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    Mercedes-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?

    / #Mercedes-AMG-C63-S-Coupe / #Mercedes-AMG-C63-S-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-AMG-C63-S-Coupe / #Mercedes-Benz-AMG-C63-S-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-Coupe / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-205 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-AMG /

    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 ’

    CAR #Mercedes-AMG-C63-S-Coupe / #Mercedes-AMG / #AMG /

    Date acquired October #2016
    Duration of test 6 months
    Total test mileage 9955
    Overall mpg 22.9
    Costs £0
    Purchase price £82,875
    Value today £62,500-68,000
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    NEW ARRIVAL #Mercedes-AMG-C63-S-Coupe / #Mercedes-AMG-C63-S-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-AMG-C63-S-Coupe / #Mercedes-Benz-AMG-C63-S-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-Coupe / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-Coupe-C205 / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-205 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-AMG /


    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’
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    Test location: Shingay cum Wendy, Cambridgeshire. Photography: Aston Parrott #Mercedes-AMG-C43-Estate-S205 vs. #BMW-340i-Touring-F31 . Which of these performance compact estate rivals delivers the fullest package? / #BMW-340i-Touring / #BMW-340i-F31 / #BMW-F31 / #BMW / #BMW-340i / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-S205 / #Mercedes-AMG-S205 / #Mercedes-Benz-S205 / #Mercedes-Benz / #Mercedes / #Mercedes-AMG / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Class-205 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-F31 / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Klasse / #Mercedes-Benz-C-Klasse-205

    It’s going to take a while for us to get used to this new breed of AMG-lite. We’ve come to expect that cars from Affalterbach will be slightly unhinged, wild, tyre-smoking hooligans. The new C43, however, feels like it’s been created by a different branch of AMG, one run by engineers who value speed and grip over enjoyment, engineers who haven’t had one too many steins of Weissbier. Engineers who created the A45 AMG. But perhaps we shouldn’t get too hung up on that, because by forgoing an exotic V8 engine in favour of a 367hp twin-turbo 3-litre #V6 , the C43 brings an AMG C-class within reach of a wider audience…

    The 340i replaces the 335i in the 3-series F30 line-up, and uncharacteristically for a BMW, it isn’t adorned with a plethora of ‘M’ badges. It isn’t even part of BMW’s semi-hot ‘M Performance’ range. It’s just a normal car, albeit quite a powerful one.

    The 340i’s new 3-litre, twin-scroll single-turbo engine produces 325hp and 450nm of torque, which make it good for a 0-100km/h time of 5.1sec. not bad for a non-M model.

    Its supple, cosseting ride quality certainly doesn’t make it feel much like a performance car, and when trundling down the road with the driving mode set to Comfort, the 340i is a very pleasant place to be. on the move the chassis feels noticeably sharper when you select either of the Sport or Sport+ driving modes.

    Thanks to a more aggressive throttle map, the engine feels more urgent too. Some of the ride quality diminishes, but the 340i now reacts more eagerly to steering inputs thanks to less body roll. The engine also makes more noise, but while the exhaust emits a deep but subtle growl for those outside, the soundtrack inside the cabin is mostly breathy. Stretch the engine to its lofty – by today’s standards – 7000rpm rev limit and it begins to emit a more satisfying timbre, although it’s still far from spine-tingling.

    The eight-speed automatic gearbox slots each gear into place almost instantly, but despite the speedy changes the drivetrain never feels that urgent, even when cranked up to its highest setting; stand on the throttle and you have to wait momentarily for momentum to build before there’s a reaction. Once the power has found its way to the rear wheels, though, you can really feel them helping the back of the car around a corner. These transparent and innately rear-drive characteristics are so delightful to exploit that the BMW encourages you to push harder and drive faster.

    Sadly the chassis begins to show its humble, estate-car roots the quicker you go. The front-end doesn’t possess the sort of grip we’ve come to expect of a modern performance car, and unless you’re very careful and measured with your steering inputs the 340i readily stumbles into understeer. Proportionally, there’s more rear-end grip than front, but that means the influence the throttle has on the back axle rarely escalates into anything very exciting. Try really hard to induce a slide and the rear feels very heavy, leaning considerably over the outside wheel. Then once grip has been lost, the body roll and lack of a limited-slip diff mean the resulting slide is scruffy, making you feel ham-fisted.

