Monday 18th April 2011
PH FLEET UPDATE: C63 AMG ESTATE
Practical performance. Our (very) fast estate car starts to earn its keep
Since our C63 AMG estate
joined the PH fleet a couple of months back, I've only been using roughly half its potential. By which I mean the load area has yet to be soiled by a pair of grubby dogs, and - apart from the luggage for Riggers' Geneva trip
- hasn't seen much more action than supermarket shopping bags and the project bicycle.
There was a pukka M-B doggie guard installed when the car arrived, but the newness still hasn't really worn off and I haven't been able to bring myself to let our otherwise pampered pooches enjoy the rush of adrenaline you get from unleashing (geddit?) 487hp of AMG goodness through the C63's rear tyres. Anyway, enough humans seem to want to dribble over the car as it is, although pleasingly that's usually just in a metaphorical sense.
But now the sailing season has started, which means the C63's more practical nature is coming to the fore. So the welded-mesh dog barrier has come out, and the seats have been folded to make way for the amazing amount of paraphernalia required to go to sea in a small boat.
To be honest, I don't know whether the regular C class estate is a leader in the practicality stakes - I suspect not, given its rakish rear window and tumblehome. But you can get a damn sight more inside it than a Porsche 911, and there's something oddly rewarding about thrumming up and down the motorway in the er, fast lane, laden to the gunwales with kit and caboodle. (Hopefully this might also explain the old Renault Master van I just 'won' on eBay...)
In fully-laden configuration the C63 is occasionally less rewarding off the motorway, as the sound of an outboard motor sliding around in the boot tends to distract from the pleasure of taking the outside line around slower traffic in roundabouts. Then again it does encourage straight-lining corners when conditions allow. There is an impressive array of straps and shackles under the boot floor (the optional £175 load securing kit) which would probably help in all sorts of meaningful ways, but I haven't worked out where any of it goes yet. And anyway, once the boot is loaded you can't get at it...
Still, it's nice to be able to use the estate as AMG intended. PH colleague Garlick is often heard to muse that 'everyone likes a girl who's sporty and accommodating', and thanks to the C63 it's easy to see what he's getting at. Under different circumstances 'she' could even be a keeper!