2014 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is the most potent version of the German automaker's C-Class sedan. The car delivers a whopping 451 horsepower in standard form, putting it comfortably ahead of the BMW M3. With that amount of performance on tap, and a price to match the M3, Mercedes looks to steal at least a few sales away from its cross-country rival.

Recent Changes
The C63 AMG lineup benefits from the addition of a new 507 Edition model for the latest model year. Essentially an evolution of last year's 481-horsepower Development Package-equipped model, which it replaces, the 507 Edition boasts 507 horsepower, stronger brakes and a host of other upgrades inside and out.

Overview
In typical AMG fashion, the C63 features large performance-oriented tires and wheels, an aggressive bodykit, a much sportier interior, and suspension and chassis improvements compared with the normal C-Class sedan.

Unlike the M3's small displacement V8, the C63 uses a big 6.2-liter V8. This powerplant is good for 443 lb-ft of torque and 451 horsepower. The torque curve of the engine is just as impressive as its output: from 2000 to 6250 rpm the driver always has more than 360 pound-feet on tap - ideal for powerful acceleration at any engine speed range.

The sprint to 62 mph takes a scant 4.5 seconds according to Mercedes, an estimate that is likely conservative by at least three tenths of a second.

All C63 AMG sedans are rated at 13 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.

A seven-speed automatic transmission dubbed the SPEEDSHIFT MCT utilizes a wet clutch pack in place of a traditional torque converter. The result is gear changes that can occur in just one tenth of a second in the transmission's sportiest shift mode. The transmission features smooth rev-matching during downshifts and has a launch mode for stoplight racing; if drivers want to take control into their own hands, aluminum paddle shifters situated behind the wheel allow them to do just that.

The C63 AMG owes its outstanding handling dynamics to a sports suspension and an three-link front axle design. The stiff configuration of the springs and gas-pressure shock absorbers ensures optimal road contact and low body movements when negotiating serpentine bends at speed.

The front axle has a 35-millimeter wider track than humbler C-Classes - visible by the more widely flared wheel arches - and therefore ensures lower dynamic wheel loads when cornering.

The front brakes have size 360 x 36-millimeter discs with six-piston fixed calipers, while deceleration at the rear is handled by 330 x 26-millimeter discs with four-piston fixed calipers.

The Electronic Stability Program offers a variety of settings. In "ESP ON" mode, the onset of handling instability leads to braking intervention at one or more of the wheels, accompanied by a reduction in engine torque. Briefly pressing the ESP key activates "ESP SPORT". In this mode the braking intervention to counter oversteer or understeer, as well as the accompanying reduction in engine torque, allows a higher dynamic threshold. Prolonged pressure on the ESP key activates "ESP OFF," whereby there is no intervention.

Standard and Optional Features
Inside, the C63 AMG features the wide range of standard sybaritic comforts one would expect at it's price point: A sunroof, 8-way adjustable power seats with a heating function, dual zone automatic climate control and Bluetooth audio streaming are all included.

For particularly hedonistic customers, a number of option packages are available to up the luxury quotient:

The multimedia package includes Mercedes' COMAND system (an iDrive-like interface) with hard-drive navigation including 40 GB of storage, enhanced voice control for audio, telephone and navigation systems, SIRIUS real-time traffic service, an in-dash 6-disc DVD/CD changer, Gracenote media database, 10GB hard-drive with Music Register and a rearview camera.

A Lighting Package includes a headlamp cleaning system, Bi-Xenon headlamps with active curve illumination and Adaptive Highbeam Assist.

The Lane Tracking package brings Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist systems.

The Full Leather Seating Package nets leather upholstery and memory seats.

507 Edition
Those desiring the wildest C63 AMG available should spring for the 507 Edition. Like the old Development Package model, it borrows forged pistons, connecting rods and a lightweight crankshaft from the SLS AMG GT supercar. The new components save 6.6 lbs. compared to the standard C63 AMG, bump output from 451 ponies in the "standard" C63 AMG to 507 and also increase torque from 443 lb-ft to 450 at 5200 rpm.

With the help of a carryover seven-speed automatic, the 507 Edition can rocket from zero-to-60 mph in 4.1 seconds on its way to an electronically-limited 174 mph top speed.

Upsized brakes - six-piston caliper with 14.2-inch rotors up front, and four-piston calipers with rotors of unspecified diameter at the rear - balance out the engine's accelerative alacrity. Unlike the limited-edition 2012 Black Series, the 507 Edition doesn't include any suspension modifications to the standard C63 AMG setup.

The 507 Edition wears unique 19-inch forged alloy wheels (available in titanium grey or matte black with high-sheen rim flanges), "AMG sport stripe" graphics above the rocker panels and a vented hood lifted from the Black Series. The interior is distinguished from other C63 AMG models by high-gloss black piano lacquer trim, an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel with a 12-o'clock marking, red instrument panel trim and 507 Edition badging.

Occupant Safety
Mercedes-Benz has long been known for its safety features, and the C63 AMG will only add to that reputation. In addition to ABS and ESP stability control, the car boasts nine supplemental restraints including two-stage front air bags, a knee air bag for the driver and pelvic air bags which work together with curtain and side air bags to provide extra protection for front occupants in dangerous side-impact collisions.

Also standard is an "ATTENTION ASSIST" system that can alert the driver to the first signs of drowsiness, a factor that causes more than 100,000 accidents a year in the U.S.A steering sensor is coupled to smart software that uses 70 parameters to establish a unique driver profile during the first 20 minutes of driving. Between 50 and 112 mph, the system identifies the erratic steering corrections drivers make as they begin to get drowsy and triggers an audible warning and a "Time for a Rest?" message with a coffee cup icon in the instrument cluster.

Key competitors
The C63 AMG Sedan is a ferocious competitor in the compact performance luxury sedan segment, putting down more power than the BMW M3 Sedan and Lexus IS F.