Mercedes C63 AMG: the lowdown
Mercedes has a penchant for extremely powerful saloons and sports cars, in case you hadn't noticed. We've been inundated with the likes of the CL65 AMG, the CLK Black AMG and the McMerc SLR Roadster. Not content with these tyre-shredding giants, Mercedes has now shown the C63 AMG just 48 hours before the launch of the BMW M3.
So, what’s the deal with the C63?
This is the roadgoing version of Merc’s latest DTM touring car. It’s fitted with a 6.3-litre V8, kicking out a very serious - and M3 humbling - 457bhp and 442lb ft of torque. It’ll sear its way to 62mph in just 4.2 seconds, says Mercedes and is limited to the usual 155mph top speed. So it's as rapid as most Ferraris for a fraction of the price... In fact, there’s very little separating the roadgoing C63 from the DTM racer in raw power, as the touring car only offers an extra 13 ponies. So every trip to the supermarket will feel not dissimilar to a lap of Cadwell Park.
So it's just a dirty great V8 shoehorned into a C-class?
Of course not, this is a Mercedes. That sort of crude engineering is reserved for American muscle cars. The C63 boasts plenty in the way of dazzling and flashy technology, too. The seven-speed automatic ’box is impressive enough. It comes with the usual sport, comfort and manual settings that you would expect on an exec saloon, but it also blips the throttle automatically on downchanges, making for smooth cog-shifting and a noise that’s likely to wake the dead.
Everyone's doing the V8 saloon nowadays...
Absolutely. Audi's done it with the RS4, BMW will with the M3 and Lexus is even preparing an eight-pot version of the IS. It's de rigeur these days, don't you know. As well as a strong power output, the Merc has been engineered for what it calls a ‘designer’ exhaust note - it's been tuned to be pleasing to the ear. The company conducted customer clinics with audiophiles to get the exhaust note just right, so we can't wait to hear if the 6.3 V8 is as pitch-perfect as they claim.
Could be a handful on a rainy day, though?
It sure could, but there’ll be plenty to keep the big Bavarian in check. ESP is active unless you have a death wish and choose to turn it off, but it can also be stepped up to sport mode, which reigns in the torque and keeps the C63 on the straight and narrow. Anchoring the C63 shouldn’t be a problem, either. Behind the front wheels lie huge, 360mm discs with six-piston callipers, and 330mm discs with four-piston callipers bringing up the rear. Grip shouldn’t be a problem with the 18- or optional 19-inch alloys wrapped in 235/40 rubber at the front and 255/40 at the rear. So, in theory the C63’s bark should be a lot more ferocious than its bite. We'll know for sure when we get to drive it later in the year.
When can I can I get my hands on a C63 AMG then?
It should arrive in the UK early next year wearing a £55,000 price tag. It will be officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September, so expect to see the tasty Benz in the metal on home turf.