God bless the V8! PH Blog

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


Comments (97) Join the discussion on the forum

  • LAK 07 Oct 2013

    Timely thread. Just picked up a used C63 Wagon to replace my company car Mini Clubman Cooper S (company has reduced new cars to under 130 CO2 which means a clear opt out of the scheme for a petrol head!). Not using it every day until Mini goes back in less than a month but am using it today and I love it. Drive and have raced a variety of fast / powerful cars and can honestly say this ticks all the boxes. Lovely to look at, nice size, very comfortable, can pootle around or drive with a little more urgency. Mine has 19" wheels (classic black and black look) and I don't find it too firm at all - takes speed bumps well and doesn't bang and crash like my Mini on bigger wheels. Can see this car being a keeper and a nice compliment to husband's X5 4.6is and '65 TVR Griffith race car (amongst others we own...)

  • TomM 07 Oct 2013

    I had the pleasure of spending an hour in a brand new C63 Saloon on Saturday and MB World, with Tom Ingram as my instructor (2013 Ginetta champion and 2014 BTCC driver) The first 30 minutes is spent learning about the car and its capabilities, this includes straight line acceleration and braking, in the dry and wet. It also includes time on the skid pan drifting with varying levels of TC (C, S and S+)and showing how each one steps in and at which point, this was hugely impressive. Braking from 40 mph in the wet with no hands on the wheel the car stayed absolutely straight and true, thanks to brakes being applied as required to keep it in line by the on board computer.

    The next 30 mins is spent hooning it around the rather small but twisty track, getting progressively faster with tips and pointers form the instructor and the last 2 laps where absolutely superb, my run was last on the day so track was empty and Tom was encouraging me all the way.

    I went to do this as I will soon be in the market for one, and wanted to make sure I liked it before buying. I now want one so bad its ridiculous. The car is quiet and refined in C mode, and I can see it genuinely being a great everyday car - which is handy as that's how I am selling it to the wife. I had a B7 S4 4.2 V8 Saloon which was quick, but ultimately boring as so sure footed - the C63 felt very similar at low speed in C mode, but once tickled and in S or S+ its a very, very different car and an absolute monster.

    As for the reported niggles with DAB and iphone - I honestly could not care less about anything like that, I just dont need them and that really isn't why I am buying one.

    I wanted one before based on reviews, looks, noise - now having driven one I honestly cant wait. Just got to get a small inconvenience of a wedding out of the way first, although I have already been looking at reducing the number of guests to allow me to get the C63 quicker.

  • PascalBuyens 07 Oct 2013

    swerni said:
    Fixed that for you wink
    That puny 505hp engine? Pfuh :-p

  • mackie1 07 Oct 2013

    Steven2mum said:
    Took delivery of C63 Saloon 1st September and this connects to internet with iPhone.
    I was told they were working on a fix but I wonder if it's software only or if the hardware is revised. Worth asking the dealer I guess.

  • Ruaraidh_Gamma 07 Oct 2013

    Dr Mike Oxgreen said:
    Ruaraidh_Gamma said:
    If you don't let the engine bed, it will really drink oil!!
    Yep, and treating any engine too gently during the break-in period is a sure-fire way to ensure it drinks excessive oil for the rest of its life.
    I know how to run an engine in chap! The point I was replying to said that to thrash the engine from new was the best way to run it in. Which it's not.

    Where did I say baby the engine? In fact I didn't give any instructions on how to bed it, just that it needed it. If you had a new C63, you'd know the recommended method is inside the screen....

    The best way to bed an engine is varying speeds and loads gradually increasing those as distance moves on. Same way as you break an engine in on a dyno.

    The main point of the C63 is that they ALL use oil for the first 10k or so (use google) and that the bedding procedure is mainly there for the transmission and the diff.

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