- Published: Friday, 11 August 2017 07:32
Mercedes-AMG’s C 63 S coupe isn’t nice when playing nice. It’s a snarly-faced, highly-focused racetrack refugee that needs a driver to match
We’ve extensively toured through AMG’s modern range by now: The new 43 line of ‘semi-hot’ performance cars has been rolled out (read our guide to them online). Its worst example is confused: the GLC 43 Coupe, tries to do too many things at once and fails. At its best, the sublime, involving C 43 sedan is enough to tempt you away from the hilariously excessive C 63 S sedan.
But we only say that because it’s been some time since we tested a real AMG V8. In fact, while the C 63 was launched two years ago, in August 2015, it’s only now that we’ve gotten behind the wheel of the most extreme example of the C-Class family, the C 63 S Coupe.
While the difference between a BMW M3 and M4 is minor, two doors aside, the C 63 S coupe is quite a different beast from its sedan brother.
While the sedan pulls off the subtle canine-in-ovine-disguise thing well, the coupe goes full-on three-headed dog guardian of hell. Its front and rear track (widened by a crazy 73mm and 46mm respectively) are framed by bulging wheelarches and a typical AMG front end that’s all grimace and air-gulping.
It doesn’t stray into chav territory though, as there’s no big wing on the back, only a subtle bootlid spoiler. The sizeable 19-inch wheels frame 390mm front discs and red six-piston brake callipers. That, plus the quad tailpipes and fat 285mm wide rear tyres, all means there’s really no mistaking it for something non-AMG.
Like any proper AMG, the living, breathing heart of the car is the 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8, assembled by a single artisan at AMG, which is closely related to the engine from the even more focused AMG GT sports car, linked to the AMG-only ‘MCT Speedshift’ seven-speed gearbox.
It’s still a phenomenal engine, and one that makes us seriously re-think the $130k difference between the C 43 and C63 coupes. Even in mundane situations, it sounds like a titan gargling gravel, and when called to deliver, it shoves on aural overdrive with more torque and speed than you’ll ever know what to do with. Slowing down? Backing off the gas comes with a giggle-worthy spray of backfire, while the excellent brakes have power and feel in reams.
That’s all in Sport+ mode, and there’s naturally lots of scope for adjusting all the systems to your liking. The general modes are Individual, Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Race (the latter turns on Sport ESP), while buttons on the shifter console tweak suspension, manual gearshift mode, ESP and the exhaust sound separately.
But like the competition the C 63 has evolved into something so quick and accomplished that a normal driver will probably never tickle its limits day-to-day. The super wide stance and tyres underscore an agility and sharpness that wasn’t present before. The old C 63, with its 6.3-litre non-turbo V8, was old-school, slightly predictable and push-able - the new model is all-out sports-car focused, delivering a huge amount of performance, but also intimidating to nudge anything near the limit, especially on normal roads.
Command the beast into docility and it does a passable imitation of a normal C coupe, though the suspension remains resolutely firm. You’ll feel every expansion joint, even thickly-laid on white lines. But that’s forgivable in a machine like this, as are the four seats and less luggage space, though not in an SUV.
There has also been some evolution since the sedan, too. While the suspension makes you feel constantly like a racetrack refugee (and the car makes you drive like one too), the initial jerkiness observed on small applications of throttle in the C63 sedan is gone, so if the road is smooth, ‘Comfort’ mode does actually live up to its premise.
Unfortunately that accounts for less than three percent of Singapore’s roads now, or feels like it anyway. At least the supportive sport seats hug you tightly, the swathes of carbon fibre and Burmester sound system can distract you from earthly concerns, at least until the road opens up and you can let the monstrous turbo V8 sing again.
Also with regards to the competition, the C 63 S wins the top trump wars, it having more power and straightline speed than the M4, RC F and RS 5, if that’s important to you. Where the AMG trumps them is in drama and involvement, though the RC F is a little more charming and less ‘hurl you into the scenery’ scary.
According to our earlier review in CarBuyer, the regular C-Class coupe, is a great car to be seen in. As a corollary, the C 63 is one that’s impossible to be heard, or seen in.
The thunderous growl of the V8 makes conversation impossible, and its sheer, sledgehammer speed will probably make non-petrolhead bystanders curse your name. But it won’t matter, because you’ll be too busy laughing your head off and gone in flash.
Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe
Engine 3,982cc, 32V, V8, twin-turbo
Power 510bhp at 5500-6250rpm
Torque 700Nm at 1750-4500rpm
Gearbox 7-speed automatic
Top Speed 250km/h
0-100kmh 3.9 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.7L/100km
Price $462,888 with COE
Agent Cycle & Carriage
Also Consider: Audi RS 5, BMW M4, Lexus RC F