The best C-Class AMG ever made? We think so...
The 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe might share its name with its sedan and wagon variants that sit below it, but on the road, it behaves like an almost entirely different car.
When the current-generation Mercedes-AMG C63 sedan and wagon came out, there was a certain element of ‘fun’ that this writer felt was missing from what had just come before it, the SLS-inspired C63 AMG Edition 507.
The 507 took everything we loved about the very best, and very last, naturally-aspirated V8 (6.2-litre) from Mercedes-Benz and put it in a chassis that will no doubt go down in history as one of the best mid-sized sports cars ever made.
To go from that to the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 of new was a tad underwhelming, not because it couldn't match its predecessor for power, torque, or acceleration (in fact, it could do much more), but more so that the new AMG sedan and wagon didn’t have the same design flair, or arguably even the same dynamic ability, of their predecessors.
Fast forward to now, to the new 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe, and the 507 seems like a distant memory from the history books.
Looking at the $162,400 (before on-road costs) AMG C63 S Coupe from the outside, Mercedes seems to have answered all the criticism levelled at the fly-under-the-radar styling of the sedan and wagon.
The two-door - with its hyper-aggressive design language that shares only the roof panel, door skins and boot lid with the four door models - encapsulates what we’ve always loved about AMG design: it's in your face and daring (now more than ever evident from the dark AMG wheels that come standard). From the wheel arches to the rear diffuser and the updated front end, the C63 S Coupe can no longer hide its character under a thin disguise.
Perhaps the stylistic flair is also a reflection of its personality, for it drives so differently to the other variants, that you can’t help but label it the best C-Class AMG to date.
At the local launch, we found ourselves on slippery and very tight and twisty roads somewhere between Melbourne and Jindivick, giggling like Justin Bieber at Lewis Hamilton’s house as we felt the backend step out at almost every possible opportunity.
"But Alborz, the sedan and wagon do that too", you say. And yes they do, but the difference is the level of control the coupe exhibits when oversteering.
It doesn’t matter what corner, what speed, or what gear, just get the right angle and engage the right foot, and the Mercedes steps out with such poise and exactness that it makes it insanely addictive.
A lot of that additional sense of control comes from the wider track, wider rear tyres, and completely reworked suspension setup compared with its siblings. But for us, the most noticeable change to the car’s setup is the speed-sensitive electromechanical steering system, which now does what BMW M cars of old used to do so well: provide immaculate feedback, while being tremendously sharp. It feels very different to the sedan and wagon, in the most positive ways.
The grip from the front end is enormous and far more than the previous-generation offered, providing an extra sense of confidence when diving hard on the brakes and then steering confidently into a corner. It’s also why getting the rear end to step out now feels so much easier, given the grip you get from the front axle to anchor the car.
The 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with is 375kW of power and ridiculous 700Nm of torque certainly provides ample entertainment for occupants and other road users. While it doesn’t sound as manic or raw as the old naturally-aspirated V8, the new more mechanical sound has grown on us, and it actually suits the new coupes character rather well. It’s brutal, with cracks and pops, but probably not as loud as we’d like. It’s also the only engine of its kind in this price bracket, and that alone goes a long way to justifying its purchase.
Coupled with a seven-speed multi-plate (not dual-clutch) gearbox, the V8 drivetrain is rapid fire through the gears, and despite not being as fast as the dual-clutch DCT in the BMW M4, the transmission still helps the C63 S Coupe manage a claimed 0-100km/h time of just 3.9 seconds - which is the same as the new Porsche 911 Carrera S. Not a bad feat.
In 'AMG' mode, the head-up display provides a good rev counter and also a licence-saving digital speed readout that is absolutely mandatory when in charge of this car - which, let me tell you, is an emotional struggle to drive at low speeds.
On the open road the AMG C63 S Coupe is absolutely a sports car one can live with daily. With the adaptive suspension and driving mode left in 'Comfort', it can poodle around all day in suburbia, even on really poor roads, without much discomfort. Best of all, you can leave the exhaust in 'Sport' mode while everything else is set for comfort, allowing the glory of the V8 to sing freely at all times.
Dynamically, it’s a little hard to fault. For once, we can say that the AMG is probably a better and more complete driver’s car than its BMW M rival, though, that’s more to do with how manic the M4 is with its power delivery than anything else. Also, one aspect where the Bavarian brand always falls short, the folks at AMG have nailed, and that’s the interior.
The Coupe’s performance seats, the seating position, and overall cabin ambience are simply superb. You can sit in the cabin for long drives and indeed, two 'actual' people can fit in the rear seats. They won’t be super comfortable for extended periods of time, but the seats are certainly more than decor.
While its German rivals fall well short of the new C63 in terms of interior refinement, the Mercedes is perhaps slightly let down by lacking the latest in infotainment technology, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto notably missing - features already available on the A- and B-Class.
Overall though, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz C63 S Coupe is easily our favourite car from the men and women at AMG. It may not be as 'pure' in the definitive term of automotive passion, but it has the hooligan nature of its predecessor, with more performance, and now even better dynamic ability. The only problem then, is that you won’t be able to get one for a while, with wait times now at six months and climbing...
Click on the Photos tab for more 2017 Mercedes-Benz C63 S Coupe images.