Welcome to Depreciation Appreciation! Every month, your pals at autoTRADER.ca dig up an instance of how depreciation can make for an extraordinary used car deal.
This time round, we’re looking at a snarling hot-rod Benz with a rockin’ V8, more power than anyone needs, and a signature AMG soundtrack blasting in perpetuity from the tailpipes. The machine in question is the popular Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG – the first generation of which ran from 2008 to 2015, came in coupe or convertible variants, packed no less than 451 horsepower, and was engineered to the nines for maximal badassery and hooliganism.
Best of all, few things communicate your boss factor to fellow motorists better than sporting an AMG Benz, but things get even better when you get into one for less than the price of a new Toyota Camry.
The C63 was available as a two-door coupe/convertible or a four-door sedan, depending on the year. Unique chassis upgrades, steering systems, brakes, wheels, tires, body panels, and driveline components gave drivers a high-tech, go-fast weapon.
Styling upgrades helped set this AMG model apart from the standard C-Class your yoga instructor drives. A lowered stance, larger wheels, and trademark quad exhausts helped leave an unmistakable impression with other motorists, and the entire package rides atop an Agility Control suspension, which offers selective damping. This is not one of those performance sedans designed to be discreet, and even with factory exhaust, your neighbours will hear you coming home every night.
Power came from a 6.2-litre AMG V8 engine, generating 451 horsepower, or just over 480 with the factory Performance Package equipped. Power was routed solely to the rear wheels via a seven-speed Speedshift transmission with launch control, and 0–100 km/h arrived in about 4 seconds. Whee!
So – the C63 was fast, frisky, and since it has four adult-friendly seats, it’s totally sensible, too. You don’t even have to tell that apprehensive significant other that it’s technically a hot-rod.
“Honey, why is the car so loud?”
“Oh yeah, I just have to get a new muffler.”
Key competitors include the Lexus IS-F and BMW M3.
Approximate New Value
The C63 you’re considering probably relieved its original owner of no less than about $65,000, before any optional equipment or packages. The C63 AMG Coupe bumped that figure up towards $75,000 for most available model years. The gist? Call this one a $70,000 car when new, and easily a car much pricier than that with any optional add-ons fitted.
Approximate Used Value
Today, with reasonable mileage at a few years old, you can find a C63 like this or this for less than half of its original value, all day long. Here’s a typical example of a used C63 with low miles, a few add-on options, and well under 100,000 kilometres for under $30,000.
If you’ve got a bigger budget, units like this one, with under 50,000 kilometres are available in the mid-forties, at around 5 years old, for roughly half of their original value, all day long.
If you’re not scared of mileage, and have less to spend, higher-mileage units like this and this are available from the very low twenties, with generous selection.
Supply seems fairly high, which helps keep used pricing reasonable – but your best used-car value here will likely be on a lower-mileage copy of a C63 from an earlier model year in this generation. Shop carefully though! Some listings claim to be selling a C63 AMG that’s not in fact actually a C63 AMG. “Fake” C63 AMGs are not unheard of out in the real world, where owners simply upgrade the wheels, add a body-kit, and slap on an AMG badge they buy from the internet. These fake AMGs are always amusing for those in the know, but less so if you accidentally buy one.
Ultimately, the value sweet-spot here seems to be in a 2008 to 2011 C63 AMG approaching 100,000 kilometres.
Test Drive Tips
Used-hot-rod hats on, kiddos! Approach any and every used C63 AMG you’re short-listing assuming that it’s been used as a burnout toy a by an aspiring parking-lot drifter, or an overgrown man-child’s plaything that’s been beaten on, neglected, and improperly cared for. Assume the unit you like needs new tires, brakes, and some suspension work, and that it’s overdue for all fluid changes and tune-up work, until you see service records proving otherwise.
Check the tires carefully. If they’re el-cheapo units from a country you can’t pronounce, you’ll want to replace them immediately. Running crappy tires on a car like this one is strictly not advised.
Also, given numerous reports of borked cylinder head studs that could fail and cause massive engine damage, this machine is a great candidate for any extended warranty coverage on the powertrain. Though this issue is rare against total sales volume, it can turn your new-to-you C63 into a boat anchor in quick order, so be cautious. Warning signs of this issue may include mixing of engine coolant and engine oil (ask a mechanic to check), low oil or coolant levels, and (especially) white, sweet-smelling smoke coming from the tailpipes.
Note that this issue may be exasperated by power-boosting engine modifications, so stick to a stock model.
Oh, and make triple sure that the C63 you’re considering hasn’t been warmed ahead of your test drive – start it from cold, and be on the lookout for anything other than a little steam coming from the exhaust.
Steer the C63 rapidly and fully from one side to the other while the vehicle is stationary. Any knocking or clunking sounds may be the result of a worn out suspension or steering component. Additionally, if you note any notchiness, a lumpy feel to the steering action, or any whining sounds from under the hood, the power-steering pump is likely about to kick the bucket. Some owners have noted that aggressive and abusive driving can nuke the C63’s power-steering pump in quick order.
Finally, check the central display screen and all associated functions, all motorized seat adjustments, and the Bluetooth system for proper functionality.
The 2008–2015 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG offers up a lot of firepower for very reasonable money as a used posh-rocket buy. Still, a few rare but notable issues mean that shoppers are best to buy one only after a careful inspection by a Mercedes technician, after budgeting to add any extended warranty coverage available. Buying privately without extended warranty coverage and a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) is not advised.