If you do not know what you are in search of, this black 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63 S sedan would not look far more particular than your common C Class. In an age the place its opponents develop an increasing number of aggressively styled, Merc has determined to maintain its most hardcore C sedan trying pretty understated. It is a transfer that appears to say, “this automotive is for me, not the gawkers at curbside.” I dig that.

However in the identical manner fashionista can see the refined variations between an off-the-rack go well with and a tailor-made designer label, fans will instantly know the distinction between this handcrafted AMG and the C300 parked close by. They are going to acknowledge the distinctive entrance and rear bumper, the “V8 Biturbo” badges and 19-inch wheels that fill the arches. They’re going to see the marginally extra athletic trip top and listen to the exhaust’s burble and know that this automotive is one thing particular.

AMG efficiency

Let’s begin by diving proper into the engine bay the place you may discover a hand-built and signed Four.Zero-liter biturbo V8 AMG engine on show. There’s little or no in the best way of plastic engine cowl right here, and you’ll see the “sizzling inside V” turbochargers plainly between the 2 cylinder banks. The C63 makes 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, however our C63 S has been massaged and re-tuned to ship 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque from the identical energy plant.

The stronger C63 S makes 503 horsepower from its hand-built and signed V8 biturbo engine.

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That juice flows to the rear wheels by way of a 7-speed multiclutch computerized transmission (MCT). This gearbox operates largely like a traditional computerized transmission however makes use of a moist startup clutch as an alternative of a torque converter for improved efficiency and effectivity. The benefit is that it could actually hearth off Zero.1-second upshifts and rev-matched downshifts in its guide mode, launch more durable than a torque converter computerized might and deal with extra torque than a dual-clutch transmission.

The motive force controls the perspective of the C63 S and its AMG coronary heart with a Dynamic Choose wheel on the middle console which toggles between Consolation, Sport, Sport+ and Race modes. Every setting adjusts the efficiency of the throttle response, transmission programming, suspension damper firmness, and traction management. Our instance was additionally outfitted with an AMG Efficiency exhaust that will get louder and fewer restrictive within the Sport and Race modes. After all, every of those methods may also be individually adjusted with buttons additionally discovered on the middle console. 

Beneath the subdued look is a suspension that is firmer, a wheel monitor that is wider for higher stability in turns and tires which are wider and stickier than these on non-AMG C Class fashions.

Zero-to-60 mph occurs in simply three.9 seconds for the C63 S (or Four.Zero within the C63) with a prime velocity of 180 mph (simply 155 for the C63). Aiding drivers in reaching these instances is a Race Begin launch management system that is virtually too simple to activate. Simply put the automotive into Sport+ or Race mode and seize each paddles shifters for a second to activate Race Begin. Then simply plant the brake pedal, matt the throttle and launch the brake for optimum acceleration.

500-plus ponies on the rear wheels on damp and twisty roads could be scary in a automotive just like the Shelby GT350, however the C63 S is not scary in any respect. It goes concerning the matter of velocity in a most business-like method with tons of grip, glorious steering really feel that is by no means too busy and throttle responsiveness and energy supply that by no means appears to let up. There is a implausible roar that comes from the exhaust, however not one of the crackle and pop that you simply’d get from, say, Jaguar’s 5.Zero-liter V8. The C63 S is a severe automotive for severe drivers. That is the type of automotive that makes whipping up a mountain street at virtually double the velocity restrict really feel like simply one other day on the workplace.

That is to not say it could actually’t lower unfastened and have a little bit of enjoyable, simply that the game sedan’s efficiency limits are so beneficiant that it takes a deliberate effort to, say, break the rear wheels slightly unfastened in a nook and ideally the protection of a race monitor to push the C63 S to lose its composure. Fortuitously, AMG has seen match to equip the sedan with massive 14.2 inch efficiency disc brakes all-around — and bigger 15.Four-inch entrance stoppers on the C63 S — which ought to be capable of deal with the calls for of closed-course driving.

Consolation

Nevertheless, most of my days with the C63 S had been spent round city and in commuter visitors.

The C Class chassis additionally makes for a really comfy day by day driver; simply pop its Dynamic Choose change into the Consolation mode and really feel the AMG Journey Management suspension settle into its softest setting, the elective AMG Efficiency exhaust cool down, and the 7-speed computerized transmission chill out. The V8 biturbo engine, which could be fairly ferocious at velocity, nonetheless feels effortlessly athletic on the interstate. The sedan prowled the busy streets round Roadshow’s San Francisco HQ like a lion on a stroll, with its deep growl hinting at its energy.

That is no stripped-down race particular; the C63’s cabin is about as comfy because it will get on this class.

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You will most likely need to disable the stop-start system underneath most circumstances. The system stops the engine when idling — say, at a visitors mild — to avoid wasting gas. And whereas it fires the engine up immediately once I lifted from the brake pedal, it appeared to take ages to truly re-engage the transmission and begin delivering energy once I reached the fuel pedal. I get the sensation that Mercedes has smoothed over the MCT’s engagement to maintain the V8 from jerking the sedan in the course of the stop-to-start transition, nevertheless it largely simply left me with an inconsistent accelerator pedal really feel round city. Fortuitously, the system is simple to toggle off with only a single button press.

