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Mercedes C63 AMG Buyers Guide

When Mercedes first introduced the C63 AMG in 2008, it won the hearts of car enthusiasts all over for packing an astonishing 451HP from it’s 6.2L V8 as seen in other more expensive AMG variants. In typical AMG fashion, the C-Class was upgraded throughout from the menacing front fascia to other performance enhancements that included a 7 speed transmission and massive brakes. With a retail price just north of $55,000, it put the C63 right in the middle of the luxury sedan segment which is home to the Lexus ISF, BMW M3, and Audi S4. With typical new car depreciation, the C63 is now a great bang for the buck which is why one resides in our garage. Here’s a quick buyers guide.
When Mercedes introduced the C63 in 2008, it was unheard of to shove a 451HP engine into a car as small as the ~3800 lb Mercedes C-Class. However, it was all Mercedes needed to do to compete with the more agile and similarly priced BMW M3. The M156 engine is a masterpiece and can also be found in the much more expensive and luxurious models like the E63 AMG, CLK63 AMG Black Series, and even the SLS AMG. Although badged as a 6.3L for heritage sake, the engine is a 6.2L pushing 443 lb ft of torque that will easily roast the tires. Other key performance improvements was also massive six piston brakes and a 7G Tronic Speed Shift transmission. All this equated to a magazine test best of 3.9 sec to 60 MPH and a quarter mile time of about 12.3 @ 116 MPH. Needless to say, Mercedes had created the perfect sleeper.

From 2008-2011, the C63 remained virtually unchanged except for small improvements such as better iPod integration, new design mirrors, rear view back up camera functionality and more in 2010. The major changes occurred in 2012 when Mercedes did a complete facelift and interior update. On the outside, the front had a new headlight design and front bumper. The rear looked almost identical except for newer LED tail lights and a slightly different rear diffuser. This new design was quite controversial as purists thought the C63 looked more tame compared to its predecessor. The interior had changes throughout with most noticeably a larger in-dash display and brand new dash, steering wheels, and even colors. Perhaps the best change was a new 7 Speed MCT transmission which was a semi-automatic transmission without the torque converter and a wet clutch in its place. This improved shifts to dual clutch speeds of 100 milliseconds. The C63 AMG was also now available as a coupe.

As if the C63 AMG wasn’t insane enough, the team at AMG created the Black Series that was essentially a race car for the streets. Larger brakes, bucket seats, alcantara & carbon fiber accents, adjustable suspension, and LSD were all standard. There was no mistaking a standard AMG to the Black Series thanks to the much more aggressive styling thanks to the widebody design. Power was bumped up to 510 HP by borrowing rods, piston, crank from the SLS parts bin. If you had $130,000 to spare then you could be one of the lucky 800 people to own one of these.

A C63 AMG is a great bargain now as you can find 2008-2009’s in the mid 30’s. There are not that many cars out there that can give you that kind of bang for your buck or even horsepower for your buck while cruising in luxury. We were able to find a great deal on a 2009 C63 AMG by following our luxury car buying system that was fully loaded with all options and package except for the performance package. Best of all, there was a transferable extended factory warranty for the piece of mind. Our ownership experience has been great so far with no issues to report, even for a second hand car. Only routine maintenance had to be done which consisted of an oil change and brake pads.

All cars have their issues and it’s only right if you know about them before buying a car. For one, the C63 gets horrible gas mileage. It could be our heavy foot but most likely its the thirsty 6.2L V8. You will rarely see 20 MPG and realistically get about 16 MPG and it can be as low as 11 MPG if it’s a lot of stop and go. Second, the rear tires do not last long at all and probably won’t last more than 7,000 miles. You could blame it on the torque and narrow 255 tires but many forum members have reported that dialing out the toe with an alignment extends tire life tremendously. The single biggest issue you need to be aware of is the headbolt issue on 2008 to mid 2010 C63’s. This is a problem where the headbolts fail and causes a loss of coolant that ultimately causes an engine to hydrolock and fail. Many owners have reported this problem on the forums and paid out of pocket costs upwards of $20k if no longer under warranty.

Rumor has it that the C63 is detuned from the factory since the same motor can be found with 500+ HP in the E63, CLS63, SL63, S63, and so on. With a simple ECU tune, you can unleash the full potential of the M156 motor and raise the horsepower to ~420 to the wheels. Another very popular performance mod are headers which free up the flow in the restrictive stock units. The car itself is actually louder than you’d think but a simple resonator and cat delete will make the C63 scream. A combination of all these will easily put the C63 AMG to around ~450 RWHP but the problem lies with traction. Wider tires are difficult to fit due to the offsets of the wheels but an aftermarket LSD will help put all that power to the ground. As far as other mods, a wide range of carbon fiber pieces are available and can really enhance the appearance of the C63.

The C63 AMG has proven to be a great car to own even though it’s main purpose is for daily driving. But don’t be fooled as the C63 AMG can double as a great weekend car. No real complaints other than the horrible MPG but the sound, torque, and experience more than make up for it. If you are in the market, we would recommend a 2010 C63 AMG as it has better available options and can still be found with a warranty still and may be outside of the headbolt issue build dates. The car itself can be enjoyed as is stock but if mods are a must, we would recommend an ECU tune to liven the motor and a secondary/resonator delete to bump up the decibels a little bit. The P30/P31 Performance Packages are not a must in our opinion as you can get similar aftermarket parts for cheaper. A great deal would be a 2010 C63 AMG under $40k with all options and still under factory warranty OR a 2012 C63 AMG which is updated inside and out but without the headaches of the headbolt failing thus not requiring a warranty in most cases. 2012s can be found for low $40k now.

After putting 13,000 miles in a year on our C63, our monthly payments were only $140 per month. Before you being your search, learn how you too can drive a C63 AMG for less than a Toyota Camry at Exotic Car Secrets.

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