What's the news?
We've had news of a facelift for the Mercedes-Benz C-Class family. Then we had details of the updated Mercedes-AMG C 43 versions of the Saloon and Estate cars. And then Mercedes-AMG confirmed the Coupe and Cabriolet models would also be updated and given the '43' treatment. So, with all this refreshed C-Class groundwork done, now it's time for the big daddy - this is all about the 2018MY Mercedes-AMG C 63 and C 63 S, in all four body styles.
All of the Saloon, Estate, Coupe and Cabriolet variants of the C 63 are updated in one fell swoop, and with the same two power outputs to choose from (476hp and 650Nm for the C 63, 510hp and 700Nm for the C 63 S), that means there are fully eight different C 63s. New features on the exterior visuals front are discreet additions to what went before - other than the addition of the aggressive Panamericana grille, of course. There are redesigned transverse fins in the outer air inlets of the AMG 'A-wing' at the nose of the cars; the aerodynamically optimised AMG light-alloy wheels are finished in Tantalite Grey and they're 18-inch 10-spoke items on the C 63, with 19s of a five twin-spoke variety as standard on the C 63 S and available as options for the C 63; and at the back, the quad tailpipe finishers have been remodelled in high-gloss chrome, to accommodate a new, 'more expressive' diffuser - the C 63 S versions get a full diffuser board, as well, to further up the aesthetic menace.
Finally, all models enjoy a body-coloured rear spoiler - it's a lip item on all body styles save for the Estate, which benefits from a roof spoiler instead - while an optional AMG Aerodynamics package can be specified on the Coupe, bringing in a bigger front splitter, a rear spoiler with an integral Gurney flap, larger side skirt inserts, flics in the rear bumper and an even 'more expressive' diffuser insert at the back. All items in this package are finished in high-gloss black.
Much of the Artico man-made leather and Dinamica microfibre goodness that has always marked out the C 63 family continues, so we'll focus on the changes alone inside. Anthracite open-pore oak wood, open-pore walnut and longitudinal-grain aluminium for the doors are new finishes that are now all available, while there's a choice of black open-pore ash wood for the centre console. Further options include AMG trim in carbon fibre/light longitudinal-grain aluminium or matte silver fibreglass are offered.
For the leather upholstery, the already-available colour options are bolstered by an additional combination, which is Magma Grey/Black with Yellow contrast stitching. In the Saloon and Estate C 63s, diamond-quilted seats in Saddle Brown/Black or Platinum White Pearl/Black - borrowed from the Designo range - are also now on the order sheet. Talking of the chairs, the AMG Performance seats will henceforth feature climate controlled functionality, rather than just heating, and the Cabriolet comes with optional Airscarf neck-level heating.
Perhaps the easiest thing to spot - and the thing you will be dealing with all the time in whichever C 63 you choose - is the new AMG steering wheel in Nappa leather. It has a heavily contoured rim that provides a 'grippy shape', while the bottom is flattened-off. It also features built-in Touch Control buttons, as seen on the Mercedes E-Class, the right-hand pad controlling the instrument cluster and the left-hand pad the infotainment system. On the optional Performance steering wheel, digital displays built into the wheel itself display the drive programme selected and there's also a rotary controller to cycle the car through its dynamic settings. Funky.
Prior to the facelift, there used to be a difference between the rear axles of the C 63 models and the C 63 S versions. The former used a mechanical limited-slip rear differential, while the latter had a more advanced electronically-controlled unit with a 'Race' setting. Well, all C 63s now have this - the mechanical item has been dispensed with. That means there should be the sharpest possible driving manners, even if you opt for the 'mere' 476hp models.
Much of the hardware remains the same - we've already touched upon the mighty biturbo 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, with its two outputs, but the AMG Speedshift MCT 9G automatic transmission is also retained. Dynamic engine mounts can be found on the more powerful C 63 S versions of the C-Class. Beyond all this, Mercedes-AMG says it has worked heavily on the driving mode programmes, with six now available: these are Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual. Yet a new drive programme attribute called AMG Dynamics means you can store even more specialised settings, to set the car up for very specific driving situations, through four more 'agility' functions: Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master.
Last - but not least - the AMG Ride Control suspension continues, which is steel springs with adaptive dampers. Mercedes-AMG says it has altered the settings of these adjustable shock absorbers, too, to make all variants that little bit sharper to drive. Which is good, because even the least mentally rapid two variants - the 476hp C 63 examples of the Estate and Cabriolet - do 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds (the fastest, the C 63 S Coupe, runs the sprint in 3.9 seconds)... and all the C 63 S models have a higher threshold for their speed limiters as standard. No longer pegged to 250km/h - as per the C 63 and lesser C 43 models - the C 63 S Estate and Cabriolet models will do 280km/h where allowed, while the Saloon and Coupe cars go even higher; now topping out at 290km/h.
Tobias Moers, the CEO of Mercedes-AMG, said: "The AMG C-Class is our best-selling model series and therefore a key cornerstone of our company's success of recent years. We have therefore increasingly expanded our C-Class offer: customers can now choose between twelve models from the C-Class family. As part of the latest facelift, we have upgraded all variants of the model series even more substantially. This relates to the 43-series models and especially, of course, to the AMG C 63. The perfected driving dynamics and expressive design underscore the powerful, muscular character of the rear-wheel-drive icon."