Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe track test review
ONE empty sun-kissed race track, perfect blue sky overhead and a matte grey four-wheeled weapon that successfully - magically - blends elegance with brute in-yer-faceness.
Welcome the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe. Its name may be a mouthful, but its mission is simple. Rapid performance inside a be-muscled but pretty shell and the happy fact - as far as Benz is concerned - that it hits 100kmh in just 3.9-seconds.
That's 0.1s better than its four-door C 63 S stablemate, but perhaps more pertinently, 0.2s quicker than BMW's M4 and over half a second faster than Audi's RS5.
Merc's new C-Class Coupe line-up arrived in Australia just a few weeks ago, but only two of the AMG versions have landed before hitting showrooms next month.
Despite their scarcity, I was given keys to both - a "normal" C 63 S Coupe and an Edition 1 version (for a $10,900 premium) with its flat paintwork, yellow decals, aero pack, matte black wheels and, ideal for track work, ceramic brakes.
Venue was Sydney Motor Sport Park and lap numbers were brief so it was a short but sweet love affair.
Coming away wanting more - much more - speaks volumes of the experience. The visual impact of the car's aggressive design alone builds excitement, and it's sensory overload with the first blip of the accelerator.
The note from the exhaust is a burbling, rasping thrill, blissfully filling the cabin as I accelerated out of the pit lane at full throttle straight into turn one.
With Sport Plus mode selected the AMG allows a fair level of rear breakaway before the aids start pulling you back in line - a Race setting is available, but with only two of these cars in the country...
Thrills are still plentiful with the tolerant safety nets engaged, and at the track's first hairpin the excellent, feedback-heavy steering and the Coupe's electronic limited slip diff helped me hit the apex with smooth accuracy, while a little feather of the throttle lightened the rear end as the 375kW was gradually fed back through the rear tyres.
The AMG Coupe feels trimmer than its 1725kg kerb weight: heavier than its four-door sibling but with the same amount of brutal, sporting character. It makes going very quick indeed feel deceptively easy.
On the track's straights and up through the gears intensity levels quickly soared. Make no mistake, this AMG is one very, very quick car with a boosted V8 boasting chunks of muscle. And, oh, that sound.
It may cost over $10k to score the Edition 1 version with ceramic brakes, but if you want your C 63 S Coupe at the track regularly (you do), these anchors are a sound investment considering the workout they get reigning the speed in.
It's a hoot too. Despite its ballistic performance the Coupe still feels playful through the turns, but all the while nicely balanced and predictable, I'd love to explore it more, and the race track is certainly the place for this.
Its stiff suspension may not make it an ideal everyday road companion, and you'd only scratch a tiny surface of this car's abilities during legal road use.
But you could own one just to look at it and I'd think nothing less of you. Flared wheel arches on an already stunning coupe design widen the AMG 64mm at the front and 66mm at the rear over a standard C-Class coupe, there are fatter, grippier tyres, power domes in the bonnet, mighty front air inlets and tasteful rear spoiler.
Then there are the hidden treats including specially designed suspension, rear axle and electric limited slip diff as standard.
You'll pay more for an AMG C 63 S Coupe than a BMW M4 or Audi RS5 - not least if you opt for the limited numbers Edition 1 version (stretch to it if you can).
Tick a few options and add on-roads and you won't see much change from $200k, but you'll be in the company of one very special motor car.
Model: Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe.
Details: Two-door, rear-wheel drive performance premium coupe.
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 with maximum power of 375kW @ 5500rpm and peak torque of 700Nm @ 1750rpm.
Transmission: AMG Speedshift 7-speed automatic.
Performance 0-100kmh: 3.9-seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $162,400 ($173,300 for the Edition 1 as pictured).