FIRST DRIVE | 2019 Mercedes-AMG C63 S means business
The sedan, coupé and cabriolet now feature a sharper exterior and even more agility
The Mercedes-AMG C63 — in its saloon, coupe and cabriolet variants — has become cleverer and more involving to drive.
Even if by the tightest of margins, this enhanced C63 S has become the performance car that has it all — including the ability to choose how much intervention you want from a nine-stage AMG traction control system borrowed from the AMG GT R.
The mighty biturbo 4.0l V8 engine with its 375kW and 700Nm outputs remains untouched. Depending on body style, the C 63 S accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds (coupe), 4.0 seconds (sedan) and 4.1 seconds (cabriolet). The C 63 S sedan and coupé have a top speed of 290 km/h, and the C 63 S cabriolet reaches 280 km/h.
However, there’s now a simpler launch control which now requires only the left-foot hard on the brakes and the right foot deep inside the carpet to launch. A new Speedshift MCT 9G transmission replaces the old seven-speed unit and in addition there’s now a rear-axle limited-slip differential fitted as standard for even more precise traction control.
As part of the C 63 S revitalisation the car retains many of the protocols from the previous car but they now function alongside new AMG driving trickery. Take the typical six driving modes: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Individual and RACE which are normally used to tailor the engine, transmission response, steering, suspension damping and exhaust sound. They now work in conjunction with a new AMG Dynamics stability programme to enhance agility and safety.
It electronically apportions engine torque precisely according to selected driver reaction levels which have been classified as either: Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master. Or you can simply disengage every conceivable electronic safety aid and drive it in the unofficial Legend Mode. The programmes are selected using new digital toggle buttons situated on the steering wheel for added convenience.
The biggest visual cue of the MY19 car is a new grille with vertical slats that was previously known as the Panamericana grille, and now renamed the AMG-specific grille. The rear light cluster design also changes and the powerful headlamp gain extra bulbs.
The front wheel arches have also grown slightly outward. The rest, including darkened 19-inch wheels, four exhaust pipes, more pronounced sills and a dainty boot-lid spoiler provide the interesting mix of inconspicuous aggression with steroidal prominence.
On the inside the current Mercedes-Benz dash look of fluid surfaces mixed with sporting touches is applied. Optional AMG Performance seats now provide the possibility of side bolsters that can be perfectly adjusted to the body contours of front occupants by means of built-in air cushions.
My conclusions from driving the MY19 car at the media launch earlier this week is that it accelerates cleanly and claws harder onto tarmac. Its steering responses felt more alert than ever.
It exudes a new texture of enhanced drivability and suspension pliancy whatever the frame of mind, be it mimicking Ken Block or cruising down your favourite back road. What it doesn’t get with the tranche of new enhancements is the massive central MBUX screens, continuing with the single floating screen of old.
Either way, it’s still very much the noisy smoke machine but now on par, if not the better precision tool, than its segment rivals.
Mercedes-AMG C 63 S sedan — R1,546,600
Mercedes-AMG C 63 S coupe — R1,609,100
Mercedes-AMG C 63 S cabriolet — R1,728,700