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Star of the class: Mercedes-AMG C63 (W205), 2015 - 2023 Buying Guide

Updated: Apr 10

W205 C 63 AMG buying guide

Everything you need to know about buying a Mercedes-AMG C 63 (W205, 2015 - 2023). From its powerful biturbo V8 engine to handling, body styles, common issues and market assessment.

Mercedes-AMG C63 (W205) buying guide; Background

The year is 2015 and the wider motoring press had been writing for months about how the introduction of a twin-turboV8 to replace the naturally aspirated 6.2 litre unit found in the 204-series C 63 AMG could drastically change its character, or how it may affect the sound and that any forced-induction C 63 might never be able to live up to the model that it was set to replace.

Then the car arrived and after trudging through paragraphs talking about the old model, it soon became clear that not only was the new C 63 something of a masterstroke, but the engine was rather good too.

Indeed, in the real world the 205-series C 63 represented a step-change in the smallest member of the AMG saloon family with the car being every bit comfortable and usable as it is thrilling to drive. I count myself as incredibly lucky to have sampled nearly every flavour of this generation of C 63 over the last few years so here is everything you need to know if you're thinking of getting one of these compact rockets for yourself.

Eight is the magic number.

Let's start with one of the main reasons you may wish to add one of these cars to your driveway: the engine. Codenamed the M177, this AMG-developed 4.0 litre biturbo V8 developed more power and torque than the 6.2 litre M156 engine that it replaced, whilst using less fuel. Official WLTP consumption figures quoted the C 63 as being able to get a combined 26 mpg - I have had closer to 30 on an extended, relaxed run. The engine arrived in two states of tune with the C63 putting out 469 bhp and 650 nm torque. The higher-rated, and ultimately more popular, C63 S turned this up to 503 bhp and 700 nm. The performance stats would remain unchanged throughout the model's production run. In pre-facelift models, this performance is sent to the rear-axle through the 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT transmission whilst post-facelift models gained the 9-speed 'box. More on them later...

W205 C 63 AMG buying guide

In either state of tune, the engine delivers peak torque across a wide portion of the rev range; 650 nm is available from just 1,750 rpm in the C 63 and 700 nm comes in at the same point in the S-model. With lightning-fast response times and very little lag from the two turbos, one might think that the C 63 is a car that has to be driven with the lightest of throttle applications to stop it from spinning the tyres like a crazed lunatic but you would be wrong.

This is exactly what I was expecting the car to be like when I drove it for the first time on moist roads in Hertfordshire but I couldn't have been more wrong. The engine is very progressive and surprisingly gentle with its torque delivery when driving normally. You get the sense that the car wants to run rather than walk, granted, but it is an engine that is as easy to drive at one tenth as it is at ten tenths. The groundswell of torque is evident at all times and even a light tickling of the loud pedal will press you into the drivers seat with a decent degree of force.

The engine is best enjoyed when you are driving it to enjoy it though. The engine and exhaust play together masterfully to deliver a full range of notes and sounds ranging from the Chinook-esque grumble at idle to a boisterous bellow at the 7,000 rpm red-line crescendo. The sound is utterly addictive and the M177 rewards you for using every rev that it has available. As standard, every AMG C 63 came with a switchable exhaust which would open or close valves depending on the driving mode; in the Comfort setting, the valves would remain closed whilst in Sport, Sport+ and Race the valves would open and the people in the adjacent county would be able to hear the engine singing.

A commonly specified option was the AMG Performance Exhaust which allows you, the driver, to adjust the exhaust irrespective of the driving mode; this would eventually become standard equipment for UK-bound models and I always recommend having it left in its loudest setting at all times - you can thank me later.

W205 C 63 AMG buying guide

Buying a Mercedes-AMG C63 (W205); Ride and handling

It sounds the part, but is the C 63 only at home on straight roads? In short, no. AMG went to town on making the C 63 handle properly so that it could get closer to the arch rivals from BMW and Audi, along with the newly released Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Up front, the suspension features a four-link setup and a widened track compared to the lesser C-Class models; the rear sees a multi-link design with a lot of camber engineered in.

