The 2018 C-Class is offered in several trims: C300, C300d diesel, C350e plug-in hybrid, C450 AMG Sport, AMG C63 and AMG C63 S. Rear-wheel drive is standard, while Mercedes-Benz' 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system is available on the C300, C300d and C450 AMG Sport. The C-Class coupe comes in C300 and C300 4MATIC trims only.
The C300 is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine displacing 2.0 liters and making a stout 241 horsepower. The C300d is powered by a 2.1L biturbo 4-cylinder diesel that makes 195 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Next is the C350e plug-in hybrid, with power derived from the 2.0L four in addition to a 6.2 kWh lithium-ion battery. The combination is good for 275 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. In the C450, there's a 3.0L twin-turbocharged V6 that produces 362 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque. Finally, the AMG C63 tops them all with its 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8, rated at 469 horsepower and 503 pound-feet of torque. A 7-speed automatic transmission is standard across the range; in the AMG models it is a heavy-duty AMG Speedshift unit. Fuel economy in the C300 is rated at 25 on the highway and 34 in the city.
Like most European luxury cars, the C-Class can be optioned up with a huge variety of convenience and luxury features. However, the C300, C350d and C350e come with quite a few amenities on their own. Standard features include a 14-way power adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, two high-resolution screens with a touchpad interface, USB connectivity, Bluetooth audio streaming and LED daytime running lamps.
The C450 AMG includes everything on the C300, plus a Burmester premium sound system, heated front seats, sport tuned suspension, larger brakes to go beneath the 18-inch wheels, and of course, a bigger, more-powerful engine.
In addition to the V8, the AMG C63 features wider 18-inch wheels and a mechanical limited-slip differential, while the AMG C63 S ups the ante with 19-inch wheels, larger brakes with red calipers, an electronic limited-slip differential and more.
An optional Interior Package adds leather seating, perforated and ventilated front seats, a powered front passenger seat and some additional interior lighting. An Air-Balance Package further spruces up the interior environment with an air purifier and a cabin fragrance system that will perfume the air in the C-Class.
A Multimedia Package includes a navigation system, as well as a rear view camera and SiriusXM satellite radio.
An adjustable air suspension system that can be set for sport or for comfort is available on the C-Class, as is a Driver's Assistance Package, which includes safety features such as blind spot assist and Mercedes-Benz' PRE-SAFE system, which can actually activate the brakes on its own, should it detect an impending accident.
Standard safety equipment on C-Class models includes nine airbags as well as adaptive braking technology, attention assist and of course all-wheel drive is available.
There's a route I like to use for testing cars late at night. It's a mixture of bumpy and smooth surface streets as well as a few freeways, including on- and off-ramps, cloverleaf interchanges and long, straight shots to see how a car behaves at speed. These exploratory expeditions really let me get to know a car, and the late-night timing means there's very little traffic. With most vehicles, I make the run once and head home for the night. But cars like the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe goad me into staying out longer.
Things get interesting from the moment you push the C63's engine start button and the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine roars to life. Its low, rumbly exhaust note at idle lets you know that 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque are wide awake and ready to party. That's in the S model, anyway, which has a nice increase over the 469 hp and 479 lb-ft in the regular C63. AMG says the S can hit 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds and top out an electronically limited speed of 180 mph. The non-S is a tenth slower to 60 mph and tops out at 155.
Put the C63's engine to work and it doesn't take long to realize it's a special piece. It's muscle-car strong with thrust everywhere in the rev range. Peak torque arrives at just 1,750 rpm and it continues to pull hard to the 7,000-rpm redline, making fantastic sounds all the while.
The Good ~ Powerful and sweet-sounding V8 ~ Engaging handling ~ Wicked looks
The Bad ~ Rough ride ~ Advanced driver-assist technology is mostly optional ~ Very tight backseat
The Bottom Line With attractive looks, a V8 and enthralling drive character, the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe is truly a memorable experience.
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