When the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG (2008-2014) went out of production, naturally-aspirated AMGs were no more. A pity. Like its arch-rival the E92 BMW M3, the C63 had a V8 engine – displacing 6.2 litres – endowing it with a typically-AMG, polished, hot rod persona.
Subscribe to evo magazine
evo pulled the above duo together on six separate occasions to crown an overall victor in the BMW M3. However, the margins were slim: where the AMG fell down dynamically, the M3 was unflustered and totally composed. Away from comparisons, the C63 is a true thriller and wonderfully indulgent; receptive to large angles of slip, tyre-smoking action and of course boasting the archetypal AMG soundtrack.
Derived from the W204 C-class, the AMG C63 launched in the UK as a saloon and estate, its M156 6.2-litre V8 developed 451bhp at 6800rpm and 442 lb ft of torque. Hooked up to AMG’s impressive, seven-speed torque converter (Speedshift Plus 7G-tronic) transmission the C63 dispatched 0-60mph in 4.4sec and topped out at a (limited) 155mph. This was raised to 174mph through the optional Performance Pack, which also brought uprated suspension and brakes, a carbonfibre boot lid spoiler and the all-important limited-slip differential. The latter was struck from the Performance Plus Pack, introduced in 2010, along with the higher-grade suspension. Substituted in were lightweight pistons, conrods and crankshaft out of the SLS, boosting power to 480bhp – the engine mods having been previewed in the 513bhp ‘DR520’ model.
In 2011 came a facelift and the coupe version, which spawned the range-topping 510bhp Black Series model. New front-end styling and a revised gearbox – delivering snappier shifts and an extra ‘S+’ mode – constituted the refresh and formed the basis for the runout model, the Edition 507, in 2013 with 500bhp and a beefier brake setup.
By and large values for used C63’s are levelling off after steep initial depreciation. However, values for the most collectible and cleanest cars are inflating so now’s the time to buy.
|Max power||451bhp @ 6800rpm|
|Max torque||442lb ft @ 5000rpm|
|Transmission||Seven-speed automatic,rear-wheel drive|
|Top speed||155mph (limited)|
|Price new||£56,665 (2011)|
The standard and Performance Pack Plus engines are ‘pretty much bulletproof’ according to Ollie Stoner of Mercedes Specialist Prestige Car Service. Reports of early cars suffering from valve-gear wear (camshaft lobes and tappets) are known but rare, and head bolts have snapped but these occasions are rarer still. Another infrequent fault, is sticky injectors, which stay open flooding the bore with fuel; the resultant hydraulic pressures created can break conrods.
While the above faults are unusual, it’s worth having a specialist carry out an inspection. An engine rebuild can come to as much as £8k, the top-end alone could be £3k-£4k. ‘The facelifted C63 [from 2011] is mostly trouble-free,’ says Ollie, ‘and is coupled to a better gearbox.’ Oil consumption is high, so you’ll need to regularly check the dipstick.
‘The automatic gearbox is extremely reliable,’ reckons Ollie. We’d recommend an LSD-equipped car – on track and in fast road driving it transforms the handling. Even so, you can retrofit an aftermarket LSD, Quaife’s ATB LSD is a popular choice, and often looked to as an upgrade on the standard issue LSD. On the subject of traction, it’s worth talking tyres. On budget boots the AMG’s handling is ruined and grip reduced, a worrying thought in a 500bhp sports car.
On occasion you’ll come across a leaky damper and high-milers will need new bushes, but the suspension is largely trouble free. Listen out for knocks when passing over bumps, it normally indicates there’s some slack in the steering rack – it’s a relatively easy fix.
With great power comes great responsibility – for the brakes. They come in for a lot of punishment hauling the C63 down from speed, fortunately replacing them isn't too expensive. Standard front discs are £68, but a set of front pads are dearer at £200. The Performance Pack’s floating discs are closer to £500 a piece though, while a full set of the Performance Pack Plus composite discs can be as much as £2000. You can eke 25,000 miles from a set of pads if you’re careful, however it’s likely you’ll need to swap out the dscs at the same time due to their short lifespan – more powerful brakes are a popular upgrade.
Body, interior, electrics
Rear-drive and huge power is often the recipe for an accident, so take your time to check for crash damage. As expected the cabin is well screwed together, but the front seat bolsters can suffer from wear from ingress and egress. The electrics are sound, but the software governing the engine and gearbox may be out of date, so take it to a specialist to download the updates.
Prices for official Mercedes-Benz parts. Cheaper alternatives are available through independent specialists. Tyre price from blackcricles.com. All pricesinclude VAT but exclude fitting charges and are correct at time of publishing.
|Tyres (each)||£105.53 front, £117.31rear (Goodyear Eagle F1Asymmetric)|
|Front pads (set)||£237.84|
|Catalysts||£2469.60 (left),£998.40 (right)|
|Spark plugs (set)||£136.32|
Prices from prestigecarservice.co.uk, including VAT. Servicing is mileage- and age-dependant: your car’s official Mercedes Digital Service Book (DSB) will advise on what your car needs and when.