V8-powered C-class gets updated styling, a new gearbox, and a higher top speed for the S model

If you hadn’t noticed, Mercedes-AMG is incrementally updating its range of performance C-classes. First, the six-cylinder C43 saloon and Estate were treated to a fresh new look and a little more power. Not long after, the C43 Coupe and Cabriolet got a similar treatment. Now it’s the turn of the V8-powered AMG C-class, the C63, to get a refresh.

Unlike the C43, however, the new C63 doesn’t get any more power. Its 4-litre twin-turbo ‘hot-vee’ V8 engine still puts out 350kW and 650Nm of torque in the regular models and 375kW and 700Nm in the S versions. There are some mechanical changes, though. Firstly, there’s a new nine-speed gearbox. Like the seven-speed item it replaces, it’s still an automatic gearbox with a wet clutch arrangement rather than a traditional torque-converter.

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The software that controls the engine and transmission has been upgraded, too. Gearshifts are faster thanks to better-defined ignition adjustments and there’s now a multiple downshift function.

Before, only the more powerful S models got the electronically controlled limited-slip differential, while the non-S made do with a purely mechanical diff. Now, however, the more complex diff is standard across both models. Dynamic engine mounts are still only available on the S, though.

Even with more gears, quicker changes and a more sophisticated drivetrain, the C63 and C63 S don’t accelerate any quicker than before. The basic C63 saloon reaches 100KM/h in 4.1sec, the S saloon in 4.0sec. The Estate and Cabriolet versions are 0.1sec behind the saloon, while the coupe is 0.1sec ahead of the four-door.

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What have changed are the S models’ top speeds. The C63 S Coupe and saloon now reach 180mph and the Estate and Cabriolet top out at 280km/h. To reach those speeds before in the C63 you needed to buy the optional AMG Driver’s Package. All of the non-S C63s are still limited to 250km/h.

The C63’s attitude can now be even further tailored to the driver’s style or whim with a new layer of driving modes. As well as the six basic modes (Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual), there are four further settings (Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master) that alter the throttle map, chassis and the threshold of the ESP.

You’ll be able to spot the new C63 thanks to its AMG GT R-style ‘Panamericana’ grille: instead of the silver trim stretching either side of the Mercedes logo, the new grille is made up of multiple vertical gloss-black bars.

There are other visual changes, but they aren’t as obvious as the new radiator grille; the fins on the outer front air intakes have been redesigned and there are new twin tailpipes and more prominent diffuser at the rear.

Two new sets of wheels are available: a standard 18-inch design and an optional 19-inch alternative. Both have been optimised in a wind tunnel to improve airflow around the rotating wheels and add to the car’s improved aerodynamic efficiency.

As standard, the C63 is much like before inside, the most significant difference is a new steering wheel with a flat bottom and perforated leather grips. However, there are plenty of new options to select from, including fully digital dials on which the driver can choose their preferred layout, and adjustable side bolsters on the upgraded seats. 

You can also now choose an AMG Track Pack as an option on the non-S C63 (it comes standard on the S). This software allows you to record data when driving on a circuit. There are multiple tracks already programmed into the system but it can use the car’s GPS to log new ones.

The updates to the C63 are hardly transformative, but then the existing model was already a fast and hugely entertaining car, so not a lot needed changing.