Find a car review

Make
Model

2013 Mercedes C250 AMG review

AMG has created a handling pack for the C-Class Coupe, which is claimed to sharpen up the driving experience. Is this the junior C63?

Evo rating
Price
from £35,085
  • Handling pack works well, sharpens driving experience
  • Rest of the car can't match it, especially gutless four-cylinder engine

What is it?

A new AMG version of the C-Class coupe, although we should warn you not to get too excited. For a start, this is basically a handling pack applied to the four-cylinder C250. And for a second, Mercedes has put ‘AMG’ into the title of every single C-Class coupe, from the basic C180 AMG Sport all the way to the C63 AMG Black Series.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

This car’s official title is the C250 AMG Sport Plus with AMG Handling Package. Trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Technical highlights?

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

This is a mild reworking of the standard C250, although with more changes than the ‘handling pack’ title might lead you to believe. The suspension is firmed up with stiffer springs and dampers, plus some mild geometry changes to the front end. There’s also a new exhaust and a remapped ECU which, although it doesn’t add any more power, is claimed to sharpen throttle responses. The code for the seven-speed autobox has been similarly punched-up.

Despite the implicit promise of the ‘C250’ badge that you’ll find a creamy six under the bonnet, this Coupe’s engine has been downsized into an eco-tuned 1.8-litre turbocharged four-pot, with a relatively paltry 201bhp.  

How does it drive?

Let’s start with the good news. The chassis changes are pretty much entirely successful, giving keener front-end responses, better-feeling steering and a degree of throttle steerability that really does make this feel like a junior C63. Despite Merc’s worrying tendency to splash ‘AMG’ branding on pretty much anything, the C’s handling kit was created by the team at Affalterbach, and it shows.

The handling balance is pretty much spot-on, certainly on the slippery British tarmac we drove the car on. The rear tyres surrender their grip progressively under mild provocation, the half-way ‘ESP Sport’ setting allowing a bit of slip and still holding out the prospect of ultimate salvation if it all goes horribly wrong. Ride quality is good, too – there really aren’t any obvious downsides.

Now the bad news: the farty, breathless engine and perpetually confused gearbox. The raspy exhaust sounds more Japanese tuner than premium German. And, because the engine needs to be revved to deliver its modest best, you spend lots of time listening to its buzzy soundtrack. The turbocharged engine responds quickly enough, but it lacks pace – with acceleration further blunted by the autobox’s ceaseless hunting for the right gear. It almost feels like the transmission is waiting for a surge of power that never comes – kicking down, pausing, and then often kicking down again a second or two later when not much happens.

Advertisement - Article continues below

You can, of course, take charge of the gears yourself, but in manual mode the changes are slow enough to sap most enthusiasm. 

How does it compare?

Badly. The AMG handling pack is a relative bargain - £530, and a box well worth ticking on the basis of our experience. But the C250 itself looks anaemic when compared to rivals like the BMW 325i M-Sport Coupe, which is cheaper, more powerful and still comes with a six-cylinder soundtrack. Closer to home, the same AMG handling pack is available with the 250 CDI diesel engine, which offers near-identical power and the option of a manual gearbox. 

Anything else I should know?

In Germany this car is called the ‘C250 Engineered by AMG’, but Mercedes in the UK decided that name was too confusing – hence the even dafter title.

Specifications

Engine1796cc 4-cyl, turbocharged, petrol
Max power201bhp @ 5500rpm
Max torque228lb ft @ 2300rpm
0-607.2-sec (claimed 0-62)
Top speed155mph (electronically limited)
On salenow
Advertisement

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/mclaren/201759/new-mclaren-gt-review-woking-muscles-in-on-aston-martins-home-ground
McLaren

New McLaren GT review – Woking muscles-in on Aston Martin’s home ground

Is McLaren’s first grand tourer just a toned-down supercar, or something more nuanced and special?
17 Sep 2019
Visit/review/201600/milltek-volkswagen-up-gti-review-tuner-takes-supermini-to-145bhp
Review

Miltek Volkswagen Up GTI review

VW’s Up GTI is already a favourite of ours. Can Milltek’s upgrades improve it further?
16 Sep 2019
Visit/features/17721/the-best-family-cars-that-are-fun-to-drive
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22773/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-chosen-by-those-in-the-know-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - chosen by those in the know

The perfect choice for those looking to extract every last drop of performance, we run down Goodyear's Eagle F1 SuperSport range
12 Jun 2019