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2008 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

2008 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
Impressive new M3 fighter designed and built by AMG.

By Sam Moses

Review Pages
1. Overview
2. Walkaround and Interior
3. Driving Impressions
4. Summary, Prices, Specs

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The new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is the first Mercedes to be designed and built by AMG. Chassis corners, suspension, brakes, body, even the hand-built aluminum V8 engine are designed by AMG, the company's performance arm, not Mercedes itself. AMG designed the C63 from the ground up to be a pure performance car that could challenge the BMW M3, which has been king of the four-door, rear-wheel-drive sports sedan segment for years and years.

The C63 AMG looks like a Mercedes, although it's way more muscular than any C-Class you might know, with a low roofline, aerodynamic edges everywhere, and wide front fender flares.

Inside, the best thing about the C63 AMG is the fabulous front seats made for real driving, and the worst is the instrument panel with its small tachometer not made for watching.

The engine makes a huge amount of horsepower and torque, while the seven-speed manual automatic transmission upshifts quickly and downshifts with a double blip (when necessary for smoothness) that's perfect every time. The brakes are gigantic. And the C63 corners with no body roll thanks to a modified chassis design and totally new suspension, although the ride doesn't absorb sharp bumps.

The C63 AMG uses a new 6.2-liter AMG V8 making 451 horsepower and the AMG Speedshift Plus seven-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting. It's not stripped of any luxury and comes fully loaded. Underway, it's so smooth that watching your speed is important to avoid tickets. We think the optional Performance Package is only needed for drivers seriously intending to run track events.

Model Lineup

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG comes standard with Artico leather interior, power everything, heated seats, dual zone climate control, and split folding rear seats. Other standard equipment includes a power glass sunroof, Bluetooth, 30-gigabyte hard drive, and satellite radio connectivity.

Option packages include bi-xenon headlamps with washers and a power rear window shade $1080); AMG Napa leather and memory seats ($2950); Multimedia Package ($2950) including navigation system and Harman/Kardon sound system with six-disc CD/DVD changer. The 6CD is available separately ($450).

The AMG Performance Package ($3900) includes two-piece brake rotors, a more rigid suspension, and a locking rear differential, all systems by AMG, and suede-like Alcantara leather on the steering wheel.

Safety features include anti-lock brakes with brake assist and brake force distribution, electronic stability control, two-stage front airbags, side front airbags, air curtains, and a driver knee airbag.

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