The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 43 is priced from $59,900 in Canada, $55,950 in the US.
The AMG C 63 S goes for $84,400 in Canada, $75,700 in the US.
This car is the most AMG of all Benz’s sedans.
Within the extremely condensed large compact high-powered luxury sedan segment, the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S is the least diluted, most adrenaline-fueled of the small lot. There’s never a dull moment to be had when at the wheel of this car and that might be just a bit too much.
I’m still a long while away from driving the new G80 BMW M3 and I suspect that it will be monstrously capable and fast but at this very moment, if we’re to include the Audi RS 5, the C 63 S is quite nearly rage on four wheels by comparison. And while that may be appealing, for the most part, it does become irritating when the sole purpose of being behind the wheel is to head to the in-laws’ for dinner.
The issue is not with the car per se, it’s with the tune. For all the drive modes and numerous ways to set up the C 63 S, it’s only lacking a “city” or “cruise” mode where throttle, transmission, and dampers could be programmed to be “lazier.” The two main culprits are the chassis and the transmission.
The C 63 S is fitted with the AMG RIDE CONTROL Sport Suspension with 3-stage damping which, when set in comfort should be comfortable. Clearly, AMG’s definition of comfortable differs from mine. In this setting, the 63 S is perfectly set up for long-distance cruising on a smooth road, such as parts of the Autobahn, for example. In town, in most Canadian and some American cities, they offer far too little damping and give to be comfortable.
As well, the AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed automatic transmission is prepared in much the same fashion. Even in Comfort mode, the transmission is programmed or geared in such a way that low-speed upshifts, from 1-2 especially, are always jerky. It’s as though the ‘box is saying “I know we’re in Comfort, but what if you want to nail it like right now?”
That essentially summarized the bugs with the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S. To put it succinctly, the car is always “on”, or dialed from 9.5/10 even when relaxed. The upside is that this can be extremely energizing. Many of us have gone out for a drive to get our minds off whatever might be going on in our lives. The C 63 S is like a shot of heroin without the downsides other than possible withdrawal.
So Much Power
The hand-built Mercedes-AMG twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 produces 503 horsepower from 5,500 to 6,250 rpm and 516 lb.-ft. of torque between 2,000 and 4,500 rpm. It also gives new meaning to velocity, especially in a sedan. It too is always on full alert, ready to propel the car forward. From a standstill, the C 63 S will reach 100 km/h in only 4 seconds in Sport+ but it actually feels faster than the number suggests. The reason is the immersive experience that is the V8 at WOT, exhaust system belching out incremental growls, and the impossibly relentless delivery of power.
A sensitive behind, under heavy acceleration, will feel the AMG eLSD lock up to put all the power to best use. Remember, unlike the Audi RS cars and the new BMW M3 and M4, the C 63 S is RWD only. If you’re not prepared when the throttle pedal hits the floor, you may frighten yourself. The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S can be extremely viciously violent. This is the opioids binding with the receptors in the brain and delivering that intense rush.
The car is intoxicating but there’s never really a “low” to driving it, and that can be exhausting.
This Is Why Most Are All Black
Physically, the C 63 S is all C-Class with a few specific cues. Certainly, if your car is all-black with the AMG Night Package and the matter-black 19-inch wheels, then it’s unlikely to be a regular C 300. But, in any shade of grey, silver, or white, it could be mistaken as one. This is a pro and a con. Either way, the C-Class is an attractive sedan. If it was a wagon, it would be magical.
The cabin is also very C-Class fair with a few notable differences. AMG Nappa leather power front sport seats are standard and very supportive, as are a sport steering wheel and AMG gauges. If mostly because of the A-Class and other more recent Benz vehicles, the C-Class’ dashboard and various displays look slightly dated.
For $84,400, the C 63 S features a 7-inch central display, satellite radio, and a number of other features. As tested, the car included the Technology package (12.3-inch IP, more), Premium package (10.25-inch display, more), carbon/aluminium interior trim, and the AMG Carbon Fibre/DINAMICA performance steering wheel. The latter includes redundant controls for the dampers, transmission, and Drive Modes buttons.
Certainly, the cabin is extremely premium and could be described as comfortable. Today’s flagship AMG car is the GT and like it, the C 63 S’ chassis is unable to dial itself down to a level that would make the car comfortable to drive in the real-world. I experienced similar unpleasantness in an E 53 sedan a few years ago as well. The inability of these cars to have an “off” switch limits their appeal somewhat as we don’t all live near the Autobahn or a track.
As a hyper-powerful executive luxury sedan, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S is spectacular. A calm and collected daily driver it is not. This is why I’d get an AMG C 43 wagon.