Long a popular choice for car buyers venturing into the luxury segment for the first time, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class was fully redesigned for 2015, made roomier and given a new, more stylish look inside and out with the usual complement of high quality materials throughout the spacious cabin.
Though it no longer is the “Baby Benz” of the Mercedes family, a role now assumed by the less-expensive and smaller CLA, the upgrades ensure that the C-Class doesn’t figure to lose its prominent place in the automotive world.
The C-Class also got a new, smaller-but-more-powerful engine (two when you get down to it) for its AMG performance-oriented models.
The German automaker ditched the naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 of the previous generation for a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 that not only revs up the power numbers but is more fuel efficient as well. With that change, the company also modified the name to Mercedes-AMG 63 and 63 S sedans.
There are actually two engine versions. The V8 in the C63 ups the horsepower ante to 469 and torque to 479 pound-feet over the 451/443 of its bigger predecessor. The C63 S is tuned to send 503 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque to its rear wheels via a seven-speed automatic transmission with manual gear selection via paddle shifters.
Fuel mileage numbers are 18 miles-per-gallon city, 25 highway for the new engine, a considerable improvement over the 13/19 of the previous powerplant, yet the zero-to-60 mph times are a couple of ticks quicker — a flat, 4.0 seconds for the C63 and 3.9 for the C63 S.
There are multiple settings for drive modes (comfort, sport, sport-plus, and race) that allow you to choose how sporty you want to make your driving experience, but even the comfort setting delivers quick throttle responses and a bit firmer ride than you might expect. Not particularly uncomfortable, mind you, just firmer than what you usually get from the luxury genre.
Of more note than the ride is the position of the high resolution, 8.4-inch screen for operation of the COMAND system, which includes the navigation system. It sticks up from the dash just above the center stack and seems like an afterthought, kind of like when Mercedes once had cupholders that were mounted on the end of an arm that stuck out into the front-seat passenger’s footwell. Not a deal breaker by any means, but it just seems kind of odd.
The list of standard equipment in the AMG models includes (but is not limited to) the usual run of luxury features like a surround sound system, keyless go operation, collision prevention assist plus, a monitor that detects drowsiness in the driver, satellite radio, power-heated memory seats — the usual run — and the S models get some extras like 19-inch wheels over 18s, a special AMG steering wheel, and Nappa leather throughout the interior as standard.
There’s an assortment of AMG touches as well that make give both C63 versions unique treatment. Some, like special illuminated door sills, dynamic exhaust, and the three adaptive suspension settings are standard. Others, like a carbon ceramic brake system, performance seats, a carbon fiber rear deck spoiler, and an AMG performance exhaust with selectable modes, are optional.
Base MSRP for the 2016 C63 is $65,250 and for the C63 S $73,250, a hefty increase over the C300 sedan at the other end of the portfolio that lists at $38,950.
Add in a few options, including packages that include such features as blind spot warning and lane-keeping assist, and the price for the AMG C-Class models approaches $90,000. That’s really getting in high cotton, but oh my! What fun it is to drive!
For a look at the C63 S and some more details, check out the accompanying slide show.