Mercedes C63 vs E63 AMG
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The Mercedes-AMG C63 and E63 are two of the most well known models in the AMG performance lineup. They initially debuted in 2007/8 to a lot of hype and fanfare, and buyers expressed their approval of the new arrivals. The original C63 AMG and E63 AMGs both boasted outstanding performance, elegant styling, a luxurious and comfortable cabin, and of course, the most modern tech available. Drivers already praised both the Mercedes C-class and E-class, and the AMG tuned C/E63 variants furthered that legacy.
Traditionally, the C63 AMG is seen as the less powerful cousin of the E63 AMG, and it’s not a completely inaccurate assessment. Though it is worth keeping in mind the E63’s $20,000-$30,000 increase in price tag. In addition to the standard models, they also both feature high performance S-badged variants. The AMG C63 S and E63 S both up the power through revised tuning and engine components, have increased speed and rev limiters, and also have higher performance brakes than the standard versions.
Mercedes discontinued the C63 AMG after 2021 and the E63 S AMG after 2022, but are bringing them back in 2023 with quite a few changes. They will likely have a much smaller 2.0L engine combined with a 48v hybrid electric starter-generator system and electric turbo. Mercedes has said that power will be at least equivalent to the outgoing models, but besides that information has been hard to come by, officially.
This guide will look at the history, engines, common problems, and performance of the C63 and E63 AMGs. First, let’s take a look at the history, performance, and evolution of both cars from their first generations through today.
Mercedes C63 vs E63 AMG History & Performance
The Mercedes-AMG E63 first hit the North American market for the 2007 model year, and the AMG C63 followed closely behind making its debut in 2008. From the get go, reviewers salivated over both models’ jaw dropping performance, sleek styling, and luxurious and comfortable interiors. They both featured naturally aspirated V8s that howled down the road as terrorizing roars burst out of their quad tailpipes. Eventually, Mercedes ditched the natural aspiration for slightly smaller biturbo V8s, which increased power output and responsiveness across the board.
The C63 AMG was Mercedes’ answer to the BMW M3, and they created the E63 AMG to rival the BMW M5. They are both worthy challengers, boasting similar performance and power numbers as each other. Luckily, the German carmakers’ rivalry is the performance enthusiast’s gain, as they continue to pump out beautiful sedans capable of gargantuan performance.
W204 (2008-2014) C63 AMG
The first generation of the C63 AMG had the Mercedes M156 engine. The M156 is a 6.2L naturally aspirated, quad-cam, 32 valve, V8, with a silicone-aluminum block. Performance wise, the M156 made 451-hp and 443-tq, and it got fantastic reviews for its responsiveness, power, and sound. Unfortunately, the M156 did have issues with reliability, which we will talk about below. Previously, we looked in-depth at the M156 with our engine guide, so make sure to check that out for the full rundown on it.
The W204 C63 AMG goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and hit the ¼ in 12.1 seconds at 117 mph. It is mated with a 7-speed automatic transmission that transfers power to the rear wheels. Reviewers praise its suspension for having firm spring and shock rates without feeling too stiff or harsh while cruising. It also features 18” wheels and outstanding six-piston caliper brakes.
In 2012, the W204 C63 AMG got a facelift which included a revised front fascia, grille, and new LED lighting. Performance packages were also available for the C63, which increased power by 30-hp, featured forged internals, and raised the top speed. For the final year of the W204, Mercedes released the C63 AMG Edition 507, which bumped up power to 507-hp and featured new seats, wheels, and a custom black-series hood. The power bump was courtesy of utilizing the E63 AMG tuned version of the M156.
W205 (2015-2021) C63 AMG & C63 S AMG
In 2015, Mercedes-Benz released a new generation of the C63 AMG, which now included the high spec C63 S AMG. They both got the same engine, a 4.0L, biturbo, 32 valve, V8, known as the M177 DE 40 LA. The M177 was developed from the previous generation M176, and features twin BorgWarner single-scroll turbos. Mercedes increased the power on the C63 AMG to 469-hp and 479-tq, and 503-hp and 516-tq for the C63 S variant.
The W205 C63 AMG goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds, while the S model does it in just 3.7 seconds. Quarter mile times were 12.0 and 11.9 seconds at 122 and 123 mph, respectively. The same 7-speed transmission from the W204 remained until 2018, when AMG replaced it with a new 9-speed automatic transmission to power the real wheels. The W205 immediately received massive acclaim for its nimble handling and incredible chassis response. Critics also noted with satisfaction the automatic transmission’s quick and intelligent shifting.
