REVIEWS: 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

August 23, 2010
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Love the flat-bottom steering wheel and its Alcantara trim. Love the fabulous cream-colored sport seats over a black interior. Love the engine and the sounds it makes. Love the downshift blips from the seven-speed automatic.
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Front Three Quarters
Had the opportunity to drive our C63 at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. Tremendous power and grip make it highly, highly entertaining there. Brakes are strong initially but did eventually fade a bit. Still, it was a very impressive performer.
The thing to remember about the C63 AMG is that, for the first time in a couple of decades, Mercedes-Benz has produced a car that well and truly competes with the legendary BMW M3. Sure, the two cars differ, and each has its particular strengths and weaknesses, and the BMW is still a bit more pure of purpose, but this Benz can hold its own very nicely, and any C63 owner need make no apologies.
- Joe DeMatio, Deputy Editor
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Front Three Quarters Static
There are many reasons to love the C63 AMG but the one thing I most enjoyed during my time in our test car was the lovely leather and Alcantara wrap on the steering wheel. The Alcantara portion of the wheel feels wonderful, although I found it a bit distracting to have the switch from Alcantara to leather right where my hands normally grip the wheel.
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Rear Three Quarters
It has been almost two years since I drove a C63, so commenting on the 30 hp increase is difficult without test numbers in front of me. The internal changes to the engine seemed to make for an even better sounding exhaust, not that I had any complaints about how wicked the car sounded before. The C63 is a wonderful introduction to the world of AMG, and it just might be the most fun-to-drive car in that exclusive stable.
Perhaps the only problem with the C63 AMG is the the BMW M3. Until the C63 can blow the M3 right out of the water (and with this extra power that might be possible on a track), there's just too much of an aura surrounding the M3 for many people to flock to the AMG tent. I'm confident that anyone who chooses the C63 will be supremely happy with their new car. I know I'd love to own one.
- Phil Floraday, Senior Web Editor
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Rear View
The C63 AMG is one of those cars that sticks in my brain, even though I've had only a precious few occasions to get behind the wheel of one. Its gloriously raspy exhaust note, its rapid-fire paddleshift transmission, its form-fitting seats, and its aggressive looks all add up to one mean machine for not all that much money. (Well, in base $60K trim that's true, at least; this car's $77K as-tested price edges into the territory of some other truly hot metal, but the C63 still stands tall.)
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Front Three Quarters Static
The C63 has a detuned version of the engine that is in all manner of exciting AMG products, but its price of entry and everyday practicality make it pretty darn enticing. I think the C63 looks just as mean as some of its stablemates, too, and I'm confident that Phil is onto something when he suggests that the hottest C-class might be the most fun AMG vehicle extant.
Just as when the C63 and the BMW M3 (and its 3-series kin) were each selected as Automobile Magazine All-Stars back in 2009, it's difficult to pick a favorite between the two cars and usually ends up being a case of "I like this one better because I drove it more recently." The M3 holds a very slight edge in my head at the moment, but that's probably largely because I recently drove an M3 on a racetrack, where I've never had the pleasure of experiencing a C63. According to my colleagues who drove the C63 and the M3 together at GingerMan Raceway, however, it sounds like the C63 gives up nothing to its Bavarian rival.
- Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Engine
I'd like to give a special thank-you to Meltin Yetiz, employed in the AMG workshops in Affalterbach, Germany. According to the hand-signed plate mounted on the C63's intake manifold, he's the man primarily responsible for building an incredible V-8 engine, and subsequently, gifting me with an enjoyable commute Monday night.
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Rear View
Mercedes-Benz is on the cusp of replacing the 6.2-liter engine with an equally powerful twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8, but I'm going to miss this big V-8. 451 horsepower? 451 pound-feet of torque? A 7200-rpm redline? Sounds wunderbar to me, but those hankering for more power can spring for the AMG Development Package, which gets a revised crankshaft, a re-tuned engine computer, forged pistons (also used in the SLS AMG), and an extra 30 horsepower. In both forms, the 6.2-liter is a veritable torque monster, rocketing you forward at unbelievable speeds while emitting a glorious ricochet from the quad tailpipes.
The extra power (and the loud roar) make spending time behind the wheel of the C63 a little more visceral and enjoyable than the M3, but the Bimmer does have its advantages. If you must have three pedals, the BMW is your default choice. The standard seven-speed automatic in the C63 is no slouch, but there is a notable delay between slapping a shift paddle and actually receiving a physical gear change. The M3's optional dual-clutch transmission is quicker to react to your inputs.
The M3 does feel a little lighter, and yes, it is a little less expensive, but I've fallen head over heels for the C63's massive torque and monstrous growl. It's the muscle car of my dreams merged with the luxury sedan I've always longed for. My list of dream cars has grown by one.
- Evan McCausland, Web Producer
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Interior View
Next to the BMW M3, the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is a bit of a sleeper. Sure, car guys will know what this Merc is capable of, but the idolized M3 still draws more attention. Plus, the C63 is absolutely off the radar of mainstream America. That is until you leap into motion with the engine snarling and the tires adding in the harmonious squeal of controlled wheel spin. The 6.3-liter engine is star in this car, but it is really a complete package with phenomenal seats and steering feel that I find more satisfying than in the BMW. There's no adjustable suspension here, but it's not needed. The C63 has a wonderfully balanced chassis that's at home on track and road, making it a wonderful, rewarding daily driver.
