IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS in this job I’ve never run a Mercedes long-termer. This could account for why I’ve never considered myself a ‘Merc Man’. That said, the arrival of this AMG C63 S Coupe might force me to reappraise that opinion, for on the evidence of our first few weeks together I feel very much aligned with Affalterbach’s freshest export.
Given this car is a rival for the BMW M4, that’s a chunky amount of money, but personally I’ve long felt AMG’s take on the midsize two-do or rocketship is a league above the M-car. Mostly because of what sits beneath the bonnet. Stuffing a twin-turbo 4-litre V8 into the C-class yields spectacular results. This Benz has 510hp and 700Nm at its disposal. With the AMG Driver’s Pack its top-speed limit has been raised from 250km/h to 290km/h, and if you can get its rear tyre s to hook-up with the tarmac, it’ll nail 0-100km/h in less than four seconds. That seems ample to me.
The C63 S revels in its hot-rod role. Push the starter button and the whole car pulses with the throb of the V8, exhausts gurgling and burbling exuberantly -especially if you press the exhaust button and open the silencers a bit. There’s even a hint of turbine whistle from the turbos on a cold start. Your neighbours might not agree, but it’s a great way to start the day. As you’d expect, there’s a ton of technology to broaden the car’s operating range . You can configure the engine, seven-speed automatic gearbox, chassis and exhaust via the Dynamic Select settings. It’s a bit laborious at first, but you can curate all your favourite settings in the Individual mode to speed things up.
Tempting though it is to crank everything to Sport+, it’s good to discover some shades of grey, so for now I’m mixing and matching to find my optimum blend of attitude, response and comfort. First impressions are dominated by the sheer performance on tap. This is a truly daft/epic car to have daily access to. One that underlines pleasure is not always dependent on unleashing everything you have at your disposal. Sometimes it’s as good knowing what you have in reserve, and the C63 S has plenty.
Handling-wise, at low speeds the rear axle is continually under something of an onslaught from the V8’s abundant torque. Pulling steadily out of T-junctions you feel the fat rear tyres and limited-slip diff nibble and chunter as they try to keep things on a tight leash. It hints at a car that might be a b it spiky on damp winter roads. For now, though, I’m just enjoying the combination of compact coupe and kick-ass engine. What a cracking car.