TEST DRIVE: 2017 MERCEDES-BENZ C63 S AMG COUPE

Every now and again I get my hands on a car that hits the mark so impressively it makes me want to mortgage my home and get one of my own. Such a model was the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe S that I’ve been driving for a while.

The C63 in this guise is based on the C Class coupe platform, but the similarity ends about there. Almost all the body panels are different, partly because the fenders are flared to accept very wide Michelin high-performance tires. It’s a superb-looking car and attracted a lot of attention, even from people who were not particularly car fans. Naturally, people who were car fans were mightily impressed with it.

Almost every model in the huge Mercedes-Benz range of vehicles has an AMG version and fine cars they are, but the C63 is exactly the size I like in a sports coupe. It’s nicely compact and easy to manoeuvre and park. The bodywork is almost a match for some of the pure sports cars in the Mercedes lineup and it’s very sleek and impressive.

The beast is powered by a mighty 503-horsepower 4.0-litre V-8 with twin turbochargers and this gives the car astonishing levels of power. It feels like a racecar for the street, though thanks to huge brakes, it’s easy enough to keep clear of trouble. It’s a car that needs to be driven with care on wet roads because of the very large amount of torque on tap. On the other hand, it’s docile enough in heavy traffic situations and has all kinds of safety features, thanks to Mercedes leadership in that field.

AMG engines are built in a separate factory to the cars themselves and it’s an amazing place to visit. It looks more like a well-run hospital than an engine shop with gleaming floors and shining machinery and assembly equipment, some of which is pendant-mounted and pulled down from the ceiling to minimize floor clutter. There’s no assembly line as such because each power unit is built by one operative who travels around to the various assembly stations as the build progresses, pushing the motor along on a trolley. When this individual completes the engine, it’s personally signed, a nice touch which underlines the value AMG owners get for their hand-built engines.

The transmission is a 7-speed automatic and there are big aluminum paddles on the chunky leather and suede steering wheel to select gears manually. I found no reason to call on that system because the car has such enormous torque levels and leaving it in ‘auto’ was more than adequate.

The interior is fitted out to the usual high standards expected from Mercedes-Benz, but since this is a premium product, you get lots of extra luxury and convenience. The leather seating in my tester boasted a nifty red and black two-tone theme and around the cockpit, many panels gleamed with carbon fibre trim. In the middle of the dash is a conventional clock by the famed Swiss watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen, with which AMG has had a cooperative agreement for some years.

The C63 AMG S is certainly one of the most desirable luxury coupes on the Canadian market and though it’s far from inexpensive, it will give an owner many years of sporty driving and a good deal of prestige.

 

IN SUMMARY…

BODY STYLE: Two-door coupe

ENGINE: Twin-turbo 4.0-litre V-8, 503-horsepower

TRANSMISSION: 7-speed automatic

PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 4-secs

PRICE: $85,800 MSRP

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