2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe Review: Track test

$162,400 $173,300 Mrlp

The new AMG Coupe is the real deal. Tougher stance than its predecessor and very well sorted dynamically. Edition 1 version is the pick.

I’m a little bit too busy to glance at the speedo, but I reckon this brand new Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe must be pushing well north of 200km/h as it hurtles down the main straightaway at Sydney Motorsport Park, moments before I need to roll off the throttle into Turn One.

It’s almost too easy: point, steer and squeeze on the power all the way to the firewall and the C63 S Coupe is not only flying, but it feels totally composed, and the front end is holding its line to the millimetre.

This is the latest road-going V8 hot rod from the speedmeisters at Mercedes-AMG’s skunkworks at Affalterbach, and it’s the quickest production series C-Class ever built. Packing a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with 375kW and 700Nm of torque, the all-new AMG coupe is capable of blasting from zero to 100km/h in just 3.9 seconds – 0.1 seconds quicker than the sedan – and on to a top speed of 250km/h (electronically limited).

It’s got style, too, bucket loads of the stuff, as every Benz coupe should. This is the car for those enthusiasts who think the latest Mercedes-AMG C63 sedan is, well, too sedate to wear an AMG badge, even if it does go like the clappers. Along with its good looks, the new coupe has also got big presence. The designers were clearly intent on giving the C63 Coupe a body to match its junior-supercar performance.

The coupe is 95mm longer and 40mm wider than its sedan sibling, but mostly it’s the wider rear arches that separate the two versions most, at least visually. But our tester is more special still. It’s called the Edition 1, and comes in the exclusive colour of Magno Selenite Gray together with a contrasting yellow stripe package. The combination matches the livery of the hard-core Mercedes-AMG race cars such as the current Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the C63 DTM versions.

Mind, the extra appeal does come at a price; a $10,900 premium over the standard AMG C63 S Coupe, which is priced from $162,400 plus on-roads, itself a $7890 premium over the C63 S sedan. But before you take a deep breath, it’s worth listing the extra kit you get over and above the sticker pack. For starters, the coupe rides on 19-inch front and 20-inch rear forged alloy wheels with a yellow accent, a combination not offered with the sedan or wagon models.

And then there’s the lighter carbon-ceramic brakes (worth every bit of the $10K asking price), an aerodynamics package that boasts unique front and rear spoilers, new side skirts and a new, more aggressive rear diffuser. There’s also various gloss black elements around the body, all of which set this version well apart from the regular AMG coupe.

Inside, the special treats continue. The uprated sports seats are upholstered in Nappa leather and are super soft, quilted, and twin-stitched with yellow thread to match the yellow decals outside. They’re also superbly comfortable despite being aggressively bolstered. More yellow needlework is found throughout the car on the door panels, armrests and the steering wheel rim.

Further Edition 1 goodies include an IWC analogue clock (an IWC wristwatch can set you back more than $10,000), floor mats, and the steering wheel is trimmed in Dinamica microfibre, which looks and feels great. Make no mistake, the C63 S Coupe is still quintessentially a luxury car, regardless of its high-performance credentials.

Hit the starter button and there’s the usual sound of crackle and thunder that comes when you fire up a hand-built AMG V8. It leaves you in no doubt as to its 375kW/700Nm claims – it’s an entirely visceral aural experience, even before you’ve moved a millimetre.

Sydney Motorsport Park is a fast flowing track, and we’ve got the whole Gardner GP Circuit to play with, but it’s been a while for me, so the first couple of laps I use as sighting laps and to re-familiarise myself with the colossal grunt this car's engine puts out. There are several corners that require patience, but if you get on the power too early, things can get loose.

Just like the C63 S sedan, we only get the full-strength C63 ‘S’ version in Australia, and along with more power (up 25kW) comes plenty of handy track tech, too. Underneath, it’s got active dynamic engine mounts, and an electronically controlled rear differential lock that helps keep this car tied down and predictable in the more challenging corners. Thankfully, our Edition 1 tester was also shod with a set of Michelin’s best – Pilot Super Sport tyres (no-cost option) – for extra traction and grip.

The C63 S Coupe offers a bunch of driving modes, including a new Race setting, but I’ve chosen Sport + from the car’s Dynamic Select drive system to kick things off with, and that’s where it will most likely remain for today’s session. It’s still allows a degree of slip for some sideways action if you’re keen, but it’s never scary, just fun.

The back-end steps out as we exit Turn Five with the throttle well and truly buried, but the coupe is just so nicely balanced that a quick bit of opposite lock settles the chassis, so I put my foot down with plenty of intent. There’s still a trace of lag to be found out of the hairpins, but squeeze the power on progressively, and the pace builds very quickly. Peak torque comes on song at 1750rpm and stays there through to 4500rpm, so this thing’s got all the pull in the world, and it’s relentless.

If you’re in Manual (no auto upshift) you best keep an eye on the tachometer, or you’ll be bouncing off the limiter before you have a chance to pull the right paddle-shifter. If I had any grievances, it would be a minor one against the seven-speed automatic transmission. It’s fast enough, but it’s not quite as crisp or as rewarding as the M4’s dual-clutch 'box, which is most likely down the C63 S’s prodigious torque output.

It’s nice and pointy though, and there’s decent levels of communication through the steering wheel (I’d like even more) so as to be confident of hitting your apexes. The ceramic brakes are simply phenomenal; huge fade-free stopping power and a natural pedal feel. They almost feel like steel brakes in that regard.

The Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe is a brutally quick car that feels perfectly at home on a racetrack, particularly the higher-spec Edition 1 version. It also delivers on the luxury front with an outstandingly comfortable cockpit that’s also beautifully crafted.

Obviously, a thorough shakedown focusing on ride and handling on local roads will come later in June, once we get the car through the CarAdvice garage.