The number of high-performance SUVs is growing every year, but if you’re on the market for a compact car that can blow away almost everything else on the road look no further than the 2021 Mercedes-AMG C63. It’s based on the Mercedes-Benz C-class, but has a twin-turbocharged V-8 engine making 469 horsepower in the C63 and 503 hp in the C63 S. The C63 also has a sportier suspension tune (you’ll notice a harsher ride) and some exterior differences compared to the regular C-class that add some aggression to its appearance. It’s available as a sedan, a coupe, or a convertible, and it goes like it’s got a Saturn V booster rocket strapped to its roof. Plus, it has a legitimately luxurious interior and plenty of up-to-the-minute technology, so you’re not trading anything away in return for the performance.
What’s New for 2021?
Very little has changed about the C63 this year. A 12.3 digital instrument cluster, once optional, is now standard across the lineup, as are the panoramic roof in the sedan variant and more of the paint colors from the non-AMG C-class sedan.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While you might prefer the style of the coupe or convertible, our money would go to the sedan. It’s lighter than the coupe, easier for rear-seat passengers to get in and out of, plus we like the understated appeal of a fast four-door. It’s hard not to want the more potent C63 S model, but the performance differences are slight. Only the S offers the nine-step AMG Traction Control system, but we found it too intrusive in the C63 coupe that we drove in Lightning Lap 2019, so it’s not a must-have. Instead, we’d get the standard C63 sedan and add the Exterior Lighting package to get adaptive LED headlights and pop for the AMG Performance front seats, because they are exceptionally supportive.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2021 Mercedes-AMG C63 and C63 S have a hand-built, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine. In the C63, it makes 469 horsepower and 479 lb-ft of torque. The C63 S ups the performance ante with 503 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. Both engines use a nine-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph on the regular C63 and 180 mph on the S. In our testing, the C63 S went from zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and ripped through the quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds at 122 mph; we haven’t tested a C63. In Lightning Lap 2019, a C63 S coupe turned in a 2:57.1 lap, which puts it right behind the discontinued Cadillac CTS-V on our all-time list. All C63s come standard with an electronically controlled limited-slip rear differential and an AMG Ride Control suspension with adaptive dampers. Dynamic engine mounts are included on C63 S variants. Handling is excellent. Equipped with summer tires, the C63 S managed 1.02 g’s of lateral acceleration on our skidpad and braked from 70 mph to a stop in just 157 feet. This capability comes at the price of comfort, as the ride is harsh over rough pavement.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
There’s no difference in EPA fuel economy between the C63 and C63 S, but there are differences among the body styles. The sedan is rated at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway ratings. The coupe and cabriolet are both EPA-rated at 17 mpg in the city, but the coupe has a 26-mpg highway rating versus 24 for the convertible.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Black faux-leather/microfiber upholstery is standard in the regular-strength C63, while the S models have leather seats. Both versions get a choice of wood and aluminum interior accents. We’re big fans of the available AMG Performance seats, which have a ventilation feature. Although you can load up on technology in the cockpit, this is an elegant car at heart, and both the materials and the ambience are in keeping with the high asking price. The C63 sedan has a 12.6-cubic-foot trunk, while the coupe has a smaller 10.5-cubic-foot cargo hold. Both have a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat. The C63 cabriolet has a standard power-operated soft top (available in three colors) and offers 8.8 cubic feet of cargo space when the top is up. Its rear seats fold in a 50/50 split.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The standard setup in the 2020 Mercedes-AMG features a 10.3-inch infotainment interface with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration and two USB ports. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is standard, as is a Burmester surround-sound audio system is also standard, and a six-month trial for SiriusXM satellite radio. Options include factory navigation and a head-up display. You might also want to consider the optional AMG Drive Unit, which provides quick-access buttons on the steering wheel to adjust the car’s many drivetrain and chassis settings. Another option is AMG Track Pace, which lets you store performance data from your vehicle in the infotainment interface when you’re driving on a road course.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The AMG version of the C-class hasn’t been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), although the regular Benz-branded C-class managed to snag a Top Safety Pick+ award from IIHS. Every C63 comes equipped with basic safety features such as a forward-collision system and blind-spot monitoring. Additional driver-assistance aids are available, including Level 2 semi-autonomous features such as adaptive cruise control with automatic resume capability in stop-and-go traffic and lane-change assist (which can steer into the next lane for you). These items are part of the Driver Assistance package, which must be purchased in combination with the Multimedia package. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision system with automated braking
- Standard blind-spot monitoring, available blind-spot assist
- Available adaptive cruise control with semi-autonomous driving mode
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG’s warranty is nothing special for this price range. Instead of complimentary scheduled maintenance, there are prepaid maintenance plans available at extra cost when you purchase your C63.
- Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
More Features and Specs