The 6.2-litre V8 uses a bit of oil and a lot of petrol
James, my neighbour, has a C 63 Estate, bought used from Mercedes-Benz Brooklands, home of Mercedes-Benz World, where, for about £90, you can hoof an AMG around a handling circuit.
In fact, James’s 11-plate C 63, was, for the first six months of its life, one of the centre’s ‘experience’ cars, more used to opposite lock than straight ahead.
Find Mercedes-AMG C 63 for sale on PistonHeads
He loves it, since not only does it have the optional Performance Pack Plus that raised power from 451bhp to 480bhp, but it also, he reckons, has a bit more up its sleeve – around 20bhp. He may be right, since Mercedes-Benz Brooklands knows about tuned C 63s (it was the sole supplier of the limited-run C 63 DR520 of 2010 that put out 513bhp). Whatever its mighty 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 makes, James has found it to be completely reliable.
His C 63 has now done 42,000 miles. As you’d expect, given that it has super-firm suspension and 19in wheels, its interior creaks a little. He has to keep an eye on the oil and when he drives it hard, fuel consumption is in single figures. The point of telling you all this is that here’s a C 63 AMG Estate, a former stunt car no less, still doing the business while hauling a family of four plus the dog.
If you go nosing around C 63s, you’ll hear horror stories of corroded rear cylinder head bolts and noisy cams, both terminal if allowed to develop. Fortunately, both problems are rare.
Estate and saloon versions were launched in 2008, with standard equipment including Mercedes’ 7G-tronic automatic gearbox and 18in alloys. The optional Performance Pack brought a limited-slip diff but no hike in power. That came with the aforementioned Performance Pack Plus of 2009, although, bizarrely, the limited-slip diff was dropped to become an option across the range.
The DR520 shaved half a second off the 0-62mph time – useful but, at £10,000 more than the standard car, no bargain. In 2011, the facelifted C 63 landed with a new seven-speed multi-clutch transmission (not a dual-clutch set-up but the old auto ’box with several clutches in place of the torque converter), a new grille and an aluminium bonnet. Mercedes’ Intelligent Light System, a new infotainment set-up and a refreshed cabin completed the makeover.
Almost but not quite: there was a new body too. The coupé was available in all trims and one other besides. The Coupé AMG Black Series put out 510bhp for 0-62mph in 4.2sec, and had the wheel arches to prove it. Today, prices start at around £80,000. Too expensive? The last- of-the-line Edition 507 Estate and saloon with the Performance Pack as standard have the same bonnet, 500bhp and start at around £35,000.
Whichever C 63 you go for, you’ll find many have had multiple keepers. People can only stomach 17mpg for so long. No problem. As James’s car proves, if the model can take six months of skid-pan punishment, it can take anything.
How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view – OLIVER STONER, PRESTIGE CAR SERVICE:
“We get around four C 63s through the workshop every month. I’ve heard all the stories about noisy cam lifters and the rear head bolts failing on some cars – we’ve never seen those problems. We’ve seen lambda and thermostat issues, though. The thermostat sticks open, so it’s just warming up that suffers, rather than the engine being starved of coolant. They can use a bit of oil: one to two litres between services. The suspension is simple – no Airmatic – and as long as you steer clear of the Performance Pack brakes, discs are relatively cheap. One of my technicians owned a C 63 Estate for 12 months and other than its running costs – 17mpg and £535 road tax – he loved it.”
ENGINE – If it’s an early car, check condition of rear cylinder head bolts (a few were known to break). Listen for a noisy engine indicating cam lifter wear but, again, it’s rare. Low oil level suggests sloppy attention between services. Listen, too, for a noisy timing chain adjuster. Check thermostat operation. Oil-filled engine mounts on cars with 60k-plus miles can fail; feel for vibration. Fix is around £400.
TRANSMISSION – A fluid and filter change every 40,000 miles is best. Check later MCT auto has no hot-running issues. If it has a limited-slip diff, check if factory fit or aftermarket such as Quaife and that work was properly done.
BRAKES AND SUSPENSION – Front control arms can split at around 60,000 miles. Where fitted, check 19in wheels, which are prone to cracking. Standard discs are reasonably inexpensive at £70 but Performance Pack’s floating items are around £400; if fitted, check their condition. Check rear brake pipes for corrosion.
BODY – Lower grille is susceptible to stone damage. Check wheel arches for scrapes, wheels for kerbing and door mirrors for squeak-free operation.
INTERIOR – Check operation of door handles and driver’s seat adjustment. Expect some creaks courtesy of the stiff suspension, but on pre-facelift cars listen for a rattle from the fascia’s right-hand side. Check Comand system is glitch-free.
Also worth knowing:
The cost of a 12-month extended Merc warranty is an indication of the scale of the repair costs you might expect to face. Mercedes wants £4414 for our ‘One we found’ example. Go to mercedes-benzwarranty.co.uk
How much to spend:
£16,500-£19,995 – Range of 2008-10 saloons and estates with mileages between 60k and 120k.
£20,000-£22,995 – Mainly 2009-11 cars, around 60k miles.
£23,000-£24,995 – First 2012-13 MCT cars, plus low-mileage (circa 40k) 2008-11 cars.
£25,000-£27,995 – More 2012-13 cars with around 55k miles, plus coupes with 45k miles.
£28,000-£29,995 – Lots of low-mileage 2012-14 cars, some fully warranted main dealer stock.
£30,000+ – Loads of late-plate cars at low mileages, 507-spec models from around £40k; Black Series from £80k.
One we found:
MERCEDES C63 AMG ESTATE, 2010/10, 76K MILES, £19,995: This estate has full Merc history (all by the same dealer) and just three former keepers in all. It’s a standard car on slightly more forgiving 18in wheels.