All models are equipped with AMG RIDE CONTROL three-stage adjustable dampers so the car can be compliant on a motorway run or sharper on a twisty section of road. In any setting, the car remains flat through the corners with only the faintest hint of roll detectable when you're pushing on. The suspension settings adjust automatically when the driving mode is changed, but this can be altered independently by a button next to the infotainment control wheel.

C 63 AMG buying guide W205

W205 C 63 AMG buying guide

The steering is alert and weighty - although there is a tiny dead zone in the first bit of wheel movement. The car is confident in its responses to your input and that goes both ways, allowing you to trust that the car will follow where you want it to go - perhaps that's a long-winded way of saying that the car is eager to corner and as willing to flow through a long, sweeping bend as it is to hop across roundabouts in Milton Keynes. The car can change directions impressively quickly although to me it always feels as though it favours more gentle, direct and smooth steering inputs rather than constant corrections.

For a car that is often pictured facing sideways rather than forwards, I've only once had a C 63 snap out on me and send the rear end out! Admittedly, that was a three year old car on equally old, mismatching tyres. All models get some sort of locking differential at the rear with a mechanical setup for the C 63 and an electronic diff for the C 63 S. The S also gets dynamic engine mounts to reduce vibration from the powerplant.

It is an exciting car to drive and one that will keep you on your toes as the knowledge of it being quite nose-heavy with an equally heavy amount of torque going to the rear wheels only being ever present in your mind. It's a car to pay attention to and keep on top of but for me, that makes it thoroughly engaging to drive.

C 63 AMG buying guide W205

2018 facelift and gearboxes

Whilst little changed externally as part of the facelift - new headlights, the Panamericana grille replacing the twin-blade design, and the saloon getting C-shaped rear light detailing - the car got quite the overhaul inside. The infotainment moved on a generation with the new system known as COMAND ONLINE NTG5.5 bringing in a new 10" central display and a customisable 12.3" drivers display. Wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and 64-colour ambient lighting all became standard. A new steering wheel was added with a new design that replaced the black plastic controls with two touchpads for operating both displays; the one on the left operates the infotainment whilst the one on the right controls the drivers display. Cruise control moved from a stalk to a collection of buttons on the right-hand spoke whilst the left-hand spoke features buttons for calls, the voice control system and volume.

Towards the end of production, the steering wheel gained two round dials mounted to the lower part of the steering wheel. One Porsche-style rotary dial can be used to quickly shift drive modes whilst the other can be used to quickly toggle on or off things like the switchable exhaust or the suspension settings. In addition to the Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race (C 63 S only) and Individual drive modes, the facelift model gained a Slippery drive mode which reduces engine response to improve driveability when the weather turns a bit British.

W205 C 63 AMG buying guide

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C 63 AMG buyers guide

Power levels remained exactly the same with the only drivetrain update being the replacement of the 7-speed multi-clutch gearbox with a 9-speed unit. The shorter initial ratios mean rapid-fire gearchanges under acceleration and a quicker feeling car as the speed rises, even though the 0-62 time of around 4 seconds did not change with the introduction of the new box.

Whilst the gearbox could occasionally trip over itself by being a bit too keen to upshift and place it in 6th gear when it only needs to be in fifth before realising this and dropping a cog, the transmission can still drop multiple ratios in a split second to quickly unleash maximum overtaking performance when required. It is quick to shift and smooth whilst doing so in normal use; even when locked into its manual setting and in its raciest of drive modes, the gearbox is never unpleasantly harsh with its shifts...unless you make the mistake of putting it into first gear - every automatic Mercedes likes to pretend that first gear doesn't exist and will reluctantly lurch itself into that gear when you manually ask it to.

When in manual mode, the gearbox will not automatically upshift when it hits the rev limiter. This is something that I have seen countless cars being criticised for not doing which I personally think is ridiculous; surely if a car can stop itself from reaching the rev limiter and providing an almightily unpleasant feeling of hitting a wall, it should, right? Well, clearly not. So when you are making the most of the lovely, cold-to-touch shift paddles for every shift, keep an eye on the rapidly rising rev counter and shift before it bangs into the rev limiter.

