RE: Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe: UK drive

RE: Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe: UK drive

Saturday 9th March

Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe: UK drive

It impressed us on smooth German tarmac, but how does AMG's beguiling super-coupe fare on British soil?



The good thing about a UK drive is we can get straight to the nitty-gritty - and when it comes to driving the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe on tricky British tarmac, there's plenty to investigate. Our first go in Affalterbach's 510hp bruiser took place during last year's summer heatwave on the winding asphalt of the Bilster Berg, but this time we're on Surrey roads in early March. For a 1.8-tonne car that provides its 510hp exclusively through rear wheels, that's potentially onerous. Here goes...

It's almost impossible to not start rooting for the C63 S as soon as you call those eight cylinders into action. You could leave the sports exhaust in its most restricted setting, when the 4.0-litre V8 emits only a foreboding, low frequency burble. But press the exhaust button - practically mandatory for PHers - placed to the left of your thigh and even a kiss of the throttle produces a growl so menacing it'll scare off cats as far as the neighbouring 'shire. Yes, this is a proper C63 alright. As far as start-ups go, it has so much more presence than anything on offer from Bavaria.

It properly looks the part, too. For a tester venturing towards the country from a London starting point, you'll see pedestrians wondering what it is that's making their kidneys vibrate, until they catch sight of the black coupe with black forged wheels sporting polished lips beneath brooding arches. If there's one thing bad about being inside a C63 of this spec, it's that you can't appreciate its muscular form as it burbles by. The cabin does, at least, provide an appropriate combination of comfort and low-set seating position to remind you of the car's focus. If the soundtrack weren't enough of a giveaway.


Not talking constantly talking about that V8 is difficult because, much like all the best AMGs to have come before it, the C63's powerplant dominates everything. Only now, in this facelift, there's the addition of a nine-speed wet clutch MCT, a replacement for the older and heavier seven-speed torque converter of the launch C63, to compliment it further. The unit's so effective in normal driving that you're barely aware of its toil as it slips smoothly up and down the cogs to keep the V8 in the most productive part of its torque band. Pleasingly, in Comfort mode the 'box is happy to stick with a higher gear and let the motor muscle you forward even when you squeeze the loud pedal. A downshift only happens when you really demand it, making the car feel all the more effortless.

Rotate the digital-screened dial on the right of the AMG steering wheel to I (for Individual) and then you're greeted with a range of customisation for the powertrain and driveline settings on the infotainment screen. OCD sufferers beware: you can waste hours attempting to find the best combination of engine, limited-slip diff and suspension settings (there are six drive programmes and four AMG dynamic settings within them). But, a good all-rounder for a proper drive looks something like this: Race for the engine, manual for the gearbox (obvs) and Master for the diff, but, leave the suspension in the middle ground Sport if you're on something that resembles a partly damp British B-road on a chilly March morning. This combination gives the car satisfying responses to your right foot and fingertips, but a forgiving-enough ride to allow the body to coast rather than crash over ridges.

With these modes selected, the C63 S becomes the surplus-of-power-and-torque-wielding rear-wheel driver you'd hope for. There's no need to drive the socks off it to embrace its chassis' balance; the newcomer is true to established AMG form by allowing you to drive it more smoothly and taking joy from chasing the throttle. No need to hustle the nose in, even if the steering rack is quick and the body roll minimal, because you can enjoy the adjustability provided by that ever-lively V8 up front. With the ESP switched off, AMG's nine-stage traction control system - pinched from the AMG GT R - comes into action and provides you with a wonderfully incremental range of adjustments. The 'diff, even in its most aggressive mode, never gets snappy and delivers the V8's muscle to the tarmac consistently, but you don't appreciate its effectiveness until you recover more control from the car's TC system.


We kicked off with the TC set in its safest zone and then gradually eased its assistance off as time went by - which emphasizes just how great the tech is during the learning stage of a car (in contrast to the night and day nature of so many alternatives) - before settling with it on seven, just three away from fully off. Not that the C63 S is too savage to be handled without intervention, but on a cold surface, it's reassuring to know the electronics are there in the background should the slip angle become too great. On our route in this setting, you're unaware of the TC's involvement - perhaps it didn't need to intervene - so the task of steering the AMG on its throttle is so very gratifying. It feels inherently natural.

