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. The 2021 C63 also earned a spot on our Editors’ Choice list.
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 is the panoramic roof in the sedan variant and more of the paint colors from the non-AMG C-class sedan.
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 ambiance 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.