Poor Karl Benz. First he was purged from the name of Mercedes’ corporate parent when Dieter Zetsche decided against reverting to Daimler-Benz once the former DaimlerChrysler was taken out back and shot. Now the call has been made to strip Benz completely from the names of AMG products, a move first seen on the new Mercedes-AMG GT sports car. And so it goes with the new Mercedes-AMG C63, which debuts at the Paris auto show and will arrive in the U.S. next March as a 2015 model. (You know this car’s predecessor as the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, if that wasn’t obvious already.)
Whatever it's called, AMG’s C-class derivate is shaping up to be one of the most fascinating sleds ever to roar out of Affalterbach. Enthusiasts’ chests heaved in anguish when AMG announced the departure of the now-legendary naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8; its final sanctuary is the outgoing C63 AMG coupe, which remains on sale for the 2015 model year. The C63 sedan thus adopts the M177 twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8—it’s essentially the same engine as the M178 found in the AMG GT, and you can read all about it here—in two strengths.
The basic C63 is rated for an awesome 469 horsepower, while an uprated S model drops 503 onto the table. (Mercedes has told us that the take rate on AMG cars’ optional horsepower-raising packages was so high that it decided to basically turn those into their own trims.) Maximum torque is rated at 479 or 516 lb-ft and is served up on a plateau that stretches from 1750 to 4500 rpm. In the S, the M177 rides on dynamic engine mounts like those of the AMG GT, which adjust their stiffness according to driving style to either isolate engine noise and vibration (softer) or minimize engine movement (firmer).
The standard C63 is fitted with 245/40R-18 front and 265/40R-18 rear rubber, while the S moves up to 245/35R-19 and 265/35R-19 meats. Of course, the vehicle's character can be optimized by means of chassis modes that variously affect steering and throttle response, engine noise, the electronic dampers, and the ESP stability-control system. In most excellent news, ESP can be turned off entirely.
The C63 looks its part, too. The front end in particular has been heavily modified, with wider fenders (the car is 0.6-inch broader than the regular C-class) and it juts forward by more than two additional inches. The rear gets a decklid spoiler, a multi-finned diffuser, and four chromed exhaust finishers. Inside, Mercedes-AMG has fitted this compact sedan with bespoke trim and materials, including a clock with IWC branding. When it arrives, the C63 S will be available in “Edition 1” spec, which will bring special matte-black wheels with red rims, a wheelbarrow full of blacked-out trim pieces (mirror caps, window trim, exhaust finishers, etc.), red grille and mirror accents, and matte-gray rocker stripes. Inside the Edition 1 gets black leather seats with red diamond stitching, red seatbelts, a flat-bottom faux-suede-wrapped steering wheel with Edition 1 badging, and more.