Used Vehicle Review: Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG, 2008-2015

Model: Mercedes C63 AMG

Vehicle Type: Performance Sedan or Coupe

The C63 AMG can be daily-driven with ease. Room for four adults and a decent trunk make this an easy performance car to live with.

History/Description:  Here’s a twisted idea: take an elegant Mercedes C Class sedan and stuff an enormous V8 engine under the hood. That’s the concept behind the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, which arrived in Canada for model-year 2008 and went on to battle the likes of the BMW M3 and Lexus IS-F with a healthy dose of German-engineered firepower.

The Mercedes C63 AMG amounts to a souped-up version of the brand’s popular C-Class sedan and coupe, after a complete working over by the Mercedes-Benz AMG performance group for maximum bad-assery. Unique chassis upgrades, steering systems, brakes, wheels, tires, body panels and driveline components culminate to give drivers a high-tech, go-fast weapon.

Styling upgrades helped set this AMG model apart. A lowered stance, larger wheels and trademark quad-exhausts helped leave an unmistakable impression with other motorists following behind. The entire package rides atop an Agility Control suspension system, which offers selective damping of the sport suspension.

Owners say that C63 is peaceful enough to drive on the daily, thanks to its automatic transmission with numerous shift modes, and the engine’s remarkable low-end torque, which provides effortless acceleration at very low revs when driving gently. Feature content is fitting of a compact luxury car, and shoppers will find navigation, premium audio, xenon lights, push-button start, a rear-window sunshade, and more.

Engines/ Trims: Though it’s a bit of a sleeper where looks are concerned, the C63 AMG packs serious heat under its hood with no less than 451 hp from a beastly 6.2l V8. A performance package bumped the output past 480 hp, and axed the speed limiter, pushing the C63’s terminal velocity past 280 km/h.

Drivers can expect 0-100 km/h in about four seconds, en route to a quarter-mile pass in the 12-second range. This one’s a four-wheeled missile! Look for 0-100 km/h sprints in the low to mid four-second range, depending on the model selected, and the presence of the power-boosting Performance Package. Thrust from the 6.2 litre naturally-aspirated V8 is directed to the rear wheels by the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 7 transmission with race-start function, which combines the smooth uptake of a torque converter with the lightning-fast shifting of a dual-clutch transmission. Paddle shifters execute on-command gear changes in milliseconds.

What Owners Like: Owners rave about performance, sound effects, subtle styling upgrades, and the fact that the C63 AMG can be daily-driven with ease. Room for four adults and a decent trunk make this an easy performance car to live with. All high-tech, luxury features fitting of a Mercedes are on offer, too.

What Owners Dislike: Common complaints typically centre around a rough ride, heavy fuel consumption, and limited headroom for rear-seat passengers. Some owners complain of fussy placement of some of the controls around the steering-wheel, too.

The Test Drive: The big issue first: some C63 owners have reported issues relating to cylinder-head studs, which hold the C63’s V8 engine together internally. If these studs fail, catastrophic engine failure is likely. Warning signs of this rare but serious issue could include low engine coolant levels, or signs of engine coolant mixing with engine oil, or being burned in the combustion chambers. Be on the lookout for white, sweet-smelling smoke from the tailpipes, and have a mechanic check the engine coolant for signs of oil, and the engine oil for signs of coolant.

Quick Fix: Mercedes-AMG C 63

Poor performance or difficulty in getting the engine to start, or to stay running, are other warning signs. If any are apparent on your test drive, walk away. Note that this issue didn’t seem to be widespread, and may have been exasperated by modifications to engine parts or software – so seek out a stock model, with no modifications. It’s relatively unclear how widespread this issue is within the owner’s community, or which model years are most affected, so shoppers are advised to seek out any additional powertrain warranty coverage that may be available, to protect themselves from immense repair bills, just in case.

Here’s some more reading, and some more.

Sporadic performance and poor throttle response could be the result of a bad throttle position sensor, which may or may not illuminate a check-engine light. Be sure to have a dealer technician double check if any issues are noted with throttle response, and remember that a simple computer systems scan can reveal plenty about potential electronic and sensor-related issues that could be waiting to surface.

Sit with the C63 AMG in Park and turn the steering wheel fully from one side to the other, quickly, a few times. Any knocking or clunking sound from beneath the vehicle in the process could be the result of a faulty or worn-out bushing in the steering or suspension systems. Not a major issue, but one that should be investigated by a mechanic ahead of your purchase.

Then, scrutinize the feel and sound of the steering system, focusing in on any unwanted sounds or sensations felt through the wheel. In addition to the bushing-related clunk, notchiness or lumps in the steering action, as well as whining sounds, may be caused by a bad power steering pump that’s about to fail. This issue seems to stem from aggressive driving, for instance, doing burnouts or skids at high revs with the wheel fully cranked. You’ll want to be sure the C63 you’re considering hasn’t been formerly owned by a burnout enthusiast or aspiring parking-lot drift champ. Hard driving won’t hurt your C63, though abuse will. Here’s some more reading. Again, this is another fairly rare issue that could get expensive in a hurry, if you’re not protected by warranty.

Other checks are fairly standard for a high-performance car. Approach the C63 assuming its tires and brakes are cooked, until you and your mechanic confirm otherwise. Budget for a full fluid change, including brake fluid, differential fluid, engine coolant, and transmission fluid, if the service history of the model you’re considering is unclear.

Run the C63’s COMAND infotainment system through its paces. The COMAND system, if equipped, utilizes a central command knob to control hundreds of on-screen functions. Be sure the knob controller responds as expected in all directions. Any lagging, hesitation or non-functionality of the central infotainment system, and the COMAND controller, may be fixable with a hard reset or software update. Check with your local Mercedes dealer – as faulty parts and modules, which are significantly pricier, could also be to blame.

Finally, confirm proper operation from the Bluetooth phone system, power seat adjustments, and navigation system, confirming that the system is accurately displaying the vehicle’s position on the on-screen map, and that it’s able to accept and navigate to a destination. If that’s not the case, a bad GPS module may be to blame. If the vehicle is fitted with parking radar, be sure it works, too – especially if the vehicle has ever been winter-driven, were salt could corrode the wiring connectors to the in-bumper sensors.

The Verdict: Because of at least one serious issue documented by the online C63 AMG owner’s community, shoppers are advised to seek out a newer, lower-mileage unit from a Certified Pre-Owned program, opting for any extra warranty coverage that may be available.

Here’s a list of recalls for the C-Class in general, and not all are necessarily applicable to the C63 AMG. Ask your dealer service counter for assistance in determining which, if any, recalls the C63 you’re considering may be subjected to.

The C63 AMG can be daily-driven with ease. Room for four adults and a decent trunk make this an easy performance car to live with. 6/2/2016 10:28:48 AM