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2019 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Estate – Car Review – The family F1 car

2019 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Estate – Car Review – The family F1 car

No one really needs to introduce the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, it’s a well-known model that laughs in the face of many sports and supercars. Combining mind-blowing performance and estate practicality, your kids can wave goodbye to most performance sports cars as you pull away from them in a thunderous roar from its mighty V8. 

For those who don’t know, those very reasons are why Formula 1 use the C63 AMG S Estate as the official on-track medical car. It can bring all the equipment needed at breakneck speed, wherever it’s needed on the track. If it’s good enough for F1, then it’s got to be pretty good for everyday life. 

We can’t just take the F1 doctors’ word for it, we need to test it for ourselves, and compare notes. That’s right, we are taking one for the team, spending a week behind the wheel to review the Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Estate for you. I’m sure our sacrifice will be appreciated…

The Range
There are 5 variants of the C-Class estate available in New Zealand. Starting with the C 200 Estate (starting from $77,300), it then moves up to the C 220d Estate (starting from $78,800) and finishes with the C 300 Estate (starting from $91,400). The two remaining variants are both AMG spec. The AMG variants available are the C 43 AMG Estate ($126,400) and finally the C 63 AMG S (starting from $170,800). The 9-speed 9G-TRONIC transmission behind the engine and 4MATIC (all-wheel drive) is standard across the range.

As you’d expect, standard equipment levels are high. The C 63 S comes loaded with a lot of bells and whistles, heads-up display (HUD), AMG 19-inch alloy wheels, Multibeam LED intelligent lighting, panoramic sunroof, a performance steering wheel with Nappa leather, AMG sports pedal cluster in brushed stainless steel, black ash open-pore wood trim, a Burmester surround sound system with 13 speakers and 9-channel DSP, COMAND online infotainment system with SatNav, heated front seats with memory function (3 settings including exterior mirrors), Qi wireless phone charging, keyless entry and start, electric boot operation, auto wipers and lights, dual-zone AC, paddle shifters, AMG Night Package, AMG Ride Control sports suspension, AMG speed-sensitive sports steering, a sports exhaust system, a 360-degree camera, auto parking, traffic sign assist, and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

Mercedes-Benz, offer a wide range of driver assists to help you along the way. These include the Driver Assistance Package Plus which includes Active Lane Change Assist, Enhanced Automatic Restarting in traffic jams, and Route Based Speed Adaptation.

Our test car was optioned with AMG performance seats for $3700, apart from that, everything else was stock. 

There’s a huge amount of different options to up-spec your AMG C 63 S – check out Mercedes-Benz New Zealand website to check them out.

First Impressions
Fred, one of DriveLife’s car reviewers will not approve, but it’s silver. However, he would have approved of the bright yellow CLA 45 AMG that was in the dealership, which I must admit was pretty cool looking. 

Yes the C 63 AMG S is silver, which to me is the perfect/iconic colour. It works well with the black contrasting trim all over the car. From the overall stance and look of the car, you can tell it’s a serious machine. The black 19inch wheels, lightly covering the massive bright red brakes, indicates high performance. The lower front grills massive intake and front diffuser is really aggressive, almost angry. Even standing still the C63 looks fast, sleek and menacing. 

As I looked around the car, I really liked everything I saw, the entire car was a feat of engineering and design. It is stunning.

The Inside
As mentioned this C 63 S was optioned with the AMG Performance seats. It’s $3,700 for this upgrade, and I must admit, they looked the business, and are worth the additional cost. Being performance seats, the support up and down and side to side was amazing. They would be perfect for country back-road driving or even better a track day. As cool as they looked, I did find them firmer than most seats, not uncomfortable, but they had less padding.  When you mix that with the firm suspension, low profile tyres, it can send more vibration from the road through to your body than preferred.

The rest of the cabin had the right look and feel, with no surface or detail being overlooked, except for one new feature, which I will come back too. The interior trim was my own personal favourite; black ash open-pore wood. This trim has a very nice rich feel to it, soft touch, but it feels handcrafted too. I suggest the open pore wood over the piano black option, as it’s very easy to get the piano black one dirty and covered in fingerprints. If you like to keep the inside of your vehicle clean like I do, then this is something to consider. 

The steering wheel was from the S-Class, a very sleek and feature rich steering wheel at that. It’s a nice flat bottom, alcantara side stitched wheel, which looks and feels expensive and sporty. Lot of buttons, even touch sensitive swipe buttons. I have not been the biggest fan of these, but I am getting used to them. I wouldn’t mind seeing less buttons on the steering wheel, which leads me to my next point.

Now for a bit of negativity, and to address that one new feature that does not belong. Mercedes, what the hell have you done to this steering wheel? The steering wheel has come down from the S-Class, and overall looks the part. But there are two leech-like add-ons at the bottom of the steering wheel, both of which look like something you buy from Wish for $20 and stick on yourself. On the right there is a circular dial/button LCD screen that allows you to select the drive modes. On the left you have two buttons that both have an LCD screen above them.

