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- Post is under moderationMercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe This German muscle car was always going to have to deliver something special to justify its eye-watering price-tag. So did it?
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It’s fitting that my last drive in the C63 S was one of the best: a one-day round-trip to Anglesey Circuit to drive the new 911 GT3. It was a long day in the saddle; one that started with a 4.30am alarm and finished with me arriving back home just before 9pm. In between was the best part of 500 miles of motorways, majestic A-roads and nadgety B-roads, all dispatched in effortless, engaging style.
As I’ve discovered over the last six months and nearly 10,000 miles, that’s the nub of the C63 experience. I’d never run a Mercedes before, let alone an AMG model. I suppose deep down I never considered myself a Merc person. This car has made me revise that belief. It did everything so well, and with such big-hearted enthusiasm that even if the journey was a stinker I always found plenty to savour about the car.
Star of the show is the 4-litre biturbo V8. In ‘S’ spec it’s an absolute powerhouse, feeling good for every last one of its 503bhp and 516lb ft. It’s smooth and refined, with a ton of endlessly elastic low and mid-range thrust, so in most situations you just dip into its vast reserves of performance. Yet when you do extend it, there’s proper fire at the top end. It’s a thoroughbred powerplant, no question. And fuel economy? I’m pleasantly surprised to report that over the six-month loan period the average was 22.9mpg. Yes, I saw sub-15mpg on a particularly enthusiastic commute to the evo offices, but the car countered that with a hugely impressive 29mpg on an epic 700-mile Cambridgeshire-Ayrshire- Cambridgeshire day-trip. Merc’s muscle cars aren’t the dipsomaniacs they used to be.
Being an AMG, there were plenty of modes to choose for the engine, gearbox, chassis and exhaust, from Comfort through Sport, Sport+ and Race. Comfort and Sport were my preferred and most-selected modes. They just seemed to offer the best blend of response, fuss-free pace and comfort for most trips. However, when I did elect to blitz a few A- and B-roads, Sport+ was hugely effective and great fun. The seven-ratio Speedshift automatic transmission could really up its game and was uncannily prescient with downshifts. Unless I was in a particularly committed frame of mind, Race mode was a bit full-on, but even that had its moments.
KN66 ZPB was very generously equipped, with options including carbon-ceramic brakes (£4285), lightweight forged alloys (£1735) and the AMG Driver’s Package (£765), which elevates the speed-limiter to 180mph. All in, the price shot up from £68,710 to £82,875: a lot of money for a BMW M4 rival. That said, the car’s fit, finish and looks backed up the big ticket. Sleek and compact, with a purposeful stance and a muscled physique, the C63 S had plenty of presence without showing off.
The leather, Alcantara and carbon interior was a delight, with the glass roof and Burmester hi-fi (part of the £2595 Premium Package) adding to the feel-good factor.
We often criticise cars for a lack of connection, and I was worried the C63 S might be a bit numb. Those concerns weren’t entirely unfounded, as it quickly became clear the Merc’s feedback was muted and finely filtered. The steering feel was hardly sparkling, but you could build a picture of what the front end was doing, and its rate of response was well judged. Just as importantly, the rear end’s communication skills were good enough that you always knew when traction was at a premium. I knew where I was with the car, in dry or wet conditions. It helped that the stability-control system was on the ball, and could be relaxed enough to let you have fun yet still remain effective when run in Sport mode. The ceramic brakes had great feel and made light work of stopping the 1725kg coupe, even when we had a quick hoon down the runway at the Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground.
The Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres worked well through the winter and generated plenty of grip. And there was still a useful amount of meat left on them when the car went back. Must try harder next time.
Traction? Well, that was at the mercy of my right foot and/or the electronics, but I was surprised how much performance the software enabled you to deploy in the wet. In the dry, the car easily nailed 0-100mph in nine seconds, and I was amused to find it would hit 60mph in seven seconds while performing an epic rolling burnout.
Dislikes? Well, I quickly switched off most of the semi-autonomous driver-assist widgets (lane-assist and the like). The coasting mode, which disengages drive when you’re cruising off the throttle to save fuel, was annoying too, so I frequently switched that off as well.
I tend to miss long-term test cars when they go, but this one really got under my skin. It was special in ways that transcend objectivity, and I can honestly say I enjoyed every one of those 9955 miles. You can’t ask for more than that.
‘Star of the show is the 4-litre biturbo #V8 – in this spec it’s an absolute powerhouse ’
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Date acquired October #2016
Duration of test 6 months
Total test mileage 9955
Overall mpg 22.9
Purchase price £82,875
Value today £62,500-68,000Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
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AMG’s latest supercoupe arrives on the fleet. Will it be good enough to justify its big price?
In more than 20 years in this job I’ve never run a Mercedes long-termer. This could account for why I’ve never considered myself a ‘Merc Man’. That said, the arrival of this #AMG C63 S Coupe might force me to reappraise that opinion, for on the evidence of our first few weeks together I feel very much aligned with Affalterbach’s freshest export.
First, the numbers. Were you to spec an identical car to this you’d need £82,875. That’s to say £68,710 for the base C63 S, then just over £14,000 for the options, which include keyless go, a panoramic sunroof and a 13-speaker Burmester sound system (all part of the £2595 Premium Package), carbon-ceramic brakes (£4285), 19-inch front and 20-inch rear wheels (up from 19s all-round and costing £1735), and the AMG Driver’s Package (£765), more on which in a moment.
Given this car is a rival for the £57,065 BMW M4, that’s a chunky amount of money, but personally I’ve long felt AMG’s take on the midsize two-door rocketship is a league above the M-car. Mostly because of what sits beneath the bonnet.
Stuffing a twin-turbo 4-litre #V8 into the C-class yields spectacular results. This Benz has 503bhp and 516lb ft at its disposal. With the AMG Driver’s Pack its top-speed limit has been raised from 155mph to 180mph, and if you can get its rear tyres to hook-up with the tarmac, it’ll nail 0-62mph in less than four seconds. That seems ample to me.
The C63 S revels in its hot-rod role. Push the starter button and the whole car pulses with the throb of the V8, exhausts gurgling and burbling exuberantly – especially if you press the exhaust button and open the silencers a bit. There’s even a hint of turbine whistle from the turbos on a cold start. Your neighbours might not agree, but it’s a great way to start the day.
As you’d expect, there’s a ton of technology to broaden the car’s operating range. You can configure the engine, seven-speed automatic gearbox, chassis and exhaust via the Dynamic Select settings. It’s a bit laborious at first, but you can curate all your favourite settings in the Individual mode to speed things up. Tempting though it is to crank everything to Sport+, it’s good to discover some shades of grey, so for now I’m mixing and matching to find my optimum blend of attitude, response and comfort.
First impressions are dominated by the sheer performance on tap. This is a truly daft/epic car to have daily access to. One that underlines pleasure is not always dependent on unleashing everything you have at your disposal. Sometimes it’s as good knowing what you have in reserve, and the C63 S has plenty.
Handling-wise, at low speeds the rear axle is continually under something of an onslaught from the V8’s abundant torque. Pulling steadily out of T-junctions you feel the fat rear tyres and limited-slip diff nibble and chunter as they try to keep things on a tight leash. It’s not something you feel once your speed builds, but it hints at a car that might be a bit spiky on damp winter roads. For now, though, I’m just enjoying the combination of compact coupe and kick-ass engine. What a cracking car.
Date acquired November #2016
Total mileage 1568
Mileage this month 1403
Costs this month £0
Mpg this month 23.4
‘First impressions are dominated by the sheer performance on tap. This is a truly epic car to have daily access to’Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.