Car reviews - Mercedes-AMG - C63 - S Coupe
Incredible ride/handling balance, astonishing speed, attractive looks
Room for improvement
Rear seats are cramped, heavier build dulls engine ever so slightly
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30 Jun 2016
By TIM ROBSON
THE shadows beneath the trees around Jindivick in Victoria are hiding something. On the dark glistening black surface lies a thin sheen of green, a dark mossy growth that forcibly removes all semblance of grip in a chest-tightening nanosecond.
It’s not the first place you’d think to take a 500 horsepower rear-drive V8, to be truthful.
When that V8 is a Mercedes-AMG C63, there’s more reason for concern, Fabulous though the sedan is, for example, it’s very firmly tied to the road, making real-world bumps, lumps and mossy apexes a test of faith that the electronics will get you out of any resultant lack-of-traction spot.
The new two-door Coupe version of the C63 is a more compromised car when comparing it to its siblings, of course, with a rear seat that suffers for the sake of design art.
A heavily raked roofline makes life a misery for taller passengers, while foot and knee room is minimal, as well.
But it’s from the driver’s seat where the Coupe’s best work is done. The powertrain is unchanged, and with good reason if you’re not happy with a 375kW, 700Nm V8 under your right foot, and for so relatively little money, you’re really in the wrong showroom.
The seven-speed auto stays, too, as does the electronic rear diff.
The magic happens in the revised rear suspension, according to Merc, with a 12-link arrangement tied together with metal instead of urethane.
The new C63 Coupe is wider where it counts, thankfully, while Merc assures us its suspension tune is more civilised in the real world.
Fatter, staggered rubber that pushes the Coupe’s footprint out 27mm more at the front and 45mm at the rear, along with a judicious tweak of camber settings, sets the scene for what is a cold, slightly damp first Australian road drive.
In short, the Coupe is an astonishingly accomplished handler, with a cracking turn of pace cross-country.
The nerveless, oversprung demeanour that the sedan can display in less than perfect conditions is all but gone, replaced by a tune that – especially with the dampers backed off to comfort but all other elements of the car turned up to Sport – flows over smooth and broken road surfaces like warm mercury.
The Coupe is seldom flustered, despite the tricky conditions and the occasional ham-fisted – or footed – input. With some very low-grip surfaces to contend with, it becomes a matter of trust – and it’s not long before we trust implicitly the messages back through the C63 Coupe’s steering wheel.
The ability of the engine to shorten the gaps between corners is still mighty, though it’s perhaps a little dulled by 70-odd extra kilograms of heft thanks to the Coupe’s reinforced bodyshell and stronger door frames.
A big shout out for the standard steel rotor/six piston brake package, though, with a high and meaty pedal really promoting confidence as corner approach speeds build up.
The electric steering setup is very good, too, with a great balance between heft and tactile feel. Gearshifts are sufficiently rapid, though a modern dual-clutch unit is quicker.
And even though the engine is turbocharged (which generally means muffled exhaust noises), there’s no fear of silence here. Off-throttle snaps send a gunshot ricochet into the atmosphere that penetrates but doesn’t overwhelm the cabin.
As a multi-personality cross-country machine that favours the more sporting driver, the C63 Coupe is without doubt the most accomplished of the three AMG siblings, bringing a new level of handling and ride sophistication to a package that could favour firmness over feel.
It’s very well specced, too, with a high level of active safety tech included as standard.
Look, it feels a little crazy to have to pay almost $8000 more to carry fewer people and less stuff, but for $162,400, the Coupe is truly a performance bargain on many levels.
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