Ok, first off I get what you were trying to achieve, but it feels like the design team ran out of money, and went online to buy the parts. They look and feel cheap and just pull down the overall look and feel of the steering wheel. Maybe some people will like them, but so far, everyone I showed, has used a string of expletives before saying, who thought that was a good idea? and that they should be shot. It’s fair to say, this is the only thing about the entire car that I really hate. Before I move on, I just wanted to touch on the fact that I see what Mercedes were trying to do, they wanted driver mode buttons on the steering wheel like some current supercars. Ok, that’s cool, but make it out of the same material the wheel is, just like the supercars do. 

The driver’s display was great, very sporty/futuristic feel to it. The central RPM gauge with the central speed indicator made it modern and in keeping with other tech-focused vehicles. The left and right sides of the display could be changed to display a lot of different options, from fuel consumption, range, tyre pressure, nav and many more.

I had hoped not to see the COMAND media screen still looking like it’s stuck on with velcro. Mercedes, please blend this in, like you have with other new models. Can’t wait to see the dual displays from the S and E class make it way into the C Class. Apart from how it looks, the COMAND media system is well laid out and easy to navigate with the touchpad and rotation control wheel in the centre console. There are many menus available, from your standard media options like radio or MP3, performance customisation to the array of colours available for the LED interior lighting. 

The rear seats had a lot more space than I had expected, my wife even mentioned it when she decided for one trip to sit in the back with our baby daughter. I feel that the performance seats gave this extra room, normally reduced by larger more bulky front seats. It was easy enough to have our rear-facing baby seat in the back too. It did not even push the front seat that far forward, unlike many other vehicles we had tested. 

Our almost 2 year-old daughter loved the panoramic glass roof, she loved it when it rained and when she could look up at the buildings as we traveled through the city. Both glass panels could be covered over with a fabric blind, which helped when she was having a midday nap. The tinted rear windows also aided with this. 

The boot is a good size, 490 litres with the back seats up. The back seats are split in three, so you can have either side down with or without the centre seat down too, making it more versatile. With the rear seats down, the boot space opens up to an impressive 1510 litres. There were additional buttons in the boot that could trigger the folding rear seats, that could also be triggered from the rear in case you required additional storage space instantly. On our trip over to Masterton, we had the baby seat in the back, luggage for 2 adults and a baby, portable cot, and stroller, all the while keeping a good visible view out the rear window. 

The Drive
Starting up the AMG C 63 S is an event in itself. The sound of the startup says one thing, and one thing clearly: this is a powerful vehicle. Thanks to keyless entry and keyless push-button start –  the mighty V8 engine roars into life with a short rev of the engine and grumbles of the exhaust. The noise in comfort mode is pretty good all the time, however, it gets even better in the other sport modes. 

There are now 6 available drive modes: Slippery, Individual, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race. I had not expected 6 modes, several of which we won’t be able to test due to the environment of our road tests. 

As I have mentioned in many Mercedes reviews in the past, Sport and Sport + are best described as two levels of anger. If you wanted a bit more instant power and a nice livable grumble from the exhaust you chose Sport. If you wanted a lot more instant power, some really loud noise and stiffer suspension then Sport+ is for you. Race is where you set everything to 11: engine, gears, suspension, exhaust. It’s the maddest of modes, one I found to be far too much for real world driving. In race and slippery you could also select to go from all-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive thanks to the 4matic+ system. 

The overall handling of the C 63 S is impressive, it doesn’t feel like a big long car. And based on where I had my seating position, you felt low to the ground. Which makes it feel sporty and agile. Even in comfort mode the car is as sharp as a tack in corners; you feel so in control, with a nice level of driver feedback too. Sport and Sport + improve on this, by firming up the suspension. The Air Body Control helps to keep the car level in almost any corner, such a great feeling. When combined with the power from that V8, you could almost believe you’re in a two-seater sports car.

The sound is it for me, and this is what I had said in the past too. AMG have an angry nature about them, and this one sounds perfect. In Comfort there is nice rumble from the engine and exhaust, which get ever more aggressive when dialed to Sport and Sport+. This and the AMG GLC 63 S have to be two of the best sounding cars available in the market today. 

The New Zealand roads caused a bit of a drone in the cabin, due to the low-profile tyres, firm suspension, any slightly uneven road left you with a decent road noise in the cabin. It went in and out of bothering me, and when it did I just flicked on the powerful exhaust button to help drown it out. 

The updated cruise control is another great feature. Much like other cruise control systems, when you push resume, you go back to the speed previously set. However when you press resume twice in succession, it changes your speed to the speed limit sign that was last identified by the front facing cameras. This simple feature was great, as you could with a button just move up and slow down with the limit changes as they happen.

