What is it?
Mercedes-AMG’s boisterous C 63 is back. From behind the wheel, the Mercedes C 63 AMG, thanks to its monstrous 6.2 litre V8, had a penchant for ludicrousness. It was a flavour of automotive madness that earned it many fans. How different is the new C from AMG? Yes, the name has been shuffled around and now is called the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S, but is the persona any different too?
In some ways the new C 63 S is all too familiar and in others less so, that’s both good and bad. First, the performance; it is still packed with AMG wantonness. While the C is still badged as a 63, the naturally aspirated V8 has been replaced by a 4.0-litre twin turbo engine. Thankfully, there’s been no downsizing of cylinders. From this V8 the S creates nearly as much horsepower as the C 63 AMG’s swansong version, the Edition 507.
What's it like to drive?
The 71.4kgm of torque is a lot more than before but has been tamed in such a way that no matter how you prod the accelerator, you’ll get what you want. In Comfort mode, moving through city traffic is quick yet smooth, with a lazy but delightful V8 burble keeping you company. Torque builds rapidly from 1,500rpm, and past 2, 000rpm the rear tyres feel like they are digging their claws deep into the tarmac. Such is the ferocity of the acceleration that you expect, no, hope for some let up in shove as the tacho needle swings towards its near-7,000rpm red line. Incredibly, there isn’t.
As you step up the drive modes from Sport to Sport+ and then finally into Race, the sense of urgency changes from a tiger’s lazy saunter through the woods in to a fangs-bared charge. When it comes to the C 63 S’ acceleration, neck snapping isn’t a figure of speech. The fast-acting gearbox also multiplies the potency of the engine and makes overtakes a hilarious blink-and-miss affair. But every now and then the gearbox feels a bit clunky when getting off the line and at lower speeds. Keeping the gearbox in manual mode promises control over the shifts, while upshifts and prompt downshifts sometimes requires some prodding. Also, when driving fast, the thunder and anger of the old C 63 AMG’s exhaust note is lacking here. The burbles and pops that can be heard at overrun are overwritten by the torrent of chortled air being pushed out of the complex plumbing that terminates in the quad exhausts.
Still, the C 63 S is rapid and brims with feel and confidence from behind the wheel. The steering is a fantastic link to the changing tarmac under the front wheels. Reports of the coarseness of the tarmac and the slightest dip are murmured softly to the driver. The steering weighs up at higher speeds, demanding a playful hint of muscle to change direction. In corners, you can feel the huge levels of grip on offer from the 19-inch Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tyres. They handle the formidable task admirably, soaking up the massive forces at the rear axle during accelerating. Whilst at the front they have to deal with the, frankly dizzying, braking power offered by the carbon-ceramic brakes.
In a straight line the C 63 S’ blinding speed was backed up by a glued-to-the-ground feel. Lane changes were quick and stable too. However, using the speed turned into a stop-go affair as even the slightest rough patch sent the C 63 S bucking around as the sportier drive modes gave it a race-car like tautness. There’s better compliance in Comfort mode with the AMG rounding off big bumps well. Nonetheless the road surface is transmitted into the cabin in a manner that forces the driver to scan the road ahead for poor sections of tarmac.
The sporty leanings of the C 63 S also extend to the cabin insulation, or the lack of it. Its sense of luxury is marred by tyre and suspension noise that invades the cabin consistently. At highway speeds over less than perfect concrete, the thuds from the suspension were a few too many and the roar of tyres were all too audible inside the cabin. The ride and cabin insulation robs the C 63 S of some of the practicality that a four-door super-saloon proposes.
However, the cabin is as lavish as seen on the best-equipped Cs, but the additional use of carbon-fibre, the red seatbelts along with the contoured AMG seats give it a racier look and feel. On the outside the AMG sports a gaping carbon-fibre encrusted front bumper and the diffuser at the rear is sculpted for better aero too. The wider sills and lower ride height give it a purposeful stance too. However, this isn’t enough to replace the S-classesque elegant style with some brawn to make it properly head turning.
Should I buy one?
There’s no doubt that the new C 63 S can weave the magical spell that most AMGs do. It is more polished and more precise to drive without losing out on the simple pleasure of ferocious performance on tap. Despite its less than luxurious comfort and cabin insulation, it's hard to not be excited about the Mercedes-AMG C 63 S and for many, the price of Rs 1.3 Crore (ex-showroom, Delhi) won’t be a deterrent.