The C63 AMG and the case for AMG’s final V8-powered C-Class

mercedes c63

Since the original in 2006, the AMG C63 has been perhaps Mercedes-Benz’s most exciting sedan car.

The idea supporting its existence has always been charmingly simple: a massive V8 engine, homed in a compact four-door sedan bodyshell.

Although it would appear potentially foolish to transplant a very powerful V8 engine into a compact sedan, Mercedes-Benz and AMG’s engineers have always managed to ensure an excellent marriage of reality and purpose with the C63.

The current C63 is a somewhat poignant car. AMG is feeling the pressure, like many other high-performance automotive brands, to evolve its products towards better sustainability.

Leveraging off Mercedes-Benz’s enormously successful F1 racing technology, the future for C63 is a smaller engine, with hybridization. That means that the current C63, is likely the last V8 version we will ever see.

I have been fortunate to have driven all the generations of C63 and their derivates. Two things have always defined them: noise and traction. Or rather: a lack of traction.

There is no circumventing physics: a hugely powerful V8 engine will easily overwhelm the available traction fo only two rear rubber contact patches. Distribute the power amongst double that traction surface (by channelling some of it to the front wheels) and you harness much greater control.

What makes the 2020 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG so compelling – and accomplished – is its sophisticated on-demand all-wheel drive system.

To many purists an all-wheel drive system is ruinous. Blunting the steering responses and of little use in dry driving conditions. But the AMG C63 has an all-wheel drive system which is expertly calibrated to enhance the driving experience. It always shepherds the driver, when they are attempting to be too bold, mid-corner.

The C63’s cabin features an array of contemporary digitisation and all the luxury and convenience you’d expect from a seven-figure price point Mercedes. But it also incentivises a dedicated driving experience, with an excellent seating position and steering wheel adjustability.

Steering helm thickness, seat shape and pedal position are all tailored to provide the perfect foil for the 4-litre bi-turbo V8’s 375kW and 700Nm.

I suspect the C63’s most fundamental appeal remains its adjustability. With all the car’s configurable settings engaged to ‘comfort’ mode, it is wonderfully docile to drive. Touch a pre-selected ‘Sport+’ configuration button and it instantly becomes a four-door sportscar capable of running with two-seater exotics.

Acceleration and sounds effects are dramatic. The C63 feeling every bit as quick as that figure of 0-100kph in 4 seconds, would suggest.

A wonderful evolution, proving the value of all-wheel drive for high-performance vehicles, the C63 is also the last of its type, for AMG. And that might make it a very good investment for long-term owners, who are eyeing the possibility of future classic status, which could very possibly be bestowed upon this last of AMG’s V8-powered C63’s.

The AMG C63 S retails for R1 680 000.

Feature image: supplied/Lance Branquinho

Lance Branquinho


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