FEW CARS LIFT WITH SUCH ELECTRIC EFFORTLESS EASE AS THE MERCEDES-AMG C 63. Instant, weightless, and with such spearing urgency, it just paws at the ground a moment and disappears.
If that were all there was to it, you’d be satisfied. But it’s not; because there is also the sound it makes, a deep rumble that transforms to a thunderclap bellow in an instant.
Then, if that were all, you’d be doubly satisfied. But, again, it’s not. Because the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupe steers to perfection; the snorting power of a raging bull but one with a surgical front-end.
Impressive everywhere, the AMG C 63 Coupe is, to its wheelnuts, one of the great driver’s cars of the moment.
Vehicle style: Premium sports coupe
Price: $162,400 (plus on road costs)
Engine/transmission: 375kW/700Nm 4.0 turbo petrol 8cyl | 7sp automatic
Fuel Consumption Claimed: 8.7 l/100km | Tested: 13.1 l/100km
That ‘one hundred big ones’ buys one of the best high-performance engine and drivetrains that money can buy – AMG’s monstrous twin-turbo 4.0 litre V8. It also buys an interior trimmed to perfection and a car that can nail V8 Supercar track times straight out of the box.
If that has any appeal to you – and, yes, it comes a price that few of us can contemplate – then treat yourself to some time in this seat: at the wheel of AMG’s sensational C 63 Coupe. If you have not had the experience before, it will change you.
- Key features: Electrically adjustable front seats with 4-way electropneumatic lumbar support and memory function, electric park brake, keyless start function, dual-zone automatic climate control with dust filter, rear ventilation nozzle for the rear, multifunction display with trip computer, rain-sensing wipers, 360 degree surround view camera, AMG-specific head-up display.
- Infotainment: Burmester surround sound with 13 speakers, 9-channel amplifier and 590 watt output, Comand Online with 8.4-inch TFT colour display, HDD navigation, touchpad, single disc CD/DVD player, 10GB music storage, Bluetooth interface, voice activation, digital TV tuner, media interface featuring iPod/iPhone integration, USB connectivity (two ports in centre armrest).
It is beautiful inside, but in its own way – at least in that Mercedes-Benz way. Understated? No, it is not. That big chunky dash, air-vents like jet intakes, splashes of brushed aluminium, and the screen hung like an iPad in the middle of things, it lacks some of the cohesion and finessed style of its Audi and BMW competitors.
But there is an easy Teutonic organisation to things, and, whether negotiating the sat-nav, or scrolling through any of the functions, it’s logical and simply understood.
The sports seats, grippy, shaped to perfection for press-on driving and sumptuously-trimmed in contrasting Nappa leather, are as good as you’ll find. Shaped just right from the moment you take the wheel, electrically adjustable every-which-way and with adjustable support under the thighs, they are also impressively comfortable.
The rear seats are also nicely scalloped like individual buckets, but the raked roofline ensures that they’re for shorter adults or younger children. Though knee-room is fine, an average-sized colleague found his forehead at the rooflining when trying them for size.
But this car is for the sheer hedonist joy of driving, and not really about shuttling the kids to school.
And you’ll feel this from the moment you take the wheel. Because then C 63 shrinks around you, the high, wide, centre console, paddles at the finger tips, and that beautiful alive sports steering wheel in hand (trimmed in black Nappa), it feels through-and-through all high-performance track car.
And if the thunderous sound-track of the engine going about the business can’t keep you fully entertained, there is also the equally thunderous 590W 13-speaker Burmester sound system to distract you from the rude intrusions of the world outside.
ON THE ROAD | RATING: 4.5/5
- Engine: 375kW/700Nm 4.0 litre twin-turbo direct injected V8
- Transmission: Seven-speed multi-clutch transmission, rear wheel drive
- Suspension: Four-wheel independent multi-link suspension/electrically controlled limited-slip differential
- Brakes: 390mm cross drilled front rotors (optional carbon ceramic brakes)
- Steering: electrically assisted power steering
On the drying but damp roads we were driving – heavily shaded slippery corners followed by dry sun-bathed straights – it was an easy matter in Sport+ to squeeze the accelerator and slide the back around to tighten the line, then fire to the next.
