TEST DRIVE | 2015 Mercedes-AMG C63
A lot has been made of AMG and others moving to smaller outputs and turbochargers to get round EU emissions and economy targets. The giant 6.2-litre V8 that has been the main ingredient for the C63 has now gone. Fortunately, replacing this with the new 4.0-litre bi-turbo hasn’t ruined the C63 recipe.
To say the previous C63 AMG is dominated by the motor is probably a little insulting to it’s excellent chassis, but it would always be the first thing that people would talk to you about when they hear you drive a C63 or pull up beside you at one of the frequent fuel stops that you’d be doing. The sound is epic. Add an aftermarket exhaust and some of the examples are nothing short of breathtaking!
The new C63 fills the gap left by those 6208cc’s with a soundtrack that should come with some sort of warning of explicit content. With the exhaust turned into Sport+ it’s pure joy. Changing it to Comfort or Sport calms things down a little if you don’t want to wake the neighbours (or the dead) when you fire it up in the morning. The new 4 litre motor is brilliant and looks incredible with it’s two turbos sitting within the ‘V’, otherwise known as a ‘hot V’. Fuel economy appears improved on a cruise, too.
The 4 litre bi-turbo has 476hp and 650Nm of torque, up a little from the previous generation in terms of the peak figures, but that only tells part of the story. The new car can exploit all that torque from 1,750rpm to 4,500rpm resulting in both improved drivability and in the dash to 62mph. 4.1 seconds are all that’s needed to hit that figure compared to 4.5 in the previous model. The ‘S’ model (explained below) takes this figure down to just 4 seconds.
Mated to that new engine, the AMG Speedshift MCT 7-speed gearbox remains but is noticeably enhanced. AMG Ride Control Suspension is standard for the first time and offers flexibility for the conditions or your driving mood. The car can be configured in four modes; Individual, Comfort, Sport, Sport+. The ‘S’ model adds a Race mode. These are used for chassis, gearbox and exhaust. A limited slip differential is also provided as standard for the first time to aid traction.
For the first time ever in the C-Class, an ‘S’ model exists at the top of the range (this car isn’t the ‘S’ model). Nearly seven grand above the price of the standard car gets you more power and torque (up to 510hp and 700Nm), an electronically controlled limited slip differential (similar to the Drexler unit in the SLS AMG Black Series!) and a number of other enhancements including the awesome looking AMG Performance front seats from Recaro. The ‘S’ model is instantly noticeable by red AMG / Brembo brake callipers.
Let’s talk about this particular example. Check out that ‘Brilliant Blue’ paint! It’s one of the new shades available on the C63 that wasn’t available on the previous car and it’s certainly in my top 3 if I ever bought one of these. Also fitted is the Premium Package (containing the LED intelligent lighting system, Burmester surround sound system, the stunning panoramic sunroof which I love so much in the GLA, keyless go and the exclusive package including some nappa leather look touches on the dash and door cards), switchable performance exhaust, 19″ AMG cross-spoke design wheels in black and to continue the black theme, the AMG night package which replaces much of the faux-chrome. The basic cost of the car is circa £60,000 as a saloon (the estate is slightly more expensive).
The steering wheel is such an important part of a car given it’s one of the few things you make contact with and here we have a stunning example which is very familiar if you’ve driven any latest AMGs. I’m resigned to the fact that simple wheels with no buttons are a thing of the past, but as long as they are well designed and tactile, I’m perfectly happy for them to have a smattering of buttons. I’m also a big fan of good steering performance and worried that moving from a hydraulic system to electronic would hurt the C63 but it hasn’t.
Summing up, Mercedes-AMG have taken what was already a fine malt and allowed it to mature before bottling and then wrapping in a package that improves on the previous model by a few percent in nearly all areas.