The Mercedes-AMG C-Class models are the high-performance versions of the German luxury brand’s compact sedan, coupe and cabriolet. Stylistically these AMG models hew toward the elegant conservativeness of the standard C-Class, but in performance they match or beat rivals like the Audi S5/RS5 and Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. Their prices rise in tandem with their horsepower.
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If you’re already drawn to the C-Class for its style, pedigree and brand image but want more power and performance, these AMG variants are for you. The C43’s standard 4Matic all-wheel drive is useful in cold-weather states, while the C63 models will appeal to traditionalists who desire rear-wheel drive.
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Audi has its own take on high-performance in the S4/S5 and RS5, which are both all-wheel drive and available as a practical 5-door liftback. The Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio has its own appeal with Italian passion, while the Genesis G70 3.3T is a steal at under $44,000.
2019 brings a refresh for the Mercedes-AMG C-Class models that includes updated front and rear aesthetics, interior upgrades such as a standard 10.25-inch display and standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. C43 models get a power increase, and C63 variants now use a 9-speed transmission.
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. For all intents and purposes, the C-Class looks and feels like a smaller version of Mercedes’ flagship S-Class. Like the standard C300, these AMG variants have been updated for 2019 with new features like touch-control buttons in the steering wheel that let you control audio, phone integration, cruise control and other functions. Standard on these AMG cars is the 10.25-inch digital central display that’s optional on base C300 models. Special to these C-Class performance models is an AMG-specific gauge cluster with performance menus. Also new is an optional 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster. 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.
All 2019 C-Class models get an exterior freshening that includes updates to the radiator grille, a new rear bumper with round tailpipes, plus other minor aesthetic enhancements. Otherwise, these high-performance C-Class variants retain the flowing yet muscular design of the standard C-Class sedan, coupe and convertible. One of the easiest ways to spot the difference is in back: Look for the quad exhaust housings. Within the AMG lineup, the C63 models have a more muscular, ridged hood, while the red-hot C63 S has telltale red brake calipers.
For most buyers, the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 will be more car than they will ever use. Consider: This sedan can rip from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. And this is the “mid-trim” model. That’s significantly more performance than the standard C300 C-Class 4Matic, for less than a $12,000 premium. You can file the C63 models under the “diminishing returns” category, but we must admit they are an absolute howl. How does a 3.8-second 0-60-mph time sound? That’s the figure for the C63 S sedan, which matches that of the furious Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. That number will be a tick more or less with the coupe and cabriolet variants.
Whichever Mercedes-AMG C-Class model you choose, you’ll get a wolf in sheep’s clothes. They look similar to the tamer C-Class variants on which they’re based, but similarities end with every stab of the accelerator pedal. They boast excellent acceleration, tremendous grip and quick shifting via the 9-speed automatic transmission, now standard across the line. Be aware that the AMG performance suspension does result in a harsher ride, especially in the outrageous C63 S variants. Various drive modes do allow you to tailor the ride quality from Comfort to Sport settings. C63 models have a “Race Start” function for rapid launches, while the C63 S has a dedicated Race mode that optimizes the car for track settings.
The 2019 Mercedes-AMG C-Class has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $55,250 for a C43 sedan, before destination costs. Stepping up to the V8-powered C63 starts at $67,000, and the even more potent C63 S bows at over $74,600. Coupe variants start marginally higher, while the convertible models are a steeper climb, adding several thousand dollars to those prices. Loaded with options, these figures 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, currently still available as a 2018 model until a new one arrives, starts over $66,000. The Audi RS5, available as a coupe or liftback, starts over $74,000. The coupe-only, V8-powered Lexus RC F starts just under $65,000. Against the C43, an Audi S4 starts just over $50,000, while an Infiniti Q50 Red Sport 400 is around $53,000. The value leader in this segment is the new Genesis G70 3.3T with a 365-horsepower twin-turbo V6 at under $44,000. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. The Mercedes-AMG C-Class's resale value is expected to remain quite strong in the years ahead.
The extra cost of these Mercedes-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. Premium amenities include dual-zone climate control, power sunroof, heated and power-operated front seats, and hands-free power trunk. Standard tech includes a new 10.25-inch high-resolution dash with rotary command knob, AM/FM/HD Radio, dual USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and 1-year complimentary access to the Mercedes me concierge service and three years of the Mercedes me connect service, which lets you access and control certain functions of the car via your phone.
Stepping up to the C63 models adds further performance features like a limited-slip differential and Race Start launch-control function, and more creature comforts like leather seating in place of the MB-Tex upholstery in C43 versions. Options for all models are extensive and varied. There are things you expect -- navigation, leather interior, premium audio (the Burmester system sounds fantastic) -- 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. Among the new options for 2019 is a configurable, 12.3-inch digital dashboard. If there’s one package we especially recommend, it’s the Driver Assistance suite (see Favorite Features).
We’ve loved this version of the C-Class for its “just rightness.” It finely blends power for the price, and has all-wheel drive standard. The C43 gets even better for 2019 thanks to a power bump: The 3.0-liter V6 now makes 385 horsepower, 23 more than last year’s model.
DRIVER ASSISTANCE PACKAGE
For $1,800, this option bundles a wealth of active safety and assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and even a system that can help you take evasive action if a pedestrian walks in front of the vehicle.
Under the Hood
The 2019 Mercedes-AMG C-Class sedan, coupe and convertible come in three strengths: fast, faster and fastest. The first, the C43, uses a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that now makes a stout 385 horsepower, up from the previous 362. That power is routed to all four wheels, what Mercedes calls 4Matic, and uses a 9-speed automatic transmission. The rear-wheel-drive C63 gets a handcrafted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 469 horsepower. At the top, the C63 S adds even more firepower to that V8, stoking it to 503 horsepower. New for 2019, the C63 model use an AMG Speedshift 9-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the former 7-speed automatic. 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 C43)
385 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm
384 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 mpg (sedan & coupe), 18/25 mpg (convertible)
4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C63)
469 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (sedan), 17/26 mpg (coupe), 17/24 mpg (convertible)
4.0-liter turbocharged V8 (AMG C63 S)
503 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (sedan), 17/26 mpg (coupe), 17/24 mpg (convertible)
The Mercedes-AMG C-Class models are the high-performance versions of the German brand’s compact-luxury car. As with the C300 (reviewed separately), these cars from Mercedes’ AMG performance division are available as a sedan, coupe and cabriolet. The twin-turbo V6-powered C43 is the Goldilocks of the bunch, offering an ample performance increase over the standard C-Class at a relatively attainable price starting around $55,000. If you have a penchant for power -- and a budget closer to $70,000 -- there are the V8-powered C63 variants available with up to 503 horsepower. Stylistically these AMG models hew toward the elegant conservativeness of the standard C-Class, but in performance they match or beat rivals like the Audi S5/RS5 and even the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio.