600bhp modified 2018 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG C205
Pushing out almost 600hp, this modified C205 C63 AMG is a pure performance powerhouse. Words Emma Woodcock. Photos Adrian Brannan.
Out of the box the C205 C63 AMG is a seriously impressive machine but add some styling enhancements and crank up the power and it becomes an absolute beast.
The unmistakable sound of a big-capacity V8 hammers at the air, over-speeding the rear axle and sending the car into a graceful slide. You can believe your eyes! This is an up-to-the-minute AMG C63 coupé and it’s drifting. In a world where battered BMWs and aggressively cambered Nissans form the status quo, this Mercedes’ sideways stance leaves you brimmed with questions. This is no standard AMG experience and Barry Burrell is no ordinary Mercedes owner.
Bike racing fans may well have heard of him before now. He made his name wrestling 1000cc monsters at the front of the British Superbike field, yet he’s every bit as excited by high-speed four-wheelers. As if to prove the point, he established Speed Ministry, a one-stop tuning shop capable of making both car and driver quicker. “I’ve wanted to do something like this for years,” he tells us. Why not stick with powerful bikes? “Enthusiasts drive and tune their cars all year round. Motorcycling is a far more seasonal pursuit,” he explains.
After opening its doors in March 2018, Speed Ministry forged a reputation for extracting big power and enhanced chassis dynamics from BMW M cars, but Barry wanted a fresh challenge. A C205 C63 was the answer. Now, no good tuning company would leave its demonstrator standard for long, and Speed Ministry is no different, which is why the car was quickly transformed into a monster. A full Akrapovic Evolution Line exhaust came first, the system’s titanium pipes arcing into an active crossover allowing output gases from both cylinder banks to mingle before the tuneful combo hits bulky valves. The result is a distinctive aural revolution. “It’s actually a little quieter from inside the car,” smirks Barry. “The titanium dissipates sound quicker than standard pipework, but the tone is far crisper. It’s a quality system.” A set of matt carbon fibre exhaust surrounds provide the visual clout to match.
The Akrapovic kit was quickly paired with a Pipercross air filter, ensuring the twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 could breathe freely before its date on the rollers. Speed — produces its own custom maps, designed and executed by an in-house calibrator. “We were keen to explore the power a tuned C63 might produce,” Barry stresses. “When we started the project, few companies were playing with the W205 AMG platform. We wanted to be at the forefront of this new wave of Mercedes modifying, so you can imagine how pleased we were when, after we coursed through line after line of ECU code, our development vehicle delivered more than 600hp on the dyno. I was impressed,” he grins, suitably proud of a job well done.
The immense power, however, came in like a wrecking ball. While big numbers generated during the car’s time on the rolling road looked good on paper, Barry was keen to tame the beast. A slight detune with a focus on roadgoing driveability has, therefore, culminated in the creation of a more useable performance Mercedes. It’s one which currently serves as its master’s daily, and thanks to a respectable 575hp coupled with 570lb ft torque, it’s a C63 still capable of serving up an absolute maelstrom.
With apexes to clip, the Speed Ministry gang wasted no time in refreshing the C63’s suspension. “We were going to fit lowering springs, but as soon as I experienced the car after its new map was installed, it was clear we would need a far beefier setup,” Barry recalls.
KW Variant 3 coilovers provided the perfect solution. The sophisticated dampers come with a wide range of adjustability, including tweakable ride height, compression and rebound, allowing the user to fine-tune the host vehicle for every driving environment, be it fast-road, track day or competition.
That’s not all. Thanks to KW’s advanced design, Barry and his team can be sure their C63 will never meet a situation it can’t handle. Working to similar concepts, the Variant 3’s patented Twin Valve Rebound Adjustable (TVR-A) and Twin Valve Compression Adjustable (TVC-A) technologies use dual-valving to bake in high-speed responses. In short, this means each coilover is pre-set to act predictably when the going gets especially tough. Add a welcome dose of road-racer stance, and it’s easy to see to understand why these premium performance dampers have proved so popular.
“They’ve worked out really well on the AMG,” Barry muses. “In standard guise, the rear of the car would come around in unwelcome fashion if you turned into a corner off the throttle. It’s a condition totally eliminated following the installation of the coilovers, which help with faster, more responsive direction changes as well as encouraging the car to hold the road more efficiently.” Thankfully, the change in character hasn’t come at the expense of comfort; despite running his AMG with aggressive, circuit-ready settings, the sensational C63 you’re looking at on these pages is still a perfectly useable road car. “I thought the KWs would need constant alteration, but there’s a sweet spot that’s great for both road and track work,” he reveals.
The Speed Ministry Mercedes now had the allout performance to snap necks, but it needed the appearance to match. Building on its previous experience sourcing and fitting bespoke carbonfibre components to the bodies of BMWs, the team responded by searching Europe for a set of motorsport-inspired add-ons for the C63. “The task was tougher than we thought,” Barry says. “The AMG C205 features completely different styling to the saloon and estate models.” Nevertheless, his band of merry men persisted, leading to the reward at the end of a four-month quest; a bounty of lacquered weave now runs all over the car. Up front, heavily curved carbon dive planes and a full-length splitter pointing up towards the wheel arches are bolstered by the presence of striking grille inserts. There’s a blunt, stocky spoiler at the rear, while floor-nudging side skirts underscore the sills with lightweight composite. It’s pure track-orientated theatre, imbuing the C63 with a level of aggression rarely seen this side of the pit wall.
One final change completes the visual conversion. Punching out of the arches, measuring 19” at the front axle and 20” at the rear is a set of sparkling HRE P101 alloys and they instantly elevate this awesome AMG to the status of show stopper. “In terms of quality, nothing comes close to HRE products,” Barry grins. Forged from a single billet of 6061-T6 aluminium, each rim combines distinctive, filigree spoke style with minimal weight and immense strength. It’s easy to see why Barry fell in love with the wicked wheels.
When it comes to appreciating the finished Benz, the general public is equally enamoured. Indeed, several Mercedes fans have tried to buy the sleek sports machine. One owner even booked into the workshop on the strength of nothing more than the development car’s exhaust note. “I drove past the guy, who was also piloting a C63,” remembers Barry. “He tracked me down and booked his car in for the installation of an Akrapovic system the very next day!”
Barry remains infatuated with fast Mercedes models and the C63 has become a favourite in his fleet. “I was supposed to be getting rid of the Merc following completion of its development work, but I’m definitely keeping the car,” he confesses. Ask how the AMG compares to his BMW M4 and he’s equally effusive. “The Merc wins every time. It looks great, goes like stink and the noise is amazing!” From DTM-esque decoration to a hammering exhaust note, this force-fed V8 is personalised perfection.
Aggressive full-width carbon fibre front splitter and canards give this C63 a sense of menace
Carbon fibre mirror caps Full Akrapovic Evolution Line titanium exhaust has been fitted Mighty M177 V8 makes serious turbocharged power. Stock cabin offers the perfect blend of sportiness and comfort This C63 AMG makes some very big numbers. Performance enhancements have resulted in 575hp and 570lb ft of torque. Stunning forged HRE P101 wheels measure 19” up front and 20” at the rear KW V3 coilovers deliver the perfect drop.
I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE GETTING RID OF THE MERC FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF ITS DEVELOPMENT WORK, BUT I’M DEFINITELY KEEPING THE CAR… IT LOOKS GREAT, GOES LIKE STINK AND THE NOISE IS AMAZING!