- Forceful V-8 power
- Paddle-shifted automatic
- Quick, responsive steering
- Hugely capable brakes
- Snug sport seats
- No manual-transmission option
- Light on backseat room
- Somewhat busy exterior design
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG sports a fluid ride, spot-on handling, and shrieking power to make it the most accomplished C-Class ever built.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is no ordinary C-Class. It's the fastest of them all, a point that comes across easily from its flared and creased bodywork and is driven home by its amazing 451-horsepower V-8. Spun from the entry-level Mercedes-Benz sedan, the $58,225 C63 AMG gets a big V-8 engine, a sport-tuned suspension, big brakes, and a paddle-shifted automatic as it goes hunting for the likes of the Audi S4, BMW M3, Lexus IS-F, and Cadillac CTS-V.
While it starts from the same four-door shape as the conventional C-Class, the C63 AMG looks the bahn-burning part, thanks to wheel flares, a bubbled-up hood, new front and rear bumpers, new badges, air intakes, and LED taillamps. The somewhat busy exterior shape could stand less visual jazz, but the roofline's tapering arc is growing more appealing over time. It's certainly more dramatic and edgier than the former C-Class, and the C63 in particular looks more expressive and imposing when it's on the road. The C63 AMG's interior was refined last year and has a simpler, cleaner design with large and clear AMG gauges, metallic trim on the shift paddles and dash, and an audio system hobnailed with identical black buttons. A pop-up navigation screen rises from the middle of the dash when in use.
The in-house tuners at AMG transform the unassuming C-Class into the slightly wicked C63 and alter its mood from efficient to ferocious. The rear-drive C63 AMG is powered by a massive 6.2-liter V-8 that rumbles out 451 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. The first-ever power unit developed entirely by AMG spins out breathtaking numbers; the C63 shoots to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and can press a top speed of 155 mph even higher, to 186 mph, with an optional sport pack. There's a seven-speed automatic transmission-with no manual option (sorry, shifty types)-and it's a great substitute, with less pedal ballet and more focus on rapid, decisive gear changes. The C63 AMG tightens handling down to the bare essentials, with almost no body roll, as well as a revised front and rear suspension, a wider track, quicker steering, and big 18-inch wheels with 14.2-inch front disc and 13-inch rear disc brakes. It's a bravery-enhancing drug. And if it's not aggressive enough, Mercedes offers an AMG Performance Package that adds a limited-slip differential, two-piece perforated disc brakes, and an AMG steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara. At 9/10ths, the handling is controllable, brilliant, with just a touch of dynamic softness in its ride control. Fuel economy for the C63 is rated at 12/19 mpg.
What it gives in performance, the 2010 C63 AMG takes away in rear-seat room. Front-seat passengers have plenty of room in snug-fitting AMG sport seats. The driving position in the 2010 C-Class is quite good, between the telescoping steering wheel, the power driver seat, and the car's tall, glassy cabin. Not so in the back, where taller adults will have to lean over to fit. All rear passengers will find legroom at a premium, even when the front passengers inch forward. The C63 AMG's black upholstery adds to the sense of confinement. The trunk space is big enough for a family's long weekend of luggage, though, at 12.4 cubic feet. The C-Class's fit and finish benefit from fewer pieces, fewer cutlines, and simpler styling, and are much improved over the prior generation.
Both NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) have tested the 2010 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and the results fall a bit shy of what TheCarConnection.com has come to expect from the brand. The federal agency gives it a four-star grade for frontal protection, but five-star ratings in side impact. The IIHS, conversely, calls the C-Class "good" for front-impact protection, but hasn't tested its side-impact strength. The C63 AMG comes equipped with dual front, side, curtain, and pelvic airbags, and they offer a rearview camera and rear-seat side airbags.
Most everything you'd expect is standard on the 2010 C63 AMG, including power sport seats; leather upholstery; an AMG gauge pack; a sunroof; dual-zone climate control; Bluetooth; Sirius; a telescoping steering wheel; cruise control; and a garage door opener. Option packages include a leather package, a multimedia package; and the AMG Performance Package. Stand-alone options include iPod integration, a roof spoiler, a rearview camera, rear side airbags, a six-disc CD changer, and alternative wood trim.