The BMW M3 has long been the benchmark when it comes to the performance sedan segment. Audi and Mercedes-Benz have been trying hard to topple the M3 but without much avail. Now though, AMG reckons its all-new wild child, the AMG C63 has the technology, the looks, the power and most importantly the driveability to dethrone the BMW. I spent time with the top of the range C63 AMG S Edition 1 to find out if it is a real contender or just a swinging hammer in the dark.
On the face of it, the standard C63 AMG could be confused for a C200 with an AMG pack; there are subtle differences though. For starters, the bonnet is a little longer to house that 4.0-litre Bi-turbo V8, which I will elaborate on later. It also has a different front bumper, which features a new intake design. It has a rear bumper that houses four tailpipes and there is a little boot lip.
The C63 S Edition 1 on the other hand can be spotted form miles away thanks to Edition 1 decals along the sides as well as red pin-striping around the front grille and along the carbon-fibre wing mirrors. If I’m honest, it is a bit too much for me; the car really doesn’t need any go-faster details.
The Edition 1 package does however benefit the interior with extra sporty seats and some carbon-fibre inserts, which give the interior a rather special feel. As with the normal C-Class the AMG’s interior is top quality. It is well laid out and it makes use of one of the most visually appealing infotainment systems on the market. I could go on about practicality, fit and finish but I won’t - I want to get to the real meat of the matter here, the engine and what it can do.
The engine in the standard C63 AMG develops a healthy 350kW and 650NM of torque. The S model, on the other hand, develops 373kW (which is what the V10 BMW M5 made a few years ago) and 700Nm of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed MCT (multi-clutch) gearbox, and with the use of the standard Race Start launch-control system Mercedes-Benz claims a 0-100km/h time of 4.0 seconds. Another thing to consider is that this engine is also used in the AMG GT and GTS sports cars.
As with most Mercedes-Benz cars today, a little thumbwheel in the centre console allows you to choose between four drive settings including Comfort, Sport, Sport+ and Individual and in the C63 S there's a fifth Race option. These will alter suspension stiffness, throttle sensitivity, gearbox alertness, ESP stage, and even exhaust loudness.
Now, AMGs of old were great fun in a straight line, but when shown a corner, they had a tendency to freak out, causing the driver to wet his pants! This is where the BMW M3 won the overall package competition. For this new car though, Mercedes-Benz has spent a lot of time developing the suspension as well as the handling characteristics of the car, and it shows.
The previous BMW M3 was a much faster car around a racetrack, compared to the C63 AMG. In fact when our favourite British motoring show tested them, the M3 was a few seconds faster than the AMG. We put a non S C63 AMG up against a BMW M4 at Zwartkops with the same driver behind the wheel. The BMW M4 was only but a tenth of a second faster. It would have been a different story if it was the C63 S. Besides extra power and Race mode, the C63 S also benefits from dynamic engine mounts that can instantly soften or tighten depending on driving style. This minimises drivetrain movement within the chassis for better steering feel and control. The S model also gets carbon-ceramic brakes as an option, and an electronic (rather than mechanical) differential lock system. Don’t think the car is tame, because it’s not! Turn all the systems off and you will be in trouble very quickly. It’s wild!
The C63 S is a huge leap forward from the previous model. It looks good (minus those decals) and it goes like a R1 209 900 bat out of hell. Is it better than a BMW M3? Well, that’s one of those questions that I can’t answer right now, but looking at what Mercedes-Benz has done with the C63 models I’d say they have definitely improved on it; it is now equally as potent on the road and on the racetrack.
Picture Source: Netcarshow and Mercedes-Benz