Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe facelift (2019) review

Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe facelift (2019) review

A Porsche 911 can now be had for 10 million baht. Can AMG’s C63 still look the part?

What’s new?

After introducing updated versions of the C-Class diesel, plug-in hybrid and warmed-up C43, Mercedes-Benz Thailand has rounded off the facelifted family with the full-fat C63 S.

Available only as a coupe in the country, the AMG-fettled two-door now gets the Panamericana grille treatment to stand out from the rest of the C-Class model range.

The 510hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 remains in the C63 S Coupe, although the seven-speed automatic transmission has been replaced with a nine-speeder.

Priced at 10.129 million baht, the C63 S Coupe doesn’t face many rivals in the Thai market. The closest one is the BMW M4 CS Coupe which packs 460hp from a 3.0-litre bi-turbo six-cylinder engine and is priced at 11.399 million baht; the Audi RS5 Coupe and Lexus RC-F aren’t sold officially in Thailand.

While the C63 S Coupe is looking particularly good on paper against the M4 CS Coupe, there might be one distraction especially in the eyes of many Thai sports car lovers.

The latest generation of the Porsche 911 Carrera can now be had for 9.9 million baht in entry-level 385hp form. Can the C63 S Coupe fend off any challenges from an iconic sports car with a richer brand image?

What’s cool?

It can be no other than the engine. Aside from having better on-paper stats, the C63 S Coupe feels every bit better in the real world with performance practically as explosive as in the Mercedes-AMG GT, which also employs that similar V8 unit. The carbon-ceramic brakes cope well with such power, too.

The noise the C63 S Coupe makes on the move is equally evocative (but not with the naughty popping and farting noises of the GT) and becomes even louder when you press the exhaust button. It’s definitely one selling point over the M4 and 911.

Like in its rivals, the C63 S Coupe is purely rear-wheel drive which is simply a good thing for the true driving enthusiast. Go into the most aggressive driving mode available and the C63 S Coupe has a natural tendency to oversteer when you want it to do so.

Such aggression doesn’t necessarily come at the expense of an overly firm ride. In fact, the dampers (which can be stiffened via a switch) have been set up well to feel sufficiently comfortable in everyday use.

While the new grille gives the C63 S Coupe more distinction on the road, drivers should also be pleased with the new digital instrument panel, suede-rimmed steering wheel and nice-looking bucket seats in the cabin.

What’s not?

There isn’t really much to complain in the C63 S Coupe, but there are some trivial issues that can be irritating at times.

While the primary ride has been tuned to near perfection, the ultra-low profiles of the tyres thump in quite a pronounced manner when traversing ruts and potholes.

Ergonomically speaking, there are some flaws in the cabin. It’s difficult to access the adjustments for the seat contours and lumbar support that are placed too close to the door panel.

The decision to introduce steering-mounted buttons for the various driving parameters is welcome, but it’s time to reconsider those switches on the centre console which are not just overlapping in function but are difficult to access from the driver’s seat.

Buy or bye?

We have yet to drive the 911 in its latest form on Thai roads. But for what it has always been, there are some good reasons to go for the C63 S Coupe if product substance matters more than brand image.

The C63 S Coupe feels powerful, tuneful and hardly intimidating (front-engine, rear-drive sports cars work usually well in real-world driving). It’s also got usable rear seats and a boot to match. Overall, the C63 S Coupe still feels the part, also in the presence of that Bimmer.

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