2020 Mercedes-benz Mercedes-amg C-class Expert Review


The Mercedes-AMG C-Class models are the high-performance versions of the German brand’s compact-luxury car.

As with the C 300 (reviewed separately), these AMG-massaged performance cars from Mercedes-Benz are available in sedan, coupe and cabriolet body styles. The twin-turbocharged V6-powered C 43 is the Goldilocks of the bunch, offering an ample performance increase over the standard C-Class at a relatively attainable price starting around $57,000.

If you have a penchant for power — and a budget closer to $70,000 — the V8-powered C 63 variants offer 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 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and Audi S5/RS 5.

Driving the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class

Whichever Mercedes-AMG C-Class model you choose, you’ll get a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 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 all-wheel-drive grip and quick shifting via the 9-speed automatic transmission.

For most buyers, the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 43 will deliver more performance than they will ever use. This sedan can rip from rest to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. That’s significantly more performance than the standard C 300 4Matic supplies, and for less than a $13,000 premium.

You can file the Mercedes-AMG C 63 models under the “diminishing returns” category, but we must admit they are an absolute blast to drive. How does a 3.8-second 0-to-60-mph time sound? That’s the figure for the 503-horsepower C 63 S sedan, matching that of the furious Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. For the coupe and cabriolet versions of the C 63, that number will be a tick more or less.

Be aware that the AMG performance suspension results in a harsher ride, especially in the outrageous C 63 S variants. Various drive modes allow you to tailor the ride quality from Comfort to Sport settings, but don’t expect anything but clear communication from the road surface. Also, the C 63 models have a “Race Start” function for rapid launches, while the C 63 S has a dedicated Race mode that optimizes the car for track settings.

Driving the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class

CAR-TO-X COMMUNICATION

Experience the future, today. Included in the optional Multimedia Package, Car-to-X communication gives the 2020 Mercedes-AMG C-Class the ability to communicate with other so-equipped Mercedes vehicles, providing information about local weather conditions, driving hazards, and more.

DRIVER-ASSISTANCE PACKAGE

For $1,700, this option bundles a wealth of active safety and assistance features including innovations such active emergency-stop assist, which springs into action when the driver suffers a medical emergency, and evasive-steering assist, which can help you retain control during evasive action, such as when a pedestrian walks in front of the vehicle.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Interior

Not surprisingly, the interiors of the Mercedes-AMG C-Class models closely mirror those of the standard models. That’s a good thing, as this elegant cabin 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.

A 10.25-inch digital central display dominates the dashboard, its functions accessible using controls on the center console and the steering wheel. For 2020, a Burmester premium surround-sound system is standard equipment, along with 64-color ambient interior lighting. Special to these C-Class performance models is an AMG-specific gauge cluster with performance menus. A 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster is optional.

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.

Favorite Features

Retaining the flowing yet muscular design of the standard C-Class sedan, coupe and convertible, these high-performance AMG C-Class variants boast elegant, timeless design.

Subtle differences distinguish the AMG models, and one of the easiest ways to spot the performance-tuned versions is their quad exhaust housings. Within the AMG lineup, the C 63 models have a more muscular hood and vertical grille bars, while the red-hot C 63 S adds telltale red brake calipers.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Standard Features

When you buy a Mercedes-AMG model over the standard C-Class, you get a full performance upgrade. The company swaps in larger and stronger engines, upgrades the transmission, and tunes the company’s 4Matic all-wheel drive to ensure maximum grip and driving thrills. Stouter brakes, a stiffer sport suspension with 3-stage variable damping, an AMG sport-exhaust system, and a dynamic cornering-assist system are also on the list of AMG improvements.

Inside, the AMG treatment includes nicer materials, sport-bolstered front heated seats, red seatbelts, brushed-aluminum pedal covers, and special instrumentation including an AMG-specific menu with a Racetimer. Additionally, the AMG C 43 features a 64-color ambient interior lighting system, illuminated doorsill trim plates, and a Burmester premium surround-sound system.

Otherwise, the standard equipment list is similar to the C 300. Highlights include dual-zone climate control, a power sunroof, hands-free power trunk opener, blind-spot monitoring system, and rain-sensing wipers. Standard tech includes a 10.25-inch high-resolution dashboard display with a rotary command knob, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, satellite and HD Radio, a free month of Wi-Fi service, and dual USB ports.

