The C-Class coupe gets the AMG treatment while retaining sleek, classic looks. Y’s motoring expert Alvin Thomas gets behind the wheel.
German car engineers are extremely fascinating: they’re an extremely systematic and efficient bunch of people, with inordinate vision. No, really! They really are the best at what they do, and the statistics are right by their side.
Thanks to this over-the-top attention to detail, German car manufacturers are on top of their game, currently.
Don’t believe me? Volkswagen snagged the world’s largest automaker title from Toyota and General Motors last year.
Now, if that isn’t a feat, I don’t know what is.
But, I’m not here to talk about Volkswagen. I’m here to talk about another German flagship – Mercedes-Benz – which is now the world’s largest luxury carmaker.
Weirdly, however, the vehicle I tested this week – the Mercedes-Benz C 63S AMG Coupé – did not exhibit German traits at all. As a matter of fact, this has to be the most non-German car I have driven, to hail from the stables in Stuttgart.
No! I don’t intend it to be a pejorative statement. I just think the C 63S AMG is a very, very amusing car to drive and live with. And “amusing” isn’t a word you can casually tag along with most German cars; even those hooligan AMG-powered SUVs and sedans.
This then, is the brainchild of German engineers, who were permitted (after much argument, I presume) to go bonkers with their project.
This, my friends, is a real muscle car. Americans, take note; because, it’s time for a real shakedown.
Let’s start with the looks: The C 63S AMG coupe looks remarkable. With its C-Class-inspired headlamps, gaping front air intakes and overly-wide footprint, the coupe looks and feels muscular.
There’s not much going on at the sides; although, this is where things become a little more apparent. The narrow but long windows; pillar-less doors and the swooping roofline do a good job setting apart the coupe from its sedan siblings.
Oh, and the ornamental chrome strip on the side skirt and the blacked-out 18-spoke 46cms ably break the paleness in my white test car.
Meanwhile, the tail-lights are taken straight from the S-Class coupe but it is shorter and taller than the former. The AMG-treatment also adds chisels to the rear bumper to reveal two functional air vents, a small carbon-fibre lip spoiler, quad chrome-tipped exhaust tips, and a colossal rear diffuser.
All very good, but there’s no denying it would take a trainspotter to identify the difference between a regular C250 AMG Line and a C 63S AMG Coupé. Still, the uniqueness transcends any criticism you can put forward about the design of this car.
Much of this translates to the interior, too. It’s modern, with mostly premium materials and genuine leather upholstery, but the metallic and the carbon-fibre trim bits take the cake. Even the bottom panels in the cabin are finished in high-quality red-coloured plastics.
Stepping inside the cabin, you are treated to Mercedes’ traditional analog gauge cluster, with a small digital information display in the centre. I would have appreciated it if they had chucked in the S-Class’ digital instrument cluster; but hey, certain bits have to remain exclusive.
You still get a slick and easy to use 18cms wide multimedia screen. Of course, you can control it using Mercedes’ ridiculously glossy touchpad.
The seats are very comfortable but supportive at the same time. The bolstering – as with all AMG cars – is aggressive, especially on the shoulders and hips, to keep you in check while cornering hard. Still, you should be able to take long hours of driving without too much discomfort.
There’s plenty of leg and headroom upfront, and the rear can seat two average-sized adults in comfort. The seats are smaller than what you would find in the C 63S AMG sedan (duh!) but they’re nicer than what you would find in the latter. Knee and head-room is quite decent for a coupe, but getting in and out of the car will require some acrobatics.
The boot is very sizeable for a car of this class, although my tester came with a space-saver wheel, which took a substantial amount of space.
Underneath the hood lies an AMG-fired, hand-built 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. Yes, it renders the ‘63’ badge redundant, but, fret not, for the new motor – which replaces the highly regarded 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine from previous years – pumps out 510hp and 700Nms of torque (from just 1750rpm!)
The way the torque is served up to you is staggering. There’s very little in the line of turbo-lag, and the kick from the turbochargers is adequate to spin the super-sticky and wide 285/30 Continental tyres… at any speed!
As a matter of fact, wheel spin and counter steer (if you switch ‘off’ the electronic systems) will be quite a common occurrence while driving this car.
Oh, and you better be prepared to take swift action when you lose traction.
The gearbox – a seven-speed dual clutch automatic – can handle all the heavy-duty grunt. It is also intuitive, selecting the right gears at the right time. Of course, you can take control of the shifts via the steering-mounted paddle shifters. The shifts are lightning-quick, visceral and controlled, with very little jerks.
The marriage of this engine, gearbox and largely-bespoke chassis means the C 63 AMG Coupé now feels supercar-like in terms of acceleration. Granted, the accompanying exhaust grunt and burble, which can be amplified with the push of a button, is what sets this car apart from its rivals – the BMW M4 and the Audi RS4.
It rides fairly smooth for a sports coupe in ‘Comfort’ mode, but firms up to reveal a brutal ride in ‘Sport’, ‘Sport+’ and ‘Race’ modes.
Mind you, it still is comparable to, say, a Ferrari 488 GTB in comfort so it’s not all that unbearable; all thanks to the “AMG RIDE CONTROL” adaptive suspension.
The latter three modes also remap the throttle response, gearshifts and the steering wheel’s sensitivity. In my limited time behind the wheel of the car, I could push the car to its limits in ‘Race’ mode – a privilege not everyone gets.
I cannot lie: it comes alive in corners thanks to its stiff chassis (and that limited-slip differential), which aids in the car stepping out and into a bout of drift even before you stomp on the throttle pedal.
Of course, you can continue to poke it with a stick and pull its rear out farther by feathering the throttle or the strong (and linear) brakes.
Although, I must warn you: your name would have to start with ‘Lewis’ and end with ‘Hamilton’ – at the very least – if you were to tame this car.
Without the traction and stability systems switched ‘on’ you will almost certainly spin out and end up in a cloud of your own smoke (set into motion by your spinning tyres). But, the systems are intuitive, often kicking in (overly in Comfort mode) to save you from slipping out in a corner. This, in ‘Comfort’ mode can result in understeer but, let’s face it: you will not be driving this at a racetrack, so it’s not all that bad.
Never in a million years would I have thought that the C 63S AMG Coupé – with its new forcefully-induced engine and new chassis – would be a superior rival to the BMW M4, than its loud-mouthed predecessor.
But it is, and that’s what makes this car all the more special. You see, unlike the BMW M4, the C 63S AMG isn’t just about devouring corners on a racetrack with precision; it’s about having fun on a track, and then driving back home with a smile on
In many ways then, the Mercedes-Benz C 63S AMG Coupé is like your perfect dog: it will play with you, cheer you up when you’re low and give you company when you’re alone. But, if and when you’re attacked by an intruder, it will stand up for you and rip their face apart.