What is it?
The highly anticipated W205 generation of AMG’s most successful model to date, the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. However, as well as a new look and new powerplant, the C-Class performance hero has also been given a new name: the Mercedes-AMG C63 S (sorry Benz family!).
The new car is available in both sedan and estate body styles, with Australian deliveries due to begin in the third quarter of 2015.
Engine, transmission and 0-100km/h time
For the new C63, it’s bye bye to the celebrated naturally aspirated 6.2L V8 and hello to a 375kW 4.0L twin-turbo. This mid-sized four-door has been stuffed with Affalterbach’s cracking new M177 unit, complete with a pair of twin-scroll turbos mounted inside the valley of the vee. If that all sounds familiar, that’s because it’s very closely related to the engine found in the AMG GT S supercar. There are a couple of changes, though, chiefly the lack of dry-sump lubrication and a 50Nm increase in torque to a stonking 700Nm.
Unsurprisingly then, the C63 S’s sprint to triple figures is a match for the GT S at 4.0sec, while the Estate is just one-tenth slower. Helping both models tickle that 100km/h mark is an overhauled version of the old car’s seven-speed AMG Speedshift transmission.
All this also means that claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption is down almost 30 per cent on the current C63 507 Edition to 8.6L/100km, making it the most efficient 8-cylinder in the high-performance market.
Also shared with the GT S, are the dynamic engine mounts. These automatically adapt to suit the prevailing conditions – the softer default during relaxed cruising means less noise and vibration, while the stiffer setup for dynamic driving offers more precise handling by minimising movement of the powertrain.
The other headline tech feature for the new C63 S is Race Mode. This sharpens the engine response, increases idling speed from 600 to 800rpm for a better start, holds gears longer, and defaults the suspension, steering and exhaust to Sport+.
What is it like?
Pretty damned incredible. First things first, the engine note: of course, it doesn’t quite have the guttural gravitas of its bellowing naturally aspirated predecessor, but it’s by no means weak. With plenty of fireworks on the overrun and a redline growl that would intimidate most serious sports cars, we are far from disappointed by the soundtrack.Letting the C63 S’s optional active exhaust ring loud, we flung the Estate and Sedan around bushland bends in southern Portugal, muttering awe-inspired expletives and sporting a near-permanent grin.
The sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sports (245/35 R19 front and 265/35 R19 rear) and rear e-diff worked in concert to offer outstanding purchase through and out of corners, and the acceleration in between felt every bit as quick and strong as AMG’s claims.
Ride quality from the adaptive suspension was predictably taut, but crucially, the changes (wider front track, higher rear camber, stiffer springs, stiffer anti-roll bars and three-stage adjustable dampers) have definitely introduced more low-speed calm compared to the jittery W204 car and also provided an excellent sense of what’s going on beneath the rubber. The chief criticism? Tyre noise was pretty substantial, particularly in the cavernous C63 S Estate.
Of course, by adopting the C-Class’ cultivated, mini-S-Class aesthetic, it’s not quite at threatening to look at as the W204 C63. But don’t be fooled by its more sophisticated hide – this animal still bites. Hard.
The sedan will set you back $154,900, which is $4500 less than the last remaining version of the W204-gen C63 – the 373kW 507 Edition Coupe. Few predicted the cheaper price point; especially considering that the 507 had almost $13K shaved off its own list price late last year.
The sold-out 2014 507 sedan, meanwhile, asked $169,407 and the Estate $171,407. In comparison, the new Estate commands $157,400.
What are the alternatives?
The big rival for the sedan is the new BMW M3. Although, at $156,430 it’s about $1500 more expensive than the C63 S and produces 60 fewer Kilowatts from its 3.0L six-cylinder. Also in the rear-wheel-drive performance-car mix are the 351kW Lexus RC F and the forthcoming V8 Ford Mustang.
For the C63 S Estate, it’s pretty much up to the $149,900 331kW Audi RS4 Avant to lure buyers away from the three-pointed star.
Anything else I need to know?
There is a 350kW non-S version of the car available in overseas markets, but Mercedes-Benz Australia decided to forgo it. The reasoning is simple: the vast majority of Aussie AMG buyers tend to elect the highest-powered option available. When the 358kW Performance Pack launched for the previous C63 in late 2010, for example, some 80 per cent of buyers ticked the box for those 22 extra Kilowatts.
Furthermore, there’s a new 270kW V6 C450 AMG 4Matic model launching earlier next year for a little over $100K, and it’s pretty obvious that Merc wanted to create a bit of breathing space between it and the Affalterbach performance icon.
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