Mercedes also includes one-year of 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.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Interior

Stepping up to the C 63 models adds more of everything, including a hand-assembled twin-turbo V8 engine. The C 63 also gets a limited-slip differential, a Race Start launch-control function, high-performance braking components, and a performance exhaust system. Mercedes also adds a classy IWC analog clock to the C 63’s cabin.

Options for all models are extensive and varied. There are things you expect, like navigation and leather upholstery, and maybe a few things you don’t, like triple-zone climate control and an illuminated Mercedes star in the grille. One of our favorites is the 12.3-inch digital instrumentation panel, but the head-up display is worthy of recommendation, too.

Available active-safety systems and driving aids include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane-keeping assist, evasive-steering assist, and Pre Safe Plus, which prepares the car and its occupants for collisions. These features, and more, come in the highly recommended Driver Assistance package.

2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Engine

The 2020 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 385 horsepower. That power is routed through a performance-tuned 9-speed automatic transmission to all four wheels, and Mercedes-AMG uses a specially calibrated version of 4Matic that puts 69 percent of engine power to the rear wheels.

The rear-wheel-drive C 63 gets a handcrafted 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 good for 469 horsepower. At the top of the lineup, the C 63 S adds even more firepower to that V8, stoking it to 503 horsepower. Both employ an AMG Speedshift multi-clutch 9-speed transmission.

All engines use an Eco automatic start/stop system that turns off the engine at idle in an effort to save fuel. Restarts can be rough, but drivers can deactivate the system using a button on the center console.

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 (Mercedes-AMG C 43)
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 C 63)
469 horsepower @ 5,500-6,250 rpm
479 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (sedan), 17/26 mpg (coupe), 17/24 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: 18/27 mpg (sedan), 17/26 mpg (coupe), 17/24 mpg (convertible)

2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Exterior

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG C 43 has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $55,950, before adding the $995 destination charge. Stepping up to the V8-powered C 63 will require $68,100, and the even more potent C 63 S siphons $75,700 from your bank account. Coupe variants start a few grand higher, while the convertible models are a steeper climb, adding almost $10,000 to those prices. Loaded with options, any C 63 S can crest the $100,000 mark.

Competitors for the AMG 43 models include the Audi S4/S5 (from $49,900), the BMW M340i xDrive and 440i xDrive (from $53,350), the Cadillac CT5-V AWD (from $50,295), the Genesis G70 3.3T (from $44,650), and the Infiniti Q50/Q60 Red Sport 400 AWD (from $56,250). In terms of price, the Mercedes-AMG C 43 sits slightly above most of the competition.

Moving up a rung in performance, buyers in the segment have different alternatives to the Mercedes-AMG C 63. Alfa Romeo fields the Giulia Quadrifoglio (from $74,245). There’s the Audi RS 5, available as a coupe or liftback (from about $75,000) and, of course, the BMW M4 coupe and convertible (from $69,150). The coupe-only, V8-powered Lexus RC F is an unusual choice in the segment (about $65,000). Meanwhile, Volvo fields performance-tuned, Polestar-massaged plug-in hybrids in S60 T8 sedan and V60 T8 wagon body styles (from $65,445).

Before buying a new Mercedes-AMG C-Class, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying. If you have an old car to sell, be sure to consider the simple, easy, and fast KBB Instant Cash Offer program. And rest assured that the AMG-tuned C-Class’s resale value is expected to remain quite strong in the years ahead.

Which 2020 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-AMG C-Class Model is Right for Me?

2020 Mercedes-AMG C 43
  • Twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine
  • 9-speed automatic transmission
  • All-wheel drive
  • Sport brakes, suspension, exhaust
  • 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds (sedan)
2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63
  • Twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine
  • 9-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Performance brakes & exhaust
  • 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds (sedan)
2020 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S
  • 34 extra horsepower and 37 more lb.-ft. of torque
  • Track-ready Race driving mode w/standard AMG Drive Unit
  • Composite high-performance brakes w/red calipers
  • Nappa premium leather upholstery
  • 0-60 mph in 3.8 seconds (sedan)

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