Mercedes-AMG C63 R Preview

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What it is: The ultimate performance C-class, wide-bodied and carbon- fiberized. In the past, AMG might’ve called it the Black Series, but AMG has begun badging its track-focused models with the letter R. Like the AMG GT R, the C63 R gets more power, loses weight, and benefits from increased downforce due to aerodynamic enhancements.

Why it matters:  This expansion of track-focused offerings demonstrates AMG’s continued commitment to retina-detaching performance. Also, one of our few gripes with the C63 is that it’s heavier than the competition; the R should drop a few pounds.

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Platform:  A version of the existing C63 architecture lightened with carbon-fiber front fenders and roof. The C63 coupe already uses a wider body than the standard C-class, and because our sources spotted a disguised wide-body C-class sedan in Affalterbach, Germany, AMG’s home, our money is on the R being available as both a coupe and a sedan.

Powertrain: Latitude is the AMG twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8’s middle name. Though it produces 503 horsepower in the C63 S, it’s tuned for an additional 100 horsepower in the E63 S 4MATIC+. Such a significant power increase for the C63 R, however, might necessitate adding the E63’s all-wheel-drive system and nine-speed gearbox.

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Competition: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, BMW M4 GTS, Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.  What might go wrong: Very little. This ultimate, double throwdown C-class is likely to be a stiff, track-focused proto-DTM car, with less tolerance for road driving than its more street-compromised siblings. That won’t likely hurt it since more lux versions like the C63 and the C43 are available for the less committed.

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Estimated arrival and price:  New in 2014, the C-class traditionally follows a seven-year product cycle. Special versions like this usually arrive at the end, so the R is probably still a couple of years away, after the C’s midcycle refresh. And AMG isn’t shy about cranking up the sticker. A starting price about 30 percent higher than the C63 S coupe’s will put its base price at a nice, round $100,000.

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