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Side View
I'd hardly call the transmission "rapid-fire," though, Rusty. On the contrary, the gearbox fails to respond to double or triple taps of the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Call for a two-gear downshift, and you're often only given a single gear. That's frustrating, because leaving the gear selector in automatic mode can provide relatively quick, multi-gear downshifts when the throttle is pushed down far enough forcing you to choose between the fun of shifting for yourself or the performance of letting the computers do the work.
Before I got out of the C63 for the last time, I backed it up to a concrete wall inside our parking garage. Fully aware of the unholy ruckus I was about to create, I waited until there wasn't a person in and stabbed the gas pedal. Reverberating off the concrete, the deep, unruly blat-blat-blat transformed into sinfully sharp, violently loud staccato cracks. A car this grown-up yet so juvenile is a beautiful thing.
- Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Rear Three Quarters
What's not to love about the C63 AMG? It's got great power, impressive handling, a fabulous V-8 sound, and a unique appearance. It makes a normal C-class just seem so bland. The interior is very driver oriented. But what stood out most to me was the D-shaped steering wheel with alcantara wrapped around the nine and three positions.
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Front Three Quarters
The brakes are stellar, with cross-drilled and ventilated rotors. Lap after lap on the racetrack the brakes continued to bite without much fade at all. Not bad for a five-passenger, four-door luxury sedan.
However, with an as-tested sticker price of $77,105, buyers might not realize that's only $3000 shy of a Jaguar XFR, which starts at $80,000. The XFR has 60 more hp and more interior space.
- Mike Ofiara, Road Test Coordinator
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Engine
I despise our office parking garage. There are usually no spots available on the lower levels, so you have to drive up six or seven floors, slowing for frequent speed bumps and construction workers who seem to spend half the summer drilling holes in the floor and the other half filling them. Plus, there's almost always one of Ann Arbor's many Prius-driving hippies crawling in front of you at about 4 mph so as to stay in EV mode. Well, I had my delicious revenge the morning I pulled through the garage in the Mercedes C63 AMG. Leaving the 7-speed automatic in first gear, I roared up each ramp, and then sent backfires ricocheting off the walls as I slowed for turns.
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Rear Three Quarters
The C63 is lots of fun outside the parking garage, too. I found myself exploding out of stoplights with tire-spinning gusto I usually reserve for muscle cars, which of course, is what the C63 is. There weren't any curves on my commute that could come close to challenging the car's beefy suspension and brakes, but I'll take Mike's word that they were up to track duty.
I remain somewhat underwhelmed by the C-class's interior. I know Benzes are traditionally more about quality and solidity than flash and glamour, but does it need to be so darn somber in there? The seats though, are quite nice, and have some of the biggest side bolsters I've ever seen, so huge that they sometimes constricted my (short) arms as I reached for the steering wheel.
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Side View
2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Front Three Quarters Static
Base price (with destination and guzzler tax): $60,325
Price as tested: $77,105
Standard Equipment:
6.3-liter V-8 engine
7-speed Speedshiftplus automatic transmission
18-inch AMG five-spoke wheels
High performance tires
AMG high performance braking system
Speed-sensitive sport steering
AMG aerodynamic sport styling
Sport exhaust with chrome tips
Heated front seats
Performance steering wheel with paddle shifters
Power tilt/sliding sunroof
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Auto-dimming mirrors
Single CD/MP3 player, AM/FM/WB radio
8-speaker sound system
Bluetooth connectivity
Sirius satellite radio
Power windows/locks/mirrors
Tilt/telescoping steering column
Cruise control
Tire pressure monitoring system
AMG 3-stage electronic stability program
Anti-slip regulation
Options on this vehicle:
AMG development package -- $5950
AMG compound braking system
Increased power level (+30 hp)
Top speed 174 mph
AMG lightweight forged pistons
Lightweight connecting rods
Revised crankshaft
New engine management
Red-painted brake calipers
Carbon fiber trunk spoiler
AMG leather/alcantara performance steering wheel
Multimedia package -- $3300
7-inch power retractable color display
Comand hard drive based navigation system
Harman/kardon logic7 surround-sound system
Dolby digital 5.1 6-disc CD/DVD changer
Voice control
iPod/MP3 media interface and cable
AMG leather package -- $3030
Limited slip differential lock -- $2000 Premium II package -- $1400
Bi-Xenon headlamps with washers
Cornering fog lamps
Split folding rear seat
Power rear-window sunshade
Tele aid -- $650
Rear-view camera -- $450
Key options not on vehicle:
AMG seating package -- $3090
Keyless-Go -- $1140
Fuel economy: 12/19/15 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Engine:
Size: 6.2L V-8
Horsepower: 451 hp @ 6800 rpm
Torque: 443 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm
Drive: Rear-wheel
Transmission: 7-speed Speedshift plus automatic
Curb weight: 3649 lb
Wheels/tires:
18 x 8-inch front; 18 x 9-inch rear wheels
235/40R18 front; 255/35R18 rear Continental ContiSportContact3 performance tires
Competitors: BMW M3 sedan, Cadillac CTS-V
2010 Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Gauges

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