DRIVEN: MERCEDES C63 AMG COUPE
Mercedes adds a new gearbox and a new bodystyle to a familiar recipe - and it still tastes very good
But then that's no major surprise, because the saloon and estate version of the C63 AMG are pretty brilliant already.
In this case, to the already proven mix of plain ol' rear-wheel drive and monumental power from that 6208cc V8 you can add the new, rakish (if somewhat conservative) body of the C-class coupe, as well as all the various improvements recently bestowed upon the humble C-class saloon and coupe (including a much fresher dashboard). Perhaps most crucially of all, Mercedes' new (ish) MCT-7 automatic transmission is also installed, bringing with it a wet start-up clutch in lieu of a torque converter, faster shift times and a rotary knob which provides no fewer than four gearbox settings.
No such accusation could be levelled at the C63 coupe. As we've pretty much come to expect from AMG's 6.2-litre V8, the 451bhp mill (478bhp with the optional performance pack) serves up a relentless wall of forward thrust accompanied by a gargling wail to warm the cockles of any muscle car fan's heart. AMG's engineers can't actually fit the firm's new 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 into the engine bay of the C-class, so C63 AMG coupe buyers have to 'put up' with the 'old' naturally aspirated engine. But believe us when we say that it really doesn't feel like a compromise.
In manual mode, instead of reluctantly reaching for a ratio seemingly seconds after you've requested it from the wheel-mounted paddles, the transmission obliges with the apparent pace of a twin-clutch gearbox - and high-rev upchanges are accompanied by a sharp crack from the quad exhausts that leaves you in no doubt that this car really is trying its darnedest to change gear for you as rapidly as possible.
It's a fairly accomplished drivetrain, then. The good news is that this is complemented by an equally appealing chassis. The saloon and estate variants can hardly be described as having poorly resolved chassis, but the sheer size of them (despite being loosely pigeon-holed as 'compact' executives, there's still a lot of mass to be controlled in a C63 saloon or wagon) means that they' are more hot rod than pin-point sports car.
Get the big coupe onto a circuit, however and you'll quickly come to realise that the C63 AMG isn't the sort of car to hoon around a track with every weekend. Rock up to the odd track day in it and you'll have a hoot, barrelling down the straights and enjoying the pleasantly loose rear end. But you'll cook the brakes and tyres pretty quickly, and you may find the constant battle for rear-end traction a mite frustrating, although provided you specify the optional limited-slip differential you can indulge yourself (and your local tyre supplier) with all manner of smoky silliness.
|C 63 AMG Coupé|
|Bore x stroke||102.2 x 94.6 mm|
|Compression ratio||11.3 : 1|
|Output||457 hp at 6800 rpm
487 hp at 6800 rpm*
|Max. torque||600 Nm at 5000 rpm|
|Engine weight (dry)||195 kg
|Fuel consumption NEDC combined||23.5 mpg|
|CO2 emissions||280 g/km|
Acceleration 0 – 62 mph
|Top speed||155 mph**|
* with AMG performance package; ** electronically limited