Pushed in a relaxed method, the C63 S will ship 20 mixed mpg (or 18 metropolis and 24 freeway mpg) which is on par with the likes of the Alfa Romeo Giulia and the BMW M3 which use smaller 2.9L and three.0L turbocharged V6 engines, respectively.

COMAND cabin tech

Alongside the best way, I used to be handled to a effectively appointed cabin with with black Nappa leather-based trim, an AMG carbon-fiber dashboard, silver metallic accents and beautiful saddle brown quilted Nappa leather-based seats. The outside design is extraordinarily understated, however the inside of the C63 S simply pops in the absolute best methods.

Now that is “only a C Class” and its AMG sport focus considerably limits the creature comforts obtainable, so do not count on therapeutic massage seats. Nevertheless, I used to be happy to search out Benz’s shade ambient lighting and cabin perfume methods on the choices record, in addition to a number of extra helpful creature comforts like hands-free trunk entry with energy closing and a tasty Burmester premium audio system that appears virtually pretty much as good because it sounds.

The Burmester audio system appears to be like virtually pretty much as good because it sounds.

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The dashboard is the place I begin to run into just a few hangups. The C Class continues to make use of an older era of Benz’s COMAND infotainment. I’ve a variety of points with this technique: My largest gripe is with the awkward three-tier menu system on each display that’s complicated to make use of, poorly organized and makes even the big eight.Four-inch show appear cramped and cluttered. I am additionally not an enormous fan of the COMAND touchpad controller, which by no means actually felt pure.

The voice command is sort of good, permitting me to make use of pretty pure language to enter addresses or locations, and the onboard maps are shortly and crisply rendered. The “Dynamic Route Steering” navigation would typically ship me right into a floor street visitors jam whereas making an attempt to keep away from freeway congestion, nevertheless it’s no worse than most OEM visitors software program.

Largely, although, I discovered it disappointing to return to utilizing this setup after experiencing the much-improved newer era discovered within the S Class and the upcoming MBUX system at CES this yr. I am undecided when the C Class is due for its subsequent refresh, however I am hoping we see higher tech as a part of a midcycle improve earlier than the following era, which is probably not right here till 2021 if earlier generations are any indicator.

The COMAND infotainment system will get the job achieved, however I a lot want the newer system discovered within the S Class.

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One last cabin tech oddity is one among packaging. You may get the C63 with both the aforementioned navigation system (a $2,200 bundle) or test a special field to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity for $300, nevertheless it would not seem you can have each. It is a bizarre option to need to make, particularly in households the place one driver loves smartphone integration and the opposite simply needs to make use of onboard maps, however I feel the less-expensive possibility is the higher alternative for this era.

Driver help and security methods

This AMG model of the C Class would not commerce any of its obtainable security tech within the pursuit of efficiency. You possibly can nonetheless spec the entire driver help options obtainable to the sedan starting from the AMG head-up show to the wealth of superior driver help methods (ADAS).

The usual loadout consists of energetic LED headlamps with computerized excessive beams, driver-attention monitoring, blind-spot monitoring, rear-view digital camera, crosswind help and precollision alert methods, however a single $2,250 Driver Help Bundle provides a lot of the obtainable ADAS in a single go. It is a dear bundle, nevertheless it completely transforms the day by day driving expertise with options that increase security like pedestrian-sensing ahead collision alert with computerized braking, a rear-collision security system, lane-keeping help steering and extra. The blind-spot monitoring system will get smarter with steering help to keep away from collisions and rear cross-traffic braking help when reversing.

The bundle additionally makes commuting simpler and extra enjoyable with adaptive cruise management that works on the freeway and in stop-and-go visitors with low-speed steering help.

One other $1,Zero90 checkbox provides a surround-view digital camera system and Benz’s Parktronic semi-autonomous parking help, which may routinely steer the automotive right into a parallel parking spot on the contact of a button. Mercedes’ interface for this technique is not as intuitive as I would like, nevertheless it’s a worthy addition for nervous parkers and concrete dwellers who need to keep away from curb-rashing these $1,250 19-inch AMG solid wheels.

The full bundle

The 469-horsepower 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63 Sedan begins at $66,100, whereas the stronger 503-horsepower AMG C63 S Sedan goes for $73,700 earlier than a $995 vacation spot cost. With choices and packages, our instance had an as-tested worth of $90,500.

If tech is not your jam, the C63 S is fairly near perfection. Nevertheless, at these costs, I count on a extra spectacular dashboard expertise.

Antuan Goodwin/Roadshow

Too wealthy in your blood? Properly, Benz additionally affords the nonetheless fairly candy 362-horsepower C43 sedan, however for the cash, the C63 S is a fairly superior trip. It is highly effective and composed underneath strain, but additionally comfy and enjoyable on a commute. The outside design might be probably the most understated in its class, which is a robust optimistic for these weary of overly aggressive designs like that of the Lexus IS-F. And it is a good automotive that may be loaded up with clever driver help tech. If not for the irritating dashboard tech, which simply needs to be up to date quickly, and the awkward stop-start fuel-saver system, the C63 S could be a near-perfect sport sedan.

However it’s not alone on the prime. BMW’s M3 sedan is probably the C63’s most fierce rival providing a barely totally different, extra nimble efficiency and luxury stability. Cadillac’s ATS-V can be a favourite suggestion of mine for drivers extra involved with lap instances than commuter consolation. In the meantime, upstarts just like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and (do not chortle) Kia’s 

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