If there's one complaint, it's that the brake pedal doesn't offer much in the way of feel, although the ceramic discs are certainly up to the job. Body control is not quite on par with the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, either, so the process of threading this thick-winged German along a road isn't as entirely incisive, but at eight tenths the AMG feels sublime. You don't sprint down a path like a scolded rat but rather dance along a route using your right foot as pace setter both through and out of corners. The gearbox too, although far quicker than the old one, doesn't offer true sportscar-like thuds up and down the ratios, with a very slight delay between the pulling of the steering wheel-mounted paddle and the wet-clutch re-engaging with the next cog. Yet somehow, it feels well-matched to the C63's character. The red flashing shift lights on the dash make everything feel that bit more visceral, too.

So we like the Coupe, if that weren't already obvious. True, the lighter Alfa is a touch more agile and the next M3 - assuming it sports the same all-wheel drive hardware as the M5, will almost certainly be quicker across country - but the Mercedes-AMG car provides practically everything a driving enthusiast could ask for, and does it in a way which hardly limits its functionality as a two-door C-Class. More visits to the fuel pump will be needed, of course, but that's scant sacrifice for the drama that rolls back from the engine bay. In 2019 we're yet to meet a more enticing luxury two-door super-coupe.


SPECIFICATIONS - MERCEDES-AMG C63 S COUPE
Engine:
3,982cc twin-turbo V8
Transmission: 9-speed auto with lock-up clutch (MCT), rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 510@5,500-6,250rpm
Torque (lb ft): 516@2,000-4,500rpm
0-62mph: 3.9sec
Top speed: 180mph (electronically limited)
Weight: 1,820kg (EU, with driver)
MPG: 25mpg
CO2: 230g/km
Price: £78,023













 

Author
Discussion

mrclav

Original Poster:

748 posts

162 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
That looks gangster - I don't mean it'll be driven by gangsters (although I'm sure it will), I mean the car itself literally looks gangster. Oof.

Brooking10

4,273 posts

80 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
I really like these, evolving very nicely throughout its lifecycle and the engine is a tour de force. New MBUX dash and info architecture is good too.

No doubt the “Stuck on iPad” and “ I remember Merc interiors when...” merchants will be along soon smile

David87

5,135 posts

151 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
I really don’t like those wheels. Otherwise, thumbup

giggity

597 posts

100 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
I love the W204 but this facelift is looking perfect. Great car.

ocrx8

718 posts

135 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
David87 said:
I really don’t like those wheels. Otherwise, thumbup
Yes, I take offence at the wheels as well. Lots of R172 SLK55 have them specced and they don’t look any better in the metal.

One of these (C63 Coupes) rumbled past the other day and I didn’t expect it to sound *that* good. Properly thunderous.
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DamnKraut

297 posts

38 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
Waaaah... typo in the heading: fair -> fare nerd

As to the car, standard AMG chavvery on offer these days. You'd have to be a certain type of person to feel comfortable beeing seen in one. As a Merc guy, I would prefer an M4 or even an RS5 over this.

st4

1,359 posts

72 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
I don't mind the dash - or design. I do think some lighter colour seats and different paintwork would liven the car up a bit and £80k...Jeezo. I'd get an RCF or LC500 in it's place.

Edited by st4 on Saturday 9th March 09:44

cerb4.5lee

10,930 posts

119 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
I really like these, it looks really stealthy in Black too. Love this engine and I loved the noise the old 6.2 V8 made as well.

Brooking10

4,273 posts

80 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
DamnKraut said:
Waaaah... typo in the heading: fair -> fare nerd

As to the car, standard AMG chavvery on offer these days. You'd have to be a certain type of person to feel comfortable beeing seen in one. As a Merc guy, I would prefer an M4 or even an RS5 over this.
Top trolling smile

Classic PH owner discussion rather than car and its mechanical merits.

