The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 S AMG is the epitome of a sleeper car.
Engine: 4.0L turbocharged V8, 503 hp, 516 lb-ft
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
US Pricing: Starts at $72,825 after destination charges, $82,655 as tested.
CDN Pricing: Starts at $84,995 after destination charges, $96,295 as tested.
EPA Fuel Economy: 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, 19.9 mpg observed
CDN Fuel Economy: 13.4 L/100 km city, 9.6 L/100 km highway, 11.8 L/100 km observed
In automotive circles, the term “sleeper” is used to describe a car that looks unsuspecting on the outside, but packs serious performance under its sheet metal. It may be hard to believe that anything from Mercedes’ tuning arm AMG could be considered a sleeper, but it’s true.
To the untrained eye, the new C 63 looks a lot like a regular C-Class. Despite wider front fenders, a unique hood, quad exhaust tips, rear deck lid spoiler, a rear diffuser and a swath of AMG badges, I can’t fault someone for brushing the C 63 off as a regular C 300 or C 400. Part of the blame lies with Mercedes-Benz. For years, the brand has allowed AMG accessories, including badging, to be equipped on lesser C-Class models, inherently muddying the waters.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review
But, there is one aspect that separates the C 63 from all other C-Class models – the sound. With a loud V8 burble that shames most modern muscle cars, the C 63 S AMG got a lot of second looks from people on the street as they came to realize this suave Mercedes-Benz was the one making all that unholy sound.
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The Power, The Sound
It’s the same racetrack-ready V8 explosion found in the amazing Mercedes-Benz AMG GT S. Which makes sense, since the C 63 utilizes a hand-built 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 that is very similar to the one found in the AMG GT. In the regular C 63, it packs 469 hp, but in the more potent C 63 S, it blasts out 503 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers laugh at the BMW M3 and Audi RS 5.
Even with Mercedes shrinking the size of the C 63’s V8, the AMG V8 burble we’ve come to love is still there. The C 63 comes standard with a sports exhaust system that features a bypass flap for more sound when conditions call for it. Equipped in my C 63 S test car is the optional performance exhaust system, with three electronically controlled exhaust flaps, one of which I can open up any time I please, thanks to an exhaust button on the center console. And if that’s still not enough sound, toggle the car into race mode, an exclusive feature for the S version of the C 63, and even more sound bellows out.
For all the big hoopla I’m making about the car’s sound, at first I didn’t think this car was that loud, even with the exhaust wide open. Mercedes does such a good job keeping unwanted noise out of the car; it’s kind of muted inside the cabin with all the windows buttoned up. But roll down all the glass and that frantic V8 symphony penetrates the ear drums like a jack hammer through Jello. Best of all, this is 100% authentic noise. No fake sounds being pumped through the speakers here.
As Fast As It Is Loud
And unlike a Honda Civic with a five-inch exhaust pipe MacGyvered onto the engine, there is a lot of performance to back up all this sound. The C 63 S exhibits no delay in getting power to the ground, as the car leaps forward when hard on the throttle. As speed builds, so does turbo boost, and the C 63 only gets faster. Mercedes claims the C 63 S can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and continue to a limited top speed of 180 mph. Yeah, that sounds about right.
Unlike a lot of other current AMG products, power is still sent exclusively to the rear tires in the C 63 through a seven-speed, multi-clutch automatic transmission, It’s not quite a dual clutch transmission, but rather an automatic that features extra clutch packs and no torque converter.
Agile for a Hefty Sedan
The C 63 S is not light. Weighing in at more than 3,900 lbs, it has a lot of heft for such a moderately sized car. But AMG tries to counter the car’s weight with an adaptive sport suspension and sticky 245 mm tires up front and 265 mm tires in the back.
At slow speeds, the car’s mass is always apparent and it feels disconnected. But put it into race mode, rip through some fast corners and everything changes. Mercedes has done a great job setting up this car. It’s so easy to steer the car through corners with help from the rear tires, in large part due to the C63 S’s exclusive electronic rear locking differential. Regular C 63 models retain a mechanical limited slip rear differential.
S Gives You More
And while on the topic of S version exclusivities, a set of dynamic engine mounts are included in the wilder C 63. When hardened, the engine is more connected to the chassis and the driver, offering better handling and more feel for the driver. This helps deliver some of the best steering feel and response I’ve ever encountered in a Mercedes-Benz sedan.
The whole car just gives off an aura of confidence to drive it fast. Hammer the gas while taking a slow speed corner and the C 63 is more than willing to hang the tail out, especially with the stability control in sport mode or fully disengaged. Want to break the tires loose at 50 mph in second gear? The AMG is ready and willing.
Inside, the C 63 S’s interior can be fancied up with optional authentic carbon fiber trim and AMG performance seats. These options along with others raise the C 63 S AMG’s base price by about 10 grand from $72,825 after destination charges to an as-tested total of $82,655. A quick warning about the performance seats, though: As good as they are at supporting the driver during hard driving, after a long period of time behind the wheel, thighs can begin to go numb.
The Verdict: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Review
The AMG C-Class continues to be about power, sound and luxury. Like a reformed bad boy, it features suave moves and a prim and proper face for the world to see. But deep down, when it’s time to party, the C 63 S AMG’s true colors come out. It’s a rip-roaring, V8-snorting, baby-Benz beast.
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