather than truly thrilling. By contrast, the Mercedes isn't as comfortable but will leave you with a higher heart rate following a blast over a mountain pass. Both cars have beautifully built cabins, but again, the RS5 is more subtle. If you want a high-performance luxury coupe that can see off unsuspecting 911 drivers yet still potter around town without any complaints, the RS5 is a better choice. But as these are meant to be quick, drama-filled machines, we'd go for the more expressive C63.
A new BMW M car usually signals the arrival of an instant class-leader, but that's not quite what the previous M4 was. The new one has a lot to make up for, then, and it answers the call of enthusiasts by offering both rear-wheel drive and an available manual gearbox. In Competition guise, the Bimmer's 503-hp inline-six realizes a 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds, a tenth slower than the C63 S. But at over 200 pounds lighter, we anticipate that the M4 will be the more agile coupe to drive. The M4 also has a fresh new interior that shares much with the latest 3 Series, while it's better for carrying passengers in the back as there is more space. If you can digest the M4's in-your-face styling, it's likely to emerge as the superior weekend toy. But if you decided to knock on AMG's door and buy the older C63, we wouldn't blame you.