aturally aspirated V8s are a dying breed. And while I’m a proponent for improved fuel economy and emission mandates, they’re being supplanted by less potent, more fuel efficient turbo boosted powertrains. They burn less fuel and can produce an equal amount of horsepower. However, the caveat is not only less low end power, but the absence of a guttural sound that instills a visceral experience that reaches inside of your soul and yanks on your eardrums.
And to get such an experience, one doesn’t need to look any further than Mercedes AMG C63 coupé. Under the hood is a 6.3 liter engine that supplies an awe inspiring amount of horsepower (451) and torque (443 lb-ft). Slap on the German brand’s Development Package – a $6,000 option – and that figure jumps to 481 horses and bumps the top speed governor from 155 to 174.
Standard are a set of brakes that apply extra force at a higher rate of speed, dry themselves automatically in wet conditions, and draw their pads closer to the discs if you suddenly raise your foot off the accelerator (as if you were about to get in an accident). Needless to say, this all equates to faster stopping. And faster stopping means improved safety.
In the event you don’t brake, and instead opt to downshift, the engine will produce a rev-matching “throttle blip”, though it’s audible tone is a far cry from the Audi RS5‘s super-car concerto. Nevertheless, few cars in this price range will out match the C63′s high-revving startup sound that is so exhilarating it never failed to cause the hair on the back of my neck to stand up right in joyous applause. That said, ultra quick up shifts are achieved thanks to AMG’s 7-speed dual-clutch that can be accomplished in as little as 100-milliseconds when in Sport+ mode.
At a glance it’s easy to see that the C63 draws its looks from Mercedes regular C-class. But unlike the more tame C250 and 350, the C63 boasts agressive sheet metal work (most notable in the hood thanks to to protruding bumps) and a special front axle that stands 1.4-inches wider than its smaller siblings. Surprisingly, Mercedes hasn’t jumped on the “larger is cooler” wheel trend, and instead has held steadfast to 18-inch wheels – smaller wheels are said to reduce rotational intertia which in turn should equate to more agility. Rounding out the external notables is a carbon fiber lip on the front facia and carbon fiber tail – both are purely aesthetic plays – that are included by default thanks to Mercedes’ Development Package.
The C63′s front seats – the back ones are to a large degree unusable by any normal sized adult – offer ample lateral support for spirited driving, though I’d personally pass on the chocolate and caramel finish that was slathered throughout the interior of my test car. And while the outside of the C63 has been equipped with what appears to be real carbon fiber, the interior has a few strips that are nothing more than an aesthetic ode to the C63′s track prowess.
Continuing a closer look at the C63′s interior, the infotainment center and controls feels underwhelming and dated for a car that can cost north of $80,000 (it starts in around $60k). The screen is relatively small, the interface is lacking pizzaz, and the rear camera – which you’ll often use thanks to the relatively well obstructed rear window - doesn’t provide warnings about distance or objects in your path.
However, the Bluetooth system offers some relief as it’s incredibly fast to reconnect, provided you’ve stumbled through the initial pairing phase; it’s a bit of a search and peck process. Moreover, my car, which billed out at over $83,000, lacked a proximity sensor for the door – I had to reach into my pocket – and a push button start (this can be easily added in place of the key insert start). On the flip side, topping my list of favorites, aside from the solid speaker system inside of the C63, is the car’s steering and steering wheel. It’s what most cars should aspire to be in both connectivity to the road and feel of the actual wheel; it’s not too grippy, large in circumference and requires the right amount of muscle power to turn the nose of the C63 through a corner.
When I think about the C63 I can’t help manage an oversized heart pumping with excess, always at the brink of exploding. It’s not the most flattering of descriptions, but what I’m alluding to is the car’s unbridled power. Unlike the Audi RS5, which felt very controlled in large part from the all wheel drive system, Mercedes’ C63 feels like a wild beast thanks to a combination of excessive horsepower, torque and rear wheel setup. Even with traction control on in full, I was still able to ever so slightly fish tail the rear pulling from a dead stop into a corner. Turn off traction control entirely – there is a Sport mode as well – and nothing more than a light tap of the accelerator pedal causes the car to squirm out of control. So, that said, the C63 is not for the faint of heart, those who are not accustom with oversteer, or those that don’t enjoy an occasional shot of adrenaline coursing through their veins.
Bottom line: Gluttonous V8 power that is nothing short of adrenaline inducing fun.