Does Mercedes’ rival to the BMW M4 really beat the Beemer – or are there other cars to consider?
Click through to watch and read my review
I really liked the old Mercedes AMG C63 saloon, not just because it was a ravenous little M3-hunter with a 6.2-litre V8 stuffed down its speedo, making it one of the quickest four-door sprinters on the planet, but because it was a near Q-car deceiver with an extraordinary Jekyll and Hyde personality.
Everyone would see it outside your house and think you’d finally grown up and become sensible, as you strode up to your practical, prestigious, compact and safe C-Class in the morning, totally unflustered by the long crawl to work as you’d be cocooned in the comforting belly of the Benz.
But what they would never realise was that by evening you’d leave the office real late, not just for the overtime you needed to keep up payments on your pride and joy, but because you’d want to go out menacingly prowling the streets looking for prey: sportscars, modified metal, perhaps even the odd Porsche 911, and of course, the arch nemesis – the BMW M3.
And once you’d shown everyone who was boss and your pockets were bulging with pink slips – the equivalent of automotive scalps – the evil potion would wear off and you’d cruise home, ready to slip into your slippers, plant you posterior on the La-Z-Boy and have a TV dinner, whilst living out a proxy social life with the latest episode of How I Met Your Mother.
Fast-forward to today though – and I do mean FAST and the car in these pictures is NOT that car anymore.
For one thing, it’s a coupe – not only does that mean two instead of four doors, but it also means a wider track, flared wheelarches, more aggressive front, ribs on the bonnet, racing stripes and, well, a bit of stance innit? This is a modern Rude Merc, make no mistake.
It’s certainly no shrinking violet. It wears its tattoos of rage right where you can see them. It’s pumped, it’s hard, it doesn’t believe in saving kittens and recycling rubbish, it wants a punch-up and it wants one now – as in All The Time.
Even the M3 – or for this scenario the M4 – has conceded to being a vegetarian on the weekdays, as it now employs a respirator and has given up two cylinders to the Lord of Green. The C63 on the other hand took a gander under the Beemer’s skirt and scoffed: ‘well that’s pretty pussy, how about I introduce it to my throbbing V8!’
Despite making the BMW its bitch, the bad boy Merc simply won’t concede to the fact that it has in fact changed its own playbook in response to the track-focussed M car.
Never mind all the multi-modes available, there is no ‘calm-down-and-just-be-a-Benz’ mode on the C63 anymore. Even in comfort it’s on edge, belligerent and highly strung. The ride is tolerable but still a lot firmer than what I remember it to be in the previous iteration – and this is the softest setting of the three-stage adaptive dampers.
As you’ll see in the video review above, if you’re going to go Sports, you might as well go Sports Plus and flick over to manual – which proved trickier than I thought because… Hey?! What happened to the floor-mounted transmission shifter that full-fat AMG models would get instead of the dainty steering stalk of most modern Mercs?!
Anyway the 7-speed DCT really lets you work that monster 4.0 BiTurbo V8, calling on the 503bhp and 516lb ft of torque to launch this S version to 100kph from standstill in a barely believable 3.9secs, and if you take the 250kph limiter off you’ll see the numbers spiral up to 290kph.
It’s a quality product with a great interior – gotta love those toggles – thundering torque from the lusty motor, and ‘squint-and-you’ll-believe-it’s-a-mini-AMG GT S’ looks. Plus it’ll shred its rear boots just as fast as it’ll shred BMW M4s – not just on the road but in the showrooms too, as it is actually cheaper than its main rival. Now that’s a bank job right there!
And really, c’mon, if you’re not pernickety about losing a mere tenth of a second in the 0-100kph acceleration time, then lose the S and your purchase price will drop from AED401,450 (US$109,300) to AED368,760 (US$100,400). Same engine and the power and torque drop only a little to 469bhp and 479lb ft respectively.
So then, full thumbs up right? We should all go get a C63 Coupe?
Er… not so fast. For starters another coupe beast that threw it’s ‘Kasa’ into the ring a couple of years ago, is the Lexus RC-F. Also sporting a V8, it’s almost as brutal a performer, but amazingly is a more refined and easier car to live with on the daily slog.
And then there’s the fact that you can get a Porsche 911 Carrera and even a Carrera S for this money – it has two rear seats that are almost as usable as the Merc’s, and it too has a better ride.
There’s yet another choice. Whilst I adore a mini-muscle car as much as the next medallion-man wannabe, extracting the last percentage of performance and ability from the C63 is somewhat beyond my abilities because, well, I was a little intimidated by it. Now perhaps if the steering was a little more feelsome…
Ah, but I do know a similar-sized car, that offers an even angrier V8 bellow and bark, looks the business, comes as a manual and was more of a willing partner, letting me in on its performance and grip envelope secrets a little more readily than the haughty Benz – and that’s the all-new 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS.
So as much as I liked and enjoyed the mad Merc, I’d have one of those sexy Chevys instead for about half the money – I’d need the rest to spend on tyres and fuel anyway!