In 2019, the C63/C63S AMGs received facelifts along with the rest of the C-class lineup. The facelift included revised styling, increased safety features, a larger infotainment display, and new color options. Mercedes discontinued both the C63/C63 S AMGs after the 2021 model year, partly due to the emissions output of their large V8 engines. The C63 AMG is slated to return in 2023, utilizing a 2.0L inline-4 engine with an electric-hybrid powertrain.
W211 (2007-2009) E63 AMG
The W211 E63 AMG features a performance version of the 6.2L M156 V8 that would find its way into the first generation C63 AMG the following year. The main differences are in the forged pistons, lightened crankshaft, and different tuning from AMG. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and makes the ¼ mile in 12.7 seconds at 112 mph.
Power output for the W211 E63 is 507-hp and 465-tq. It is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission that feeds power to the rear wheels. The transmission had a new feature known as Speedshift, which made more intelligent shifting decisions and changed gears 50% faster. The 2009 model year also saw some brief changes made to the cabin’s audio and navigation system.
W212 (2010-2016) E63 AMG & E63 S AMG
The W212 E63 AMG initially used the same M156 engine as before, until the 2012 model year when AMG switched to the M157 5.5L biturbo V8. The M157 features twin Garrett MGT2260SML turbos running 13 PSI (.9 bar) of boost. It has a compression ratio of 10.0:1, a new direct injection system, and sodium filled exhaust valves. The W212 E63 makes the zero to 60 mph sprint in just 4.0 seconds, and hits the ¼ mile in 12.5 seconds at 115 mph. Previously, we have looked at common problems with the M157 engine, so make sure to check out that guide for your M157 related questions.
Mercedes also completely reworked suspension for the W212 generation, including stiffer springs and shocks, beefier anti-roll bars, and adaptive dampers. The mid-generation facelift in 2014 also brought several new additions. Mercedes first began to offer the high spec E63 S variant and changed the drive train. Mercedes’ 4MATIC AWD became standard on all E63s and rear wheel drive ceased as an option.
Starting for 2016, Mercedes dropped the standard E63 for the North American market, and the E63 S AMG was the only option available in the lineup. Power output for the 2012-2015 E63 AMG equipped M157 was initially 518-hp and 516-tq. However, with the P30 performance package it jumped to 550-hp and 590-tq. In 2014, the P30 package became standard on all E63s. The 2014-2016 E63 S AMG used the same engine but saw a power bump, the result of increased boost pressure, to 577-hp and 590-tq.
W213 (2018-2022) E63 S AMG (4MATIC+ AWD)
The E63 S AMG took a year off for the 2017 model year, and returned for 2018 with a vengeance – and a new engine. The W213 generation has a similar version of the M177 DE LA 40 engine that was in the W205 C63/C63 S AMGs. It is a 4.0L, biturbo, 32 Valve, V8 engine, with direct injection. Mercedes upgraded the turbos for the E63 S over the C63/C63 S AMGs. The E-series has twin-scroll turbos, not single-scroll, which allows for better performance and efficiency.
The third generation E63 S AMG makes 603-hp and 627-tq. It blisters down the track from zero to 60 mph in just 3.0 seconds flat. It can also hit a ¼ mile in 11.1 seconds at 126 mph, rivaling the ~1,000 lighter Porsche 911. The power band on the M177 is unbelievable, and peak torque is made extremely early and lasts for days. Drivers constantly praise the engine’s responsiveness and ability to pull like a freight train until redline.
Power is fed through a 9-speed automatic transmission to Mercedes’ 4MATIC AWD system. However, the E63 S AMG also has a new feature enabled: drift mode. This allows the driver to disengage the front two wheels to mimic a RWD drive train. The suspension, chassis, and transmission all get rave reviews for the W213 generation. Reviewers call out the smooth handling and suspension in comfort mode, and contrast it with the tight performance and responsive chassis while engaged in sport mode.
999 Unit Final Edition
For the final year of the E63 S AMG, in 2022, Mercedes released the E63 S AMG Final Edition. It was limited to 999 units worldwide, and was very similar to the 2021 version, but with reworked styling. Some of the new styling included blacked out interior, napa leather seats, and a custom “1 of 999” console badge.
Mercedes C63 & E63 AMG Common Problems
Now that we have looked at the history and performance of the C63, C63 S, E63, and E63 S AMG, let’s look at some of the common problems of their engines. As we have noted, the E and C classes share the M156 and M177 DE 40 LA engines. The 2012-2016 E63 and E63S AMG also use the M157 engine, too.
Previously, we have looked at the M156 in-depth with our engine guide, so we will just provide a summary here. Make sure to check out the guide when you have a chance to answer all of your M156 related questions.
