Mercedes-Benz C63 Estate (2008)

Published: 29 May 2007

Ah yes, Mercedes’ hot C-class estate

Not just hot, but the hottest. When the C63 AMG arrives here early next year, it will pack a massive 500bhp punch, making it the most ferocious small estate on the market. With Audi RS4’s Avant managing a paltry 420bhp and BMW not even considering a Touring version of its M3, the £55,000 C63 wagon should be the quickest wagon in the west. And it will certainly look the part with its muscular kerb-kissing AMG body kit, four exhaust pipes, vast louvered front air intake and slammed ride height. This test car was snapped after a hard day’s work pounding around the Nürburgring. That second, longer aerial sprouting from the offside B-pillar is a live telemetric link with Stuttgart, which means that as the car is hurtling around the 13mile-long circuit its on-board diagnostics can be remotely adjusted and tweaked, saving valuable development time and engineering resources. Clever.

It’ll be brisk, I take it?

That smiley face on the grille – who says the Germans don’t have a rapier-sharp wit – is likely to be replicated by the driver. Stuffed underneath that bulging bonnet sits AMG’s superb 6.3-litre naturally aspirated V8, tweaked to pump out at least 500bhp and a mighty 470lb ft of torque, good for a 4.5second sprint to 60mph and an effortless 155mph limited top speed. Behind those 19inch alloys lurk cross-drilled and ventilated carbon composite brake discs gripped by newly developed sliding calipers –a must-have on the C63’s list of optional extras. And expect some nifty suspension and steering engineering too, including adjustable electronic dampers, a choice of steering assistance levels and auto, comfort and sport settings for the seven-speed paddle shift transmission.

Is it big and clever?

Yes, in a word. At 4556mm, the new estate is some 55mm longer than the outgoing model. Most of that has been inserted between the axles for a long 2760mm wheelbase to boost rear legroom and loadbay area – which should increase slightly to around 500litres or 1500litres with the rear seats folded flat. And the boot area will house some helpful features like a collapsible shopping crate, several hidden cubbies, remote tailgate operation and an intelligent folding cover.

By Ben Whitworth

Contributing editor, sartorial over-achiever, HANS device shirt collars