W205 C 63 AMG buying guide

Creature comforts

Whilst most people focus on the AMG part of the name, it's important to remember that the first part of the car's name is Mercedes and the C 63 gets a great deal of kit as standard. Electric seats, navigation, DAB radio, cruise control, split-folding seats, LED headlights and more all come as standard. Other than the mild mechanical differences, the equipment lists for the C 63 and C 63 S remained pretty similar throughout their time on sale in the UK.

Pre-facelift models could be optioned with the Premium Package which initially comprised of matrix LED lights, the Burmeister surround sound system and a panoramic roof. Post-facelift models were Premium as standard with Premium Plus getting the kit that used to be part of the Premium Package in pre-facelift models.

Still with me? The easiest way to tell which spec a particular C 63 is involves a close look; silver speakers and a glass roof means top spec and the more buttons by the central control wheel, the merrier. Tinted windows were initially an optional extra for a long time so don't be surprised if you find one with clear glass all around!

There were always some slight differences between the C 63 and C 63 S, however. The standard C 63 got 18" wheels as standard whilst the S wore 19" rims. Different styles and colours were available with the popular forged cross-spoke wheels being 19" on the front and 20" at the rear. The seats in the C 63 are thickly padded three-piece items whereas the S got a slim two-piece bucket seat with a fairly firm base. Early models had a lot of individual optional extras available, but these were amalgamated into the standard specification or the option packages as production went on. If in doubt, reach out to the seller or to your local Mercedes-Benz dealer and ask them to provide a build sheet for the car which will detail all equipment and options fitted at the factory.

C 63 AMG buyers guide

C 63 AMG buyers guide

Any special editions?

Yes. The Edition 1 was the launch edition for the C 63 S Coupé and featured matte grey paint, black wheels with a yellow flange, three yellow stripes, carbon fibre wing mirrors and aerodynamic elements to set it apart visually from the rest of the range. Towards the end of the production run, the C 63 S gained a catchily named Night Edition Premium Plus model which was fully loaded as standard; black exterior trim and wheels were matched with the Premium Plus specification and the Driving Assistance Package for radar-guided cruising. Fittingly, in recognition of the end of production of the V8-powered AMG C-Class, the model bowed out with the Final Edition. This coupé-only model featured much the same kit as the Edition 1 of 2016 with carbon fibre accents, matte grey paint and black wheels but each model came to the UK with an indoor cover and a badge on the C-Pillar featuring the AMG crest.

What should I look out for?

The most common things to break on any C-Class of the 205 series, AMG or not, are the window switches which would snap after some use. This mostly affected the drivers side control panel.

Coil packs are hit or miss; if they go, the engine will misfire and become a V7 which is one of the most bizarre sounding things I've ever heard. There are four coil packs per engine with each one sending electricity to two spark plugs each. The electrically adjustable steering column can get stuck in position and be reluctant to move in any direction or just point-blank refuse. For the cabriolets, the two-piece wind deflector known as AIRCAP can get stuck in place if unused. The finish on the black window surrounds for Night Package and Night Edition models can fade and look patchy after a few years and a few machine washes.

C 63 AMG buyers guide

Every C 63 I've seen has worn its tyres out in the middle first. Tyre wear is affected by a million and one things, of course, but the model has a lot of negative camber at the rear so the high speed stability comes at the cost of tyre life. The drivetrain is strong and seemingly able to cope with some light tuning; a Superchips remap will bring the output up to 569 bhp and 821 nm whilst DMS Automotive offer a tune to 625 hp and 810 nm.

As with any performance car, service history is key. Whether it's manufacturer or specialist, make sure it has it. Mercedes-Benz has a record of every service carried out within the dealer network or at approved independent service centres - if you're unsure, just ask your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. Ensure that any C 63 you look at has had its 1,500 mile running-in oil change and rear differential oil change. If there is no evidence of this having been done, either walk away or get the oil flushed straight away. Service intervals are every 12 months or 12,500 miles with a brake fluid change every two years.

C 63 AMG buyers guide