The mighty V8 made everyone grin. It’s a 4.0 litre bi-turbo V8 that produces 375 kW and 700Nm of torque. Yes, 700Nm from a family car, it is as crazy as it sounds. That’s also more than most supercars have, even today. For me it’s the right sort of crazy, as this engine can propel the C 63 S to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds. That’s fast, like really fast, and when you’re doing it, everyone knows about it, due to the thunderous exhaust.

I have always loved power wagons/estates. I daily drive a twin-turbo v10 Audi RS6, so I am used to excessively powerful engines. But my RS6 does not sound like this beast and I wish it did. When compared to a 10 year-old car, the only big difference I can say is that the C 63 S feels light compared to my Audi, which will be thanks to new innovations in construction and design, lighter and smaller engines. Apart from that, both are pretty fast, my 10 year-old car is only 0.6 seconds slower to 100km than the new Merc, not bad really.

Fuel consumption is expectedly high, more so when you do a lot of urban driving. Across a few days just driving within my local areas, combined fuel consumption was up to 20.1L/100km. However, once I went on a couple of longer trips, this dropped considerably. Over the weekend I took a trip over the hill to Masterton, and on that trip I was able to average 10.9L/100km, which is rather impressive, more so when the manufacturer’s advertised combined consumption is 10.7L/100km. By the end of the review, the combined consumption was 11.9 L/100km, which is not bad at all when you consider the type of car it is.

Unfortunately and to my disappointment we never really had a chance to test the Slippery or Race setting in a proper environment. I can only imagine that they would be amazing, if the handling, sounds and performance from the Sport + mode was anything to go by, Race would be exceptional. As for Slippery, I live in hope for future opportunities.

The Competition

There once was a massive market and options for high-performance estate or wagons. But those days are gone. We only have options from Audi and Mercedes left to us. Interesting to see that the Audi RS4 Avant is $18k cheaper, the main difference now is that the Audi has the twin-turbo V6 and the Merc is holding on to that bi-turbo V8.

High-Performance Estates/Wagons

Brand / ModelEnginePower kW/NmFuel L/100kmSeconds to 100km/hBoot Capacity LitresPrice Highest to Lowest
Mercedes-Benz AMG C 63 Coupe 4.0L V8 biturbo375/70010.73.9490$170,800
Audi RS4 Avant3.0L V6 biturbo331/4508.84.1490$152,500
ProsCons
The power and speed
Amazing sound, so angry
Comfy ride, while firm
Performance handling of a sports car
Love the new AMG front grille
Easy to daily drive
Quality, luxury AMG interior
Headlights are amazing
Good size boot
Top shelf sound system
Last of the performance wagons/estates
Cheap addon steering wheel buttons
Firm ride, creates high road noise due to the quality of many New Zealand roads.
That price tag
Estates or wagons over SUV’s

What do we think?
I love it; I have always been a bit power wagon/estate fan and will always be one. I love how it looks, I love how it drives, I love how it sounds. I do however hate or maybe detest the new LCD steering wheel add-ons. Come on, such a quality product and Mercedes-Benz tack those one to it. Hopefully a fad that will be gone as quickly as its appeared. 

As more AMG models become available, we can see a split appearing; some models are looking for a good balance of power, performance and every-day living and others have barking mad power, face-melting speed and crotch-wetting sound. If you had read any of my reviews, I look for the latter, and for me they are the basic ingredients in making the perfect AMG. 

The C63 AMG S ticks all of the boxes for me, and if you’re after a performance wagon, it’s hard not to like. However, the price is something that raises some questions. It’s expensive, which is to be expected, but is it value for money? At $170,800, it’s not far away from my other personal favourite the Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S at $185,765. $15k might seem like a lot, but at this price range it’s just an 8% difference, for what I think is a whole lot more vehicle.

It was nearly a home run for the C63 AMG S, but those tack on steer and the price level to other models raised some questions, which pushed it back from a 5 chevron review. 

Would I have one, Oh god yes, and I would love it. Would I buy one, Maybe, but I might also pushed to the GLC if I was dropping that kind of money. 

Rating – Chevron rating 4.5 out of 5

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2019 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S

Vehicle TypeAll-wheel drive luxury 5-door estate
Starting Price$170,800
Price as Tested$170,800
Engine4.0-litre Bi-Turbo V8, direct-injection
Power, Torque375kW/700Nm
TransmissionAMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT 9-speed
Spare WheelNone
Kerb Weight, Kg1800
Length x Width x Height, mm4702 x 1810 x 1457
Cargo Capacity, litres490 litres 1510 litres (rear seats down)
Fuel tank capacity, litres66 litres
Fuel Economy, L/100kmAdvertised Spec – Combined – 10.7L/100kmReal World Test – Combined – 11.9L/100kmLow Usage: 0-6 / Medium Usage 6-12 / High Usage 12+
Towing CapacityKg, unbraked/braked750/1850
Turning circle, metres11.9Small: 6-10m / Medium 10-12m / Large 12m+
 Warranty3 year warranty
ANCAP Safety Ratings5 Star

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