Is the stunning new Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe as mental as it always was? We find out with an occasionally sideways spin in the Middle East
|Engine||Power||Torque||0-100kph||Top speed||Weight||Basic price|
|V8, biturbo, 3982cc||503bhp @ 5500-6250rpm||516lb ft @ 1750-4500rpm||3.9secs||250kph||1725kg (292bhp/ton)||$105,900|
The immediate wonder about the new Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe is neither the marvel of its 570bhp twin-turbo V8 nor the seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission it’s mated to. No, the real wonder concerns the E63 S, which shares the same 4-litre turbo V8 yet delivers 612bhp, plus that 3.4secs time lapse to 100kph on the E compared with 3.9secs on the C. Sure, part of it is due to the E-Class’ 4MATIC four-wheel drive and the weight such a system brings to the party. And yet, it just smells like Mercedes has purposefully de-tuned the C63 S to prevent potential threats from within. I’ll come back to that thought process in a second though, because I have – HAVE – to start with those looks.
As we established on the international launch in 2015, the C63 S Coupe is gorgeous. From every angle it just screams ‘speed’ and ‘sportiness’. Aggressive lines from the side, a reworked front end that reminds me of an old Formula 1 car and a rear diffuser that ends in the quadruple body integrated exhausts. It even features a single-nut wheel hub, much like, again, F1 cars, top-grade Porsche 911s and a few supercars. Admittedly, on closer inspection, the hub itself is just a cap under which is a more standard, and more worldly, six-screw arrangement of regular production cars, which does hurt the ‘mystique’ just a dash.
It is this particular detail, along with the aforementioned possible ‘de-tune’ that frightens me into thinking the whole AMG C63 S Coupe affair might be more about form than function. More about looks than grunt. Pose over poise.
Design nailed, what’s the drive like?
Strengthening that feeling is the sound of the engine: much like Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Ferrari, the AMG has built in a ‘LookAtMe’ feature. Here is how it works: depress the throttle and hit the starter button. This sequence triggers a starter process that switches the engine on, elevates the revs to around 2,000 before returning to a comfortable 800rpm idle. Look around to find everyone staring back at you.
But, if you are as shy as I am, you may just get in, put it in gear and snap out of existence in about an Nth of a second. And you can do that comfortably as well. Whereas previous editions of the C63 AMG were clonky, hard and an all-out exercise of back-wheel reigning, the latest out of the madhouse is actually very progressive. Firm in its acceleration, but very controlled and, though I hate to admit this, poised.
Because let’s not forget that we are dealing with an AMG here. A slightly toned down one, yes, but the lunacy is still there. Whereas products from Affalterbach of yore were suicide machines, the C63 S is very fast, very sensible, very playful and very heroic. And very, very good. Were you interested in accessing the blue face-painted Braveheart lunatic mode, you have three options. Option one is switching off the traction control altogether, which, on the AMG, is done by simply holding the ‘ESC’ button for funf seconds (a bad idea if you are not named Luca or AJ, crankandpiston’s resident sideways nuts). Option two is to play around with ‘Sport+’ or ‘Race’ mode, which stiffens the suspension, tightens the differential, allows enough give at the rear wheels to make you feel master of the universe, and keeps the transmission in ‘plenty of power available’ format. Option three is pedal-to-the-metal in any drive mode, meaning guaranteed traction control interference up to third gear.
So, possibly de-tuned power that’s still mental? Tick tick. Indeed, there is so much power available, it is hard to finesse turn-ins and exits. The updated ESC, combined with variable double wishbone suspension keeps you flat and in control, but the smallest of excess through the throttle sends the back out. Lap time munchers might object, but most of you won’t care. It’s so much fun.
In terms of comfort…?
Well, as for cabin comforts, the C63 S Coupe can mount the Burmeister package I have raved about in the past, but in all honesty, you are better served with rolling down the windows and enjoying the music coming from the exhausts. ‘Silent’, the Merc is not, and with the exception of seat massages (which are not available on the AMG sport seats in our test model), every other disposition is available. There is even enough space for adults in the back. Sort of, given that head and legroom is limited for the two 5’ 5”-ers you can fit on the back seats. The only issue might be access, as you need to be pretty limber to get in even with the front seat all the way forward. The permanent critic in me mentions there is no head-up display, although this is available as an option, and while there is a spare wheel, it pretty much obliterates the boot space.
But all in all, the C63 S Coupe is an astonishing piece of kit that is sure to put a smile on your face every morning. And on every roundabout, off-ramp and corner. Just be extremely careful with speed bumps as the front lip may scratch and send shivers to your spine. It’s also worth mentioning that, at $100k, the Mercedes is right there with the BMW M4, even if Cadillac’s ATS-V Coupe is 30k below that. It is not as sharp a driving machine as the BMW and has a far more brand value and frills than the Cadillac, but it’s by far the most powerful of the trio and probably the most fun. Not bad for a possibly ‘de-tuned’ sister to the E63.
Enjoy our Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe test drive?
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- Technical specifications available on page 2