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2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class

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2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Expert Review

By Matt Degen

KBB Expert Rating: 9.4

The Mercedes-AMG C-Class models are the high-performance alter-egos of Mercedes' popular compact-luxury car. Like the standard C 300, these fire-breathing variants -- C 43, C 63 and the range-topping C 63 S -- are available as a sedan, coupe or convertible. And as with the standard C-Class, these AMG versions drip with class, style, technology and impressive safety features. The difference lies in these models' power and handling. The V6-powered C 43 has impressive performance at a still-attainable price, while the C 63 models pack V8 engines and prices that start in the mid-$70,000 range. Unlike BMW's M3 and M4, no manual transmission is offered, but in every other respect the Mercedes-AMG C-Class can match or exceed the performance of its German rival.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're already drawn to the C-Class's elegant design, quality craftsmanship, laudable technology and enviable badge, but also crave a serious bump in power and performance, this Mercedes-AMG is for you. In addition to the standard 5-passenger sedan, stylish 4-passenger coupes and convertible versions are offered.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're a traditionalist who must have a manual transmission in your high-performance compact-luxury car, you'll have to go with the fabled BMW M3/M4 or Cadillac's upstart ATS-V. If enhanced practicality is as important to you as style, Audi just introduced an S5 version of its sleek yet spacious Sportback.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 9.4
  • 9.3
  • 9.3
  • 9.0
  • 9.0
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#10

out of 13

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 12

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The Mercedes-AMG C-Class trio -- C 43, C 63 and C 63 S -- all available in the form of a sedan, convertible or coupe, carry over for 2018 with no major changes.

Driving the Mercedes-AMG C-Class
2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

If you want a sizable step up in power and acceleration for about $11,000 more than an equivalent C 300 4Matic, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 is your car. In addition...

... to two more cylinders, this model's turbo V6 adds 121 horsepower for a total of 362. That's enough for a 4.6-second 0-60-mph time -- enough to blow away many sports cars and certainly any typical sedan. If your motto is "go big or go home," and your bank account can afford the nearly $70,000 starting price, then it’s the V8-powered Mercedes-AMG C 63 or even more potent C 63 S. With 469 and 503 horsepower, respectively, these are the C-Class wolves in sheep's clothes. They'll blast to 60 mph in four seconds or less. But the real beauty of these AMG C-Class models is that they also stick like glue yet provide a mostly civilized ride when you're not ripping around corners.

MERCEDES-AMG C 43
We call this the Goldilocks model because of its "just-rightness." It grants a big performance increase over a C 300, but without the premium price tags of the higher-powered C 63 and C 63 S. With standard 4Matic all-wheel drive, it's more reassuring in foul weather vs. the rear-drive C 63 variants.

ACTIVE SAFETY SYSTEMS
While these AMG models prioritize performance, they also come with all the impressive safety features of a standard C-Class. Among them are collision alert and the ability for the car to automatically apply the brakes if a collision appears eminent, and another system called Attention Assist that monitors for driver drowsiness.

2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Details
2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Not surprisingly, the cabins of Mercedes-AMG C-Class models closely mirror those of the standard models. That's a good thing, as this elegant interior is among the finest in its class. If not for less space, you might think you're in Mercedes' flagship S-Class. Subtle and not-so-subtle elements stand out, such as the red seatbelts fitted in the C 43. Being AMG models, they also come with a performance-oriented steering wheel and instrumentation. As with their non-AMG counterparts, the sedans seat five passengers, while the Mercedes-AMG C-Class coupe and convertible accommodate four, trading the 3-person rear bench for a pair of sculpted seats.

Exterior
2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class photo

The 2018 C-Class AMG models stand apart from their C 300 brethren in relatively modest ways. Each has its own unique grille, exterior accents and badging, but for the most part they retain the flowing yet muscular design of the standard C-Class sedan, coupe and convertible, which to our eyes is among the most elegant in compact-luxury cars. One of the easiest ways to spot the difference is in back: Look for the quad exhaust housings. Within the AMG lineup, the C 63 models have a more muscular, ridged hood, while the red-hot C 63 S has telltale red brake calipers.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The extra money spent on these AMG models over the standard C-Class brings additional features as well as performance. Included are blind-spot monitoring, a stiffer sport-suspension system with 3-stage variable damping, AMG sport exhaust and a dynamic cornering-assist system. Amenities include dual-zone climate control, power sunroof, heated and power-operated front seats, and hands-free power trunk. Standard tech includes a 7-inch high-resolution dash with rotary command knob, AM/FM/HD Radio, dual USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity and five years of mbrace Connect service that grants remote access to the car from a phone or computer. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration will cost you extra.

Optional Equipment

Stepping up to the C 63 models adds further performance features like a limited-slip differential and "Race Start" launch-control function. Options are extensive and varied. There are things you expect -- navigation, leather interior, premium audio (the Burmester system is a dream) --  and maybe a few things you don't, like Wi-Fi connectivity, an illuminated Mercedes star in the grille, and the in-cabin fragrance system that has wafted down from the S-Class. Available active-safety systems/driving aids include radar cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a system that helps you parallel park. Optional mbrace packages offer concierge services, emergency assistance and more.

Under the Hood
2018 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Engine photo

The Mercedes-AMG C-Class sedan, coupe and convertible come in three strengths: fast, faster and fastest. The first, the C 43, uses a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes a stout 362 horsepower. All that power is routed to all four wheels, what Mercedes calls 4Matic, and uses a 9-speed automatic transmission. The rear-wheel-drive C 63 gets a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 469 horsepower and a 7-speed automatic transmission. The C 63 S adds even more firepower to that V8, stoking it to send 503 horsepower and enabling 0-60-mph blasts of 3.9 seconds. All engines use an Eco start/stop system that turns off the engine at idle in an effort to save fuel. Restarts can be rough, but the system can be deactivated.

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Mercedes-AMG C 43 AMG)
362 horsepower @ 5,500-6,000 rpm
384 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/27 mpg (sedan & coupe), 19/26 mpg (convertible)

4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C 63)
469 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (sedan), 17/23 mpg (coupe), 17/22 mpg (convertible)

4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C 63 S)
503 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24 mpg (sedan), 17/23 mpg (coupe), 17/22 mpg (convertible)

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG C-Class has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $54,395 for a C 43 sedan. Stepping up to the V8-powered C 63 starts just over $67,000, and the shrieking C 63 S bows at over $74,000. Coupe variants start marginally higher, while the convertible models are a steeper climb, adding several thousand dollars to those prices. Loaded with options, these prices can stretch into the $80,000-$90,000 range. At these prices, the Mercedes-AMG models are slightly above the few competitors in this realm. A BMW M3 starts over $66,000, while a Cadillac ATS-V starts just under $62,000. Against the C 43, an Audi S4 starts just under $52,000, while an Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is just under $54,000. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. The Mercedes-AMG C-Class' resale value is expected to remain quite strong in the years ahead.

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