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Friday 4th October 2013


GOD BLESS THE V8! PH BLOG

Dan does an about face; prefers his AMGs with a sod-off V8 after all


Look, I know this time last week I was waxing lyrical about new-school AMG and the A45’s clever reboot of brand values for the modern age. And I stand by that – it’s a deeply impressive car.  

But, push to shove, it’s still a skinny hazelnut latte to the ristretto hit delivered by a proper Affalterbach V8. Actually, wrong drink. The latter is more like a thick, glutinous hot chocolate. With cream. And marshmallows. In one of those cups so big it needs two handles.

Turbo four-pots impressive, V8s still better
Turbo four-pots impressive, V8s still better
I say this based on the fact earlier in the week a nice man from Mercedes swapped our A45 for a C63 507Coupe. More on which in due course. But it’s been a while since I drove a proper V8 and after the pummelling, high intensity workout the A45 delivered it was like sliding slowly into a warm and luxuriant bath.

There are many reasons to love a proper full fat AMG with a sodding great V8 under the bonnet. Mine over the last few days might sound strange but the overriding satisfaction it’s given me is how nice it is to drive slowly in the daily trundle round the M25.

This is no mean feat. Making a fast car isn’t that difficult, accepting that you need a degree of expertise and the raw materials to make it happen. But there’s a theme developing in modern fast cars and a growing disconnect between their incredible abilities and the opportunities in which most, if any, of us actually get to enjoy that. A 458 Speciale would be, indeed, a special thing to get on a track. But even if you had the brass ones to risk it in such a situation you’d be black flagged on noise before you even crossed the threshold. Leaving … what? First gear blats to and fro on the Kings Road?

Meanwhile the C63 driver will be wuffling past, beaming contentedly to himself at 20mph just … happy.

Accept no substitute, and all that
Accept no substitute, and all that
How so? I think it’s because the C63 doesn’t try and overcomplicate things. There aren’t 50 modes and a personalisation setting for every control. Big V8. Automatic gearbox with comfort, sport and manual modes. Beautifully weighted steering. Passive dampers set up properly by people who know what they’re doing. That ever-present rumble that tickles your innards in a lovely, relaxing fashion. And the knowledge that massive, elastic acceleration doesn’t require anything more than a stretch of your right foot, with no need to fumble for your preferred ‘individual’ throttle map first.

The C63 is very simple: the harder you push the pedal, the faster you go. Once per journey you might find an opportunity for that to be at the ‘very’ end of the spectrum. And have a little chuckle before reverting back to a relaxed cruise with a big grin on your face.   

Obviously it’s incorrigibly thirsty and there’s absolutely no rational argument for carrying round a 6.2-litre engine with over 500hp and raving about using barely a fifth of that most of the time.

But since when did logic come into it? Make mine a wagon please, he said, heading off into the classifieds

Dan

Author: Dan Trent