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Used Mercedes-Benz C63 review: 2008-2009

The Mercedes-Benz C63 rewrote the book on performance, lifting the bar even higher than its awesome rivals from BMW and Audi.
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Buy with confidence; all Mercedes-Benz Certified Pre-Owned vehicles come with a factory backed warranty, 100 point safety check, comprehensive service history and 24hr roadside assistance.

While most motorists seek reliability and economy from their cars there are those who put performance above all else.

For them cars like the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG deliver the ultimate driving thrill, they're the ones that take performance to previously   undreamt of places.

The sad reality for most who lust after a true high performance car, like the C63 with its $126,000 price tag, is that they're well beyond the reach of all but the very, very well heeled.

Everyone else can only look on and dream, at least until the price drops to a point they can afford to turn the dream into a reality with a secondhand example.

MODEL WATCH

The Mercedes-Benz C63 rewrote the book on performance, lifting the bar even higher than its awesome rivals from BMW and Audi.

The pocket rocket race can be traced back to the humble Minis, Cortinas and Escorts of the 1960s, but really started in earnest when   the Germans got in on the act in the 1980s.

It was back then that BMW launched the first M3, a hot derivative of the 3-Series. Not to be outdone Mercedes-Benz answered with a hot AMG-  tweaked C-Class, and the race between the German carmakers was well and truly on.  Almost 30 years later and the race is hotter than ever, with each company quick to counter any move its rivals might make.

The C63 answered BMW's move to slot a V8 into the M3, and raised the performance bar even higher with its own V8 that boasted 336 kW at   6800 revs and 600 Nm at 5000 revs.

It was enough to have it doing 100 km/h just 4.5 seconds from rest, which put it in elite high performance company with cars like the Porsche 911.  Like all AMG models the C63 starts with a modest regular production model, in this case the compact C-Class sedan and wagon.

It then gets a much hotter heart, in this case a thumping great hand-built 6.2-litre double overhead camshaft V8 engine.  But while the V8 gave it the grunt the C63 was much more than mere power, it had the chassis to back it up.

If there was a criticism of previous C-Class AMG cars it was that they weren't very engaging for those who wanted to be fully involved in the driving. That was countered in the C63 with the seven-speed auto transmission with shift paddles under the steering wheel that gave the driver more control than in previous models, and sharper chassis tuning.

It also came with a comprehensive array of electronic devices to monitor and control the car, including electronic stability control, traction control, ABS anti-lock brakes with optimum brake force distribution, emergency brake assist and the like.

While these systems help keep the booming 'Benz on the straight and narrow the driver could, if they wished, switch it off and fully enjoy the full thrill of the beast beneath.  Then, if things went wrong the car would engage the electronics in an effort to save the situation before it got too out of hand.

Inside, it had leather sports seats, a sports wheel, auto air, cruise, park distance control, six-speaker CD sound, power front seats with memory, power mirrors and windows, sat-nav and woodgrain trim.

IN THE SHOP

Independent Mercedes-Benz specialist Peter Lennox services 10-15 C63s   and tells us that it is a robust and reliable performance car and   little goes wrong with them if they are well maintained.

The V8 engine has been in production since 2006 and is very reliable.  Lennox says it's good for at least 200,000-300,000 km, and probably a lot more.

The seven-speed auto is also quite bulletproof. It has been around since 2005 and like the engine doesn't give any major trouble, although Lennox says he has seen a few problems with lock-up torque converters in cars that have done 200,000-plus km.

If driven hard the front-end bushes can wear out in 50,000-60,000 km.   Check for fluid leaks from the oil-filled bushes, a sure sign the   bushes need attention.

Tyres don't last long, particularly if driven hard. A driver who takes care of his tyres will be replacing them every 10,000-15,000 km, but one who pushes the performance limit will be replacing them even more frequently.

IN A CRASH

With an electronic arsenal of ABS brakes, Brake Assist, EBD   brakeforce distribution, ESP stability control and traction control the C63 has an impressive complement of active safety features.

If that isn't enough it also has a full array of airbags, including dual front and side airbags, and head airbags.  ANCAP hasn't specifically tested the C63, but the C-Class it's based upon is rated at five out of a possible five stars.

UNDER THE PUMP

Make no mistake the C63 is a thirsty beast; Mercedes-Benz claims an average fuel consumption of 14.5-16.0 L/100 km.

OWNER'S SAY

A super car for less than 150 grand! It was a deal Carsguide reader Lindsay couldn't resist. In his mind he had attained the ultimate in   motoring utopia. As a 60-year-old who has driven competitively and owned some high performance machinery he felt more than capable of   extracting reasonable performance and pleasure out of the C63, but he finds it almost impossible to get the car off the mark quickly without spinning the wheels and invoking the ESP, and defies anyone to achieve the acceleration time Mercedes-Benz claims. He also shredded the rear tyres in just 13,000 km, something he says is   common on the C63. Despite that he says the C63 is great to drive.

LOOK FOR

High speed thrills
Awesome performance
Refined and sophisticated
Gas guzzler
Eats rear tyres
Great bang for the buck

THE BOTTOM LINE

Awesome performance yet still refined and sophisticated. 90/100

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2009 $11,900 $52,250
2008 $7,900 $44,770

View all Mercedes-Benz C-Class pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$12,523
Based on 74 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,499
Highest Price
$44,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
C230 Evolution 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $11,700 – 17,160 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2008 C230 Evolution Pricing and Specs
C230 Evolution AMG 2.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $12,700 – 18,370 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2008 C230 Evolution AMG Pricing and Specs
C200 Kompressor 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,600 – 14,520 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2008 C200 Kompressor Pricing and Specs
C180 Kompressor Evolution 1.8L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO $9,300 – 13,970 2008 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 2008 C180 Kompressor Evolution Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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