Overview: Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG
Mercedes’ compact performance cars have been substantially revised. Some of the changes are small, but a fair amount of work has gone into making the more efficient and more pleasant to drive.
The most significant change to the ‘63’ is the introduction of AMG’s Speedshift MCT seven-speed sports transmission previously seen on the SL 63 AMG — no surprise, as they share an engine. This has a ‘Controlled Efficiency’ mode for general purpose use. Perhaps more significantly, it does not have a torque converter, using instead a wet start-off clutch. On a smaller scale, there is also a new power-steering pump. Between them, the new gearbox and steering pump are said to save around 10 per cent. in the NEDC fuel consumption test; the overall figure is now 12.0l/100km for the saloon and 12.3l/100km for the estate. These figures represent an improvement of 1.4l and 1.3l respectively over the previous models.
The output of AMG’s 6.2-litre atmospheric V8 is unchanged at 457PS. With the optional AMG Performance package, the headline output can be pushed up to 487PS. The uprated engines — of which more anon — deliver the same NEDC fuel results, suggesting that the differences are felt exclusively at higher crankshaft speeds.
Improvements are claimed to the cars’ agility, grip and ride comfort as a result of suspension tweaks. New assistance systems are either provided or available as options, and there is a new generation of telematics with internet access. And in line with the new C-class coupés, the AMG’s bonnet is now made of aluminium.
The AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed transmission offers four driving modes, double-declutching down-changes and a Race Start function. The Controlled Efficiency ‘C’ mode is programmed to provide early, comfortable upshifts to help the driver keep fuel consumption down. The ‘S’, ‘S+’ and ‘M’ modes deliver increased agility through faster, more responsive gear-changes and higher revs. Gear-changes in the ‘S+’ and ‘M’ modes take just 100ms, which is squarely in twin-clutch territory.
Mercedes-Benz has not announced any change to the C 63 AMG’s 6208cc atmospheric V8.
AMG Performance package
Strictly for completists, this offers an extra 30PS and shaves a token 0.1s off the 0-100km/h acceleration time. The increase in output somes from work done on the SLS AMG: the forged pistons, connecting rods and the lightweight crankshaft all come from the gullwing model’s engine. The reduced mass of the components — which are three kilos lighter than those of the standard version — allows the engine to rev more easily. Models equipped with the performance package can be identified by the variable intake manifold painted in titanium grey under the bonnet, the AMG high-performance braking system with composite front discs and red painted brake calipers all round, the carbon-fibre spoiler lip on the saloon’s boot lid and the AMG performance steering wheel.
The AMG sports suspension has been tweaked, with no major change. The running-gear features a unique front axle, reinforced rear axle and wider track all round. Elastokinematics (chiefly bushes) are stiffer; axle kinematics are revised with more negative camber all round; and the rear anti-roll bar is more substantial. New spring and damper rates have been introduced, largely to help reduce road noise and improve primary ride.
The AMG speed-sensitive power steering is geared at 13.5:1 — very direct.
Eleven new driving assistance systems, already established in the S-class and CLS, are now fitted as standard or are optionally available. These systems use radar, camera and sensor technology, and are designed to combat common causes of accidents, such as insufficient distance to the vehicle ahead, drowsiness and darkness. They warn the driver of a hazard or, if necessary, take active corrective measures.
- Adaptive highbeam assist
- Active lane keeping assist
- Active blind spot assist
- Attention assist
- Distronic plus
- Speed limit assist
- Parktronic including parking guidance
- Pre-safe Brake
- Reversing camera
- Lane keeping assist
- Blind spot assist
As a member of the new C-class, the C 63 AMG sports a new dashboard with an integrated display screen. There is now an all-colour, three-dimensional TFT display in the middle of the speedometer. Shift paddles are aluminium.
The AMG sports seats with integral head restraints and adaptive backrests are available from launch with combined Artico/Dinamica black upholstery. Dinamica is a new type of breathable man-made fibre which is pleasant to the touch and is characterised by low emissions and a high degree of lightfastness. The side bolsters of the AMG sports seats are covered in Artico while the centre panels of the seat cushions are upholstered with Dinamica.
The C-class sees the début of a new generation of telematics which will gradually be introduced in other model series. New features include greater operating convenience, larger displays, telephone directory transfer using Bluetooth, wireless music reproduction and a USB interface in the centre console.
The top-of-the-range COMAND Online system now provides internet access. When the car is stationary, the driver can surf at will. Integrated services include weather information and a local search function as well as the option of downloading a route that has been previously configured on a PC using Google maps and sent to the car.
The navigation system of COMAND Online also has added functions. New features include a 3D display with virtual city views. Also, routes can be recorded for re-use, specific personal destinations can be entered and stored, and three alternative routes can be displayed on the screen: one of the routes is intended to be particularly economical.
As a first in the C-class, the Becker Map Pilot makes a low-cost navigation function, which can also be retrofitted, available for the entry-level Audio 20 radio. Its chief advantage over conventional aftermarket sat-navs is integrated operation via the COMAND Controller and the Audio 20 display.
||C 63 AMG
|All figures for saloon.
* Electronically limited.