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This new 9-speed gearbox in the Mercedes C63 AMG is superb
In 1966 two of the Mercedes Benz engineers Hans Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher took the brave step to leave the company and start a new business making high performance race engines and AMG was formed. It wasn’t long before this company became the “go to” supplier for most of MB’s outsourcing of specialised performance variants of their vehicles.
Fast forward five decades and the same company has produced the Mercedes Benz AMG C63, one of the very best, and very special, cars on sale today – Hans and Erhard must be very proud.
There is a choice of four different body styles; sedan, coupe, cabriolet and estate so the versatile C63 ensures that you can pick a body type that suits you.
The twin-turbocharged V8 is a mechanical masterpiece. Not only does it deliver thumping performance, but the C63 is also backed by a thunderous soundtrack that adds to the car’s hugely engaging and entertaining character. In addition, the C63 backs this up with great handling.
As a sports saloon, the ride is firm, but there’s a multitude of options to personalise suspension, gearbox and power, each independently of the other.
All C63 models are powered by the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, and power is sent to the rear wheels via a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox, which replaces the older 7G-Tronic. The basic difference between the C63 and C63 S is a power hike from 469bhp to 503bhp, while the S model also gets bigger wheels, a few styling tweaks and a (unnecessary!) speed limiter rise from 155mph to 180mph.
Previous issues with the old 7-speed gearbox have largely disappeared now. The new 9-speed gearbox inherited from the AMG E63 is superb. Changes up and down are slick, and precisely where and when you want them to be.
AMG has changed the standard C-Class’ chassis to cope with the extra power. There are wider tracks front and rear, plus bigger tyres and lowered suspension to give more grip. On board, there are adaptive dampers that can improve handling or comfort as necessary via a button on the dashboard.
Of course The C63 is not cheap to run, especially if you use all the performance and you shouldn’t expect a 500bhp V8-powered sports saloon to be cheap to run, but the Mercedes-AMG C63 does attempt to soften the impact on your cash flow a little.
Downsizing the engine from 6.2-litres to 4.0-litres and adopting technology such as stop-start, the Mercedes’ engineers have managed to reduce CO2 emissions to 192g/km and deliver fuel economy claims of 27-28mpg, depending on which body style you choose, and, of course, how you drive it. The C63 and C63 S are quoted as having the same fuel economy figures.
Nevertheless, the reduced CO2 emissions will help make the new C63 a better cost effective choice for business users. Private buyers can take note of the news that residuals are strong, with some experts calculating that the entry-level C63 saloon will have retained around 50 per cent of its new value after three years which makes the Mercedes C63 an attractive option come trade-in time.
Prices for the C63 saloon start at around £67,000. The estate versions cost an extra £1,000, while the Coupe an additional £2,000 and the cabriolet around £6,000 more than the saloon. To own the more powerful S model you will need to fork our about £9k more.
Rivals include the Alfa Romeo Giulia saloon, the BMW M4 and M3 saloon as well as the Audi RS4 and RS5. Whilst these cars all score some points over the C63 family in minor areas, none is able to beat them overall.
All models of the C63 share the interior styling. C63s all get an electronically adjustable steering column, a new steering wheel with touchpads for controlling the main MB Command interface and the standard-fit widescreen digital dashboard. In fact, apart from the steering wheel and the firm fully electric operation body-hugging seats, the cabin interior is much the same as the standard C class. Coupes and cabriolets obviously lose head and legroom in the rear seating, but these variants are never intended to carry big adults any distance in the back anyway.
The driving position is good overall, the one weakness being the transmission tunnel that bulges sideways so you lose a little space for your left leg. Forward visibility is fine, but the coupe, cabriolet and, to a lesser extent, the saloon are tricky to see out the back of. The estate, by comparison, is fine. Either way, don’t worry, because all-round parking sensors and a rear-view camera are standard. (A 360deg camera is a worthwhile optional extra.) All models come with adaptive LED headlights that are not only bright but can shape their light spread to remain on the main beam without dazzling oncoming traffic.
Optional upgrades range from a carbon-fibre or wood finish centre console with an analogue clock, right up to coloured seatbelts
The estate has a 490-litre boot, expanding to 1,510 litres with all the seats folded near-flat, the coupe around 355 litres and the two sedans around 480 litres
No matter which model you choose, all Mercedes C Class have a huge range of safety features,
A tyre-pressure monitor, automatic headlights, cruise control and the reversing camera are all included. With all those safety features, it’s no surprise that the C-Class was awarded the maximum five-star NCAP rating when it was crash-tested . It earned 90% for adult occupant protection and 84% for child protection.
AMG C63 models also have the Driving Assistance pack. This adds features such as adaptive cruise control (which matches the speed of the car in front), a blind-spot warning sensor and lane-keeping assistance, which is able to gently steer the car back into its lane if you drift out.
The coupe and cabriolet both come with the sports exhaust as standard, and this is probably one of the extras you’ll want on the others! It sounds tremendous, even when pottering along, let alone when the right foot is down
If you’re looking for a top of its class sports saloon, coupe, cabriolet or estate, you can’t go wrong with this one. It really has just about everything! Contact your friendly Prestige account manager on 01254 916 450 or simply email us on [email protected] for more information about the range of Mercedes Benz C63’s Hippo Prestige have to offer.