The biggest issue with the M156 engine was the head bolts. Mercedes designed them poorly and they were susceptible to corrosion, which would result in coolant leaks into the combustion chamber. In severe cases, the head bolts would break apart completely, leading to massive problems and hydro-lock. There are also extensive issues with various valve train components, including cam adjusters, cam lobes, and lifters. All of them are prone to premature wear and have design flaws in their lubrication systems.
Some of these issues were rectified after 2011, like the head bolts, but the E63 stopped using the M156 just one year after the revisions, in the 2012 model year. Still, the rest of the engine is relatively stout, and the bottom end is practically bullet proof.
We have also previously looked at common problems with the M157 engine, so check out that guide for an in-depth look at its problems. Once again, we’ll just provide a brief summary here.
The first year the M157 appeared in the E-class it suffered from lots of timing chain issues. These were related to poor designs that caused oil starvation, but were pretty much rectified after the 2012 and 2013 model years. Timing chains are frequently an issue for Mercedes’ engines, even their AMG tuned variants.
The M157 was also prone to misfires and spark issues, especially for tuned and modded engines. The valve timing cover and coolant hoses also frequently leak and need to be replaced. Overall, it is a reliable engine, but there are those small issues that are worth knowing about. Once again, just like the M156, the bottom end is impeccable and can handle basically anything you throw at it. Regular maintenance with quality oil is the best way to mitigate potential M157 issues.
M177 DE 40 LA Engine
Finally, on to the M177 DE 40 LA, the engine that powers the most recent C63/C63 S and E63 S AMGs since 2015 and 2018. Since most drivers have not reached high mileage on their M177s, data is pretty limited on long term problems. Most reports on the M177 are very appreciative of its reliability and quality.
The main issues that have popped up with the M177 are related to spark plugs and ignition coils. Some drivers report that their cars have suffered misfire issues from fouled plugs in as little as 30,000 miles. Many have pointed to faulty plugs and ignition coils as the main culprits. Unfortunately, though, is not entirely clear what has caused most of the failures. The issue is not very widespread among M177 drivers, but it has affected at least a few owners.
Besides spark issues, and common problems like loose hoses, complaints on the M177 have been relatively far and few in-between. Even heavily modded drivers have noted the reliability and stoutness of the engine’s bottom end. Which – in true Mercedes-AMG fashion – is about as bulletproof as you can get.
Other C63 and E63 AMG Common Problems
Most of the other problems related to the C63/C63 S and E63/E63 S AMGs are relatively minor and related to suspension and build quality. The early 7-speed transmissions on the C63/C63 S and pre-2018 E63 AMGs was subject to many complaints, mainly about rough downshifts, gears randomly getting skipped during acceleration, and loud popping and banging noises. Updated computer software solved some of these problems, but not all — though most transmissions have not needed rebuilding.
The suspension is also noted as being squeaky and clunky on both the C63 and E63 AMGs. It is highly recommended to inspect all bushings and other components after 80,000 miles, as there have been some reports of deterioration and excessive wear. Control arms and struts are also common places for problems.
Another big complaint, which is more serious on the C63 than the E63, are frequent rattles and squeaks. Not just from the suspension, but also from the brakes, dashboard, doors, and mirrors. It might sound surprising, but they are actually pretty common complaints from even short term owners. Motor mounts also seem to weaken and fail over time, especially on engines past 100,000 miles.
Overall, the cars are pretty reliable, and most of these issues are relatively minor in scope. Still, it is important to acknowledge these problems, even if they are not exactly earth shattering.
Mercedes C63 vs E63 AMG Summary
The Mercedes-Benz C63 and E63 AMG are two of the most capable performance vehicles in the entire Mercedes lineup. They both ooze luxury, style, reliability, and most importantly, power. Their S-badged variants take the standard models to even greater heights, churning out every bit of fun possible. Pricewise, the C63 is by far the much more affordable option, coming in $20,000-40,000 cheaper depending on options and body style. Yet, the E63 AMG is AWD vs the C63’s RWD, giving it massive advantages off the line and in wet weather.
In the performance department, the E63 S AMG is by far the most responsive and powerful, and has the best suspension. Still, the C63/C63 S are worthy competitors, boasting only slightly de-tuned versions of the same 4.0L biturbo power plant. Handling and reliability are also still outstanding, even when compared with their E-class competitor.
Models from both classes are also incredibly reliable, with relatively minimal engine problems for the most part. With the exception of very early series E63 AMGs that had the M156 head bolt and valve train issues, these cars and their motors have been paragons of dependability and fun.
Do you have a C63 or E63 AMG, or either of their S-badged variants? Or are you considering getting one off the used market?
Let us know in the comments below!