Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package (2008) review

Published:24 September 2008

Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package (2008) CAR review
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

London motor show video 

The Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package costs £3210 and promises to turn the four-door saloon from Affalterbach into an M3 beater. For your money you get uprated brakes and suspension, a limited slip differential and a steering wheel trimmed in nappa leather and Alcantara.

Shouldn’t that kit be standard on the Mercedes C63 AMG?

It’s a good point. The £3210 premium pushes the C63 to £54,645, or nearly £5k clear of the M3 saloon – a car that comes as standard with an LSD and three-stage adjustable suspension. However, if you are set on getting a C63 and will drive it hard, we reckon it’s £3k well spent.

The Mercedes has 150lb ft torque more than the M3. Under most road conditions you’ll never notice the standard C63’s lack of a slip diff, but get to the track and turn off the traction control and it really struggles to put down the power. In fact, even with the LSD fitted, the C63 still struggles to put down all that shove, but at least it’s a whole lot more entertaining and a lot less frustrating.

Likewise, why wouldn’t you want better brakes? The difference between the standard and Performance Package brakes isn’t as pronounced as between standard and PP suspension settings, but the extra performance and firmer pedal feel is welcome.

Click 'Next' below to read more of our Merc C63 AMG Performance Package first drive

Scroll down the page to the embedded video player below to see how the regular Merc C63 matches up against the M3 saloon and Lexus IS-F   

London motor show video

How does the suspension affect the ride?

It’s definitely a whole lot firmer than before, feeling pretty unyielding on even relatively smooth roads. It brings focus to the C63 chassis – it feels taut, intuitive, composed – but, unlike the other mods, it is at a price to the standard car’s refinement.

On track, the extra front-end grip is immediately apparent. At first there’s a bit of roll, but that soon settles down and you feel a very clean, solid bite from the front end that’s telegraphed through that tactile Alcantara and leather steering wheel.

Nonetheless, the M3 manages to juggle this balancing act between on-the-limit composure and ride quality better, having three adjustable suspension settings. The Merc’s single setting cannot compete, but it’s a trade off that keen drivers – including this driver – will accept.

Verdict

At £54,645, this Performance Package-equipped C63 AMG does make the £49,900 M3 saloon look like very good value, a car that comes with much of this kit as standard and, thanks to adjustable suspension, is more comfortable on the road and more focused on track.

However, the C63 is a very good car as standard and, all things considered, the Performance Pack only makes it better.

Click 'Add your comment' and tell us whether you'd take a Mercedes C63 over a Lexus IS-F or BMW M3

Scroll down the page to the embedded video player below to see how the regular Merc C63 matches up against the M3 saloon and Lexus IS-F    

Specs

Price when new: £54,645
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 6208cc 32v V8, 451bhp @ 6800rpm, 442lb ft @ 5000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed auto, rear-wheel drive
Performance: 4.5sec 0-62mph, 155mph, 21.1mpg, 319g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1730kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4726/1795/1439

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  • Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package (2008) CAR review
  • Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package (2008) CAR review
  • Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package (2008) CAR review
  • Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package (2008) CAR review
  • Mercedes C63 AMG Performance Package (2008) CAR review

By Ben Barry

Contributing editor, sideways merchant, tyre disintegrator

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