    The BMW runs on a Bridgestone Potenza S001, a tyre we’ve been impressed with on other cars. However, whether it’s the weight of the 340i or the alterations BMW has made to the tyre (the star on the sidewalls denotes it has been specifically adapted for BMW), these Potenzas feel less like an ultra high performance tyre and more like a summer touring one.

    this new AMG C43 shares its spangly grille with lesser C-classes, so it looks pretty sober. only the four exhausts give the game away that this is no ordinary estate. Inside there’s hardly an abundance of AMG cues, either, but the car’s intentions are clear from the moment you drive off. The chassis is much firmer than that of the BMW, even in its more comfortable modes, and the steering, although light, is very quick.

    On paper the Mercedes has the BMW covered, with that 367hp supported by 520nm of torque, resulting in a 0-100km/h time of 4.7sec. this is reflected by an eagerness to the C43’s drivetrain that the 340i could only wish for – the rev-counter needle dashes around the dial as if on a vacuum – although the twin-turbo V6 doesn’t rev as high as the BMW’s straight-six. The nine-speed auto gearbox is quick, with sharp, crisp changes that better those of a lot of double-clutch systems. Sadly, to avoid confusing the drivetrain and causing a long pause before the power comes back in, you need to change up by around 6200rpm.

    The C43’s chassis doesn’t change dramatically between each of its drive modes. However, the dampers can be softened off separately should you want the slightly more pliant ride with the more immediate throttle map. Keep the engine, gearbox and suspension in their sportiest settings and there’s almost no slack in any of the controls. The C43 changes direction instantly, the chassis more than capable of keeping up with the quick steering.

    But as taut and responsive as the Mercedes is, it’s the sheer speed of the car that’s most remarkable. The 4Matic four-wheel-drive system contributes to an incredible amount of grip that means B-roads can be dispatched with disconcerting ease.

    You can throw anything at the C43 and it remains unruffled, but this incredible competence comes at the expense of any real interaction. The throttle doesn’t change the attitude of the car: a lift is as ineffectual as standing on the accelerator midcorner, the C43 staying glued to its original trajectory. Only a lot of speed and some tactical left-foot braking will eventually induce some reluctant movement from the rear axle. The AMG’s incredible capability goads you to drive faster and faster in an attempt to instigate some sort of reaction, but it’s near impossible to maintain the speeds needed for the C43 to come alive on the road.

    Having such performance available in small estate cars is, in itself, fantastic, and both the BMW and AMG are talented in their own ways. The #BMW doesn’t purport to be a performance car and it doesn’t quite have the power and pace to match the overtly sporty #AMG , but it certainly holds its own in this test, being involving and rewarding to drive if kept within its limits. By contrast the C43 can be aloof. With unrelenting grip and composure it never shows a playful side, making it difficult to fall for. Its sheer competence means it wins this test, but it wins few friends in the process.

    ‘An incredible amount of grip means the C43 can dispatch B-roads with disconcerting ease’

    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #Mercedes-AMG C43 #4Matic Estate / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-Estate / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-Estate-S205 / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-Estate / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-T-Modell / #Mercedes-AMG-T-Modell / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-T-Modell-S205 / #Mercedes-AMG-C43-4Matic-T-Modell-S205

    Engine V6, 2996cc, twin-turbo / CO2 181g/km
    Power 367hp @ 5500-6000rpm DIN
    Torque 520nm @ 2000-4200rpm DIN
    Transmission 9-speed auto
    0-100 km/h 4.7sec (claimed)
    Top speed 250km/h (limited)
    Weight 1660kg (225hp/ton)
    Basic price tba contact Cycle & Carriage 6298 1818

    + incredibly fast and composed
    - difficult to engage with
    Rating 4+


    TECHNICAL DATA SPECIFICATION #BMW-340i-Touring
    Engine in-line 6-cyl, 2998cc, turbocharged CO2 158g/km
    Power 325hp @ 5500-6500rpm DIN
    Torque 450nm @ 1380-5000rpm DIN
    Transmission 8-speed auto ( #ZF8HP / #ZF )
    0-100 km/h 5.1sec (claimed)
    Top speed 250km/h (limited)
    Weight 1615kg (205hp/ton)
    Basic price Special indent only
    Contact Performance Motors, 6319 0100

    + Feel some rear-drive chassis
    - Easy to drive it beyond its BMW 340i Touring #BMW-F30 comfort zone
    Rating 4++
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