In such patchy conditions, you would trust few cars the way you can trust this one.
And that 700Nm of torque? Immense, absurd in fact that anyone might consider unleashing such numbers on the straight-jacket of Australia’s public roads, but it will awaken in an instant and makes the AMG C 63 such a potent weapon.
Stamp the accelerator and the ability of this car to instantly lift, as though it is as light as air, and to then spear to the horizon will have the neck-hairs tingling. It is such an electrifying drive.
The selectable four-mode switch (positioned away from the driver in this right-hand-drive market), with Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Track modes, transforms the feel, and progressively jettisons traction and slip control (and hands more control to the driver).
In Comfort, though still thunderously powerful, things soften. The steering, transmission mapping, damping, everything becomes a little fuzzier and less-alert, and, though not harsh nor uncomfortable in any mode, 'Comfort' is certainly more compliant and with less feedback from the road surface.
We chose Sport+ in the main. ‘Track’ turns nearly everything off, and not what you want on public roads on a patchy surface and damp weather.
Sport and Sport+ is for those who love to drive; who want to balance a car in rapid cornering, to feel it squirm under full power, and yet has the ‘hand of God’ not too far away, should it get out of hand.
And there are few joys quite like driving such a beautifully balanced and potent machine as the AMG C 63.
Whether paddling through the seven-speed transmission in manual, or leaving things to the car, the gear changes – upshifts and downshifts – are sheer theatre. A thunderclap on upshifts, and a throat-clearing double-blip on downshifts, everything adds to the visceral enjoyment of the drive.
The steering is surgical, the front-end tucks and points and is instantly responsive to the wheel, and the electrically controlled limited-slip differential provides astonishing grip and control. This is a very rapid point-to-point tourer, and, quite simply, one of the world’s great driver’s cars.
ANCAP rating: The C-Class Coupe range has yet to be tested by ANCAP.
Safety features: ABS, EBD, traction and stability control, nine airbags (curtain, front side, rear side, driver, passenger and driver's knee), 360 degree camera, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, tyre pressure monitoring.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
There is, of course, the BMW M4 Competition Coupe. With a glorious 337kW/550Nm twin-turbo in-line six, race-car balance and handling, beautiful interior, this, like the AMG, is a benchmark high-performance Coupe.
It balances sledgehammer power with sublime poise, and, at $154,500 (plus on roads) costs quite a bit less the AMG C 63 Coupe. But it doesn’t have the AMG’s V8, nor the feeling of monstrous power.
Maybe then the Audi RS 7. Not a two-door coupe, but with a coupe-like roofline and a pounding 445kW and 700Nm of torque. The Audi has the more modern interior, quattro grip and a similar over-abundance of muscular power and torque, but crikey it’s expensive at $258,000 (plus on-road costs).
Then there’s the $147,110 (plus on-roads) Lexus RC F Carbon Coupe. Quite a bit cheaper than the AMG, and V8-powered with a creditable 351kW and 530Nm at its disposal. We have put it around Bathurst, and it is not shabby. The Lexus is far better in fact than some reviewers will concede. A little ‘tubby’, they say, but in fact around exactly the same weight as the AMG C 63.
But, of all these, the AMG C 63 Coupe has no peer. It is simply the best of them.
VERDICT | OVERALL
This is an astonishing car. It is simply so competent, so fast and so desirable.
It makes all the right noises, is comfortable, such fun to drive (slow or fast), beautifully engineered and built to perfection. It also has that "there is a shark in the water" ominous presence with that bulging snout, fat wide rubber and the deep growling rumble as it slides past.
If you can whistle up the $162k (plus) asking, then you must sit yourself in this car. You will be very well-satisfied that you did.
And all that power and torque? If you don’t want to shred your licence, one of the privileges of ownership is the many track days and driver experience training – with race car trainers to make you the best driver you can be – that Mercedes-Benz offers through its Driving Academy.
There are few joys like full power down the main straight of Phillip Island or Eastern Creek in a C 63 AMG.
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VISIT THE SHOWROOM: Mercedes-AMG C 63 - Price, Features, and Specifications