One assumes you haven’t driven ?

Good work all round )


cerb4.5lee

10,930 posts

119 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
Brooking10 said:
No doubt the “Stuck on iPad” and “ I remember Merc interiors when...” merchants will be along soon smile
The stuck on screen does look pony though in fairness and it annoys me a fair bit in the GLC.

st4

1,359 posts

72 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
DamnKraut said:
Waaaah... typo in the heading: fair -> fare nerd

As to the car, standard AMG chavvery on offer these days. You'd have to be a certain type of person to feel comfortable beeing seen in one. As a Merc guy, I would prefer an M4 or even an RS5 over this.
These are just as chavy and appeal to same PCP lease pilots.

rare6499

237 posts

78 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
What a superb looking car inside and out. This is in another level to an M4 IMO.

Brooking10

4,273 posts

80 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
st4 said:
These are just as chavy and appeal to same PCP lease pilots.
Change the record kiddo smile

st4

1,359 posts

72 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
Brooking10 said:
Change the record kiddo smile
Just stating facts gramps smile

Someone in the market for one of these would consider an RS5 or M4. In almost all cases these will be bought on tick.

My preference would be the RCF. A little less power and torque, but all the fun of natural aspiration and brilliant dealers, build and reliability.

Edited by st4 on Saturday 9th March 10:03

cerb4.5lee

10,930 posts

119 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
rare6499 said:
What a superb looking car inside and out. This is in another level to an M4 IMO.
yes

The M4's interior is like being stuck in a time warp and I'm a big M4 fan, but Bmw interiors never fail to disappoint for me.

Brooking10

4,273 posts

80 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
st4 said:
Brooking10 said:
Change the record kiddo smile
Just stating facts gramps smile

Someone in the market for one of these would consider an RS5 or M4.

My preference would be the RCF. A little less power and torque, but all the fun of natural aspiration and brilliant dealers, build and reliability.
Still struggling with the difference between facts and opinion I see smile

RCF is a belting engine but much less involving a drive than the C63 and M4 IMO, plus whilst well built the interior is dull and the tech distinctly last generation.

RS5 not my cup of tea but I can see the attraction.

st4

1,359 posts

72 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
Brooking10 said:
Still struggling with the difference between facts and opinion I see smile

RCF is a belting engine but much less involving a drive than the C63 and M4 IMO, plus whilst well built the interior is dull and the tech distinctly last generation.

RS5 not my cup of tea but I can see the attraction.
I am not so sure it will be a much less involving drive - it will weigh about the same - and with the fun of a naturally aspirated engine will be a car you would have to work with more to get the most out of it - that's what makes it fun and involving. I like the interior and the digital dials in the RCF etc aren't too off the pace but this is undeniably newer tech. It's also a little bit cheaper which never hurts. £80k is getting on a bit, despite the engine etc. A C63 is not a sports car, it won't involve like an Elise - and neither will an RCF. I wouldn't want an RS5 either or an M4 although Id' expect both of them to outpace an RCF on a twisty route - and that would be ok by me.

Edited by st4 on Saturday 9th March 10:13

playalistic

1,968 posts

103 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
Bloody love these. So much so I bought one. Epic epic car. Totally dominated by the drivetrain and always elicits a positive response.

GranCab

1,397 posts

85 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
Of course absolutely nobody "buys" a Lexus on a PCP etc ... it's all old money here dear boy .... wink

Tim bo

1,323 posts

79 months

Saturday 9th March
quotequote all
playalistic said:
Bloody love these. So much so I bought one. Epic epic car. Totally dominated by the drivetrain and always elicits a positive response.
Same here, bought one too.

I like the looks of the facelift over mine, the digital dash looks like a great improvement too, but I'm not sure about the move to a 9-speed over a 7. With so much torque from the V8, and if like me you are always in manual, I really don't want more than 7 gears as so much can be accomplished in-gear.

Edited by Tim bo on Saturday 9th March 10:45