I loved the old M156 6.2-litre V8, even with its allegedly dodgy camshafts and valve lifters, and was delighted when it had a last hoorah in the SL63 and C63 AMGs. Those naturally aspirated days are gone now and what we have here is a 4-litre biturbo V8, which, despite all the emissions reductions and fuel efficiency, sounds a bit better than the engine it replaces. There’s also no denying the insane 650 or 700 (depending on which version you take) N.m of torque spinning the rear wheels.
And that’s kind of the problem. If you spend $80.000 on a model of car you’d expect only one version of that model, surely? Not according to Mercedes-Benz, which lets you choose between a performance oriented AMG C63 and a more powerful AMG C63 S. That choice detracts from how brilliant the car is and just how much Merc has upped the ante over its competitors.
Engines are produced to the standard AMG “one man, one engine” philosophy and the twin turbo set up spools up pretty quickly. As you’d expect when there’s so much force going through the rear wheels, the car can err on the side of tail-happy, but some electronic wizardry in the standard model – which Merc irritatingly call a diff – keeps everything in check quite nicely (even saving me from disaster at the Zwartkops lunch). You get a proper mechanical differential on the “S” to better help corral the extra 25 kW and 50 more torque.
The car accelerates with a forceful assurance, sounds like a bass heavy brass band and is very well balanced in the corners. We had some time on the skidpan, where the turbos were even interfering with the instructor’s attempts at controlled sideways chaos.
Other than it being a bit ungovernable in a drift, Mercedes seems to have done enough to carry on the proud C63 heritage. Whether the new car will surpass the 40 000 global sales of its predecessor time will tell, but the bunch of a coupe version wouldn’t harm the chances.
Mercedes AMG C63
MAX POWER: 350 kW at 5 500 r/min
MAX TORQUE: 650 N.m at 1 750 r/min
Mercedes-AMG C63 S
MAX POWER: 375 KW at 5 500 r/min
MAX TORQUE: 700 N.m at 1 750 r/min