|Engine’s as strong as an ox and loves to rev, new nine-speed gearbox
|Too many drive modes
We like Mercedes-AMG’s C63. It may have traded its glorious naturally aspirated V8 in 2015 for a smaller, turbocharged eight-cylinder motor but its hard-as-nails character and steely eyed focus on performance and driver thrills has endeared the line-up to us all at evo.
It’s quite the line-up, too. Four body styles (coupe, saloon, estate and cabriolet), two states of tune for the hot-vee 4.0-litre and rear-wheel drive throughout. So while contemporary rivals from Audi Sport and BMW M have one or two options for you (estate, coupe and forthcoming 4-door coupe from Audi or saloon, coupe and convertible from BMW) neither delivers a full quartet and only BMW overs different levels of performance through its Competition Pack and limited run CSmodels.
As with the rest of the C-class line-up, the C63 range has emerged from its mid-season refresh with all four body styles and both engines still offered.
Engine, transmission and 0-100 time
Is there a performance engine used in more applications than AMG’s hot-vee 4.0-litre V8? I ran out of digits at 20 models you’ll find the twin-turbocharged engine fitted to. This includes anything from a two-seater Nürburgring lap record menace (the GT R), a five-metre plus long limo (S63), roadsters, coupes, saloon and estates, seven-seat SUVs and, of course, the new G wagen.
In this revised C63 line-up it remains unchanged from its previous application, with two power and torque outputs depending on whether you go for the normal or S model. The lower powered unit develops 469hp at 5500-6250rpm and 479lb ft of torque from 1750 through to 4500rpm. Go for the S and power increases to 503bhp between 5500 and 6250rpm with torque escalating to 516lb ft from 2000 to 4500rpm.
Regardless of engine tune, all C63 models are fitted with the latest nine-speed AMG Speedshift MCT auto replacing the previous seven-speed unit. With a wet-clutch instead of the torque converter, not only is it lighter but the nine-speed unit also benefits from quicker response times under acceleration. In manual mode you can blissfully hit the engine’s limiter with the ‘box refusing to change up until you’ve flicked the right-hand paddle. And an electronic limited-slip diff is fitted to all models, regardless of engine output.
The quickest of the refreshed C63 range is the 63 S Coupe, reaching 100kph in 3.9 seconds and limited to 289kph. Its 469hp brother requires an additional tenth to reach the sprint benchmark and is restricted to 249kph. The S Estate and Cabriolet models are a tenth quicker to 62 than the non-S variants at 4.1 seconds, with S models of both topping out at 278kph compared to 249kph for the non-S. Opt for the saloon and you’ll wait 4.0 and 4.1 seconds respectively to reach 100kph and hit the limiter at 289kph and 249kph respectively.
Are you sitting comfortably, warm/cold brew in hand depending on your time zone? Good, then we’ll begin with the revised C63’s range of technical wizardry.
We’ll start with the AMG Dynamic Select drive functions. There are six in total, five pre-programmed: Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Race (for the C63 S models only) and Individual, the latter lets you select your desired engine, gearbox, damping and exhaust setting.
What’s it like to drive?
Like a C63 S that’s been through a very thorough once-over and freshen up. We only drove the S models on the car’s international launch in coupe, saloon and estate form and, to a model, each one portrayed those C63 traits so many have come to admire.
Price and rivals
With prices yet to be confirmed by Mercedes, AMG C63 ownership starts in the region of $87,500 for a saloon and $99,000 for an S. A Coupe S will set you back in the region of $102,000 and a C63 S Estate is expected to cost $100,500.
Rivals come thick and fast from the Munich area. Audi’s new RS4 Avant costs $81,830, its RS5 coupe retailing at $83,650 and don’t forget Audi will also add the RS5 Sportback later this year, a body style AMG only offers as an SUV in the guise of the $91,275 GLC 63, or $103,820 for the GLC 63S.
BMW has three body styles to rival AMG’s four: the $78,900 M3 saloon and $79,500 M4 coupe and cabriolet. Unlike Audi, BMW M also offers a few performance options: standard, Competition Pack models and CS, although not for the M4 Cabriolet.
Leaving Germany for a moment, there is also Lexus’s rather splendid $80,640 RC F coupe, a leftfield choice but one with the most charismatic engine of the lot and an unexpectedly sweet chassis, too.
This article originally appeared at evo.co.uk
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