The Mercedes-AMG C 63 Saloon is good, nay, great enough to make us have second thoughts about the BMW M3 Saloon, so you can see how our review of the new C 63 Coupé is likely to pan out. The two-door shape looks even more impressive and it drives with all the same verve. Yes, it's a bit of a handful in the wet, but the payback is a highly rewarding experience for those that love to drive.
In the Metal:
Stance: that's what the Mercedes-AMG C 63 Coupé has - in abundance. It looks sensational and far more aggressive than the standard C-Class Coupé. It should be no surprise then that the AMG version shares so little with its Mercedes-Benz brethren - only the boot lid, doors and roof are carried over, though both cars are clearly from the same stock. The considerably wider front and rear axles necessitated beefier bodywork and the stylists took the opportunity to give the C 63 more presence, which it has in spades. The menacing looking front bumper plays an aerodynamic role too of course, as does the rear item, which incorporates a diffuser and four exhaust outlets. The standard C 63 runs on 18-inch alloys, while the C 63 S rides on 19-inch rims and the latter can also be identified by red brake callipers with black AMG lettering (the normal car has silver callipers with white lettering) - gripping larger discs up front. Other aesthetic differentiators between the two variants are found in the grille, the front splitter, side skirts and rear bumper.
Further tweaks are found inside the C 63 S, which has red detailing on the instruments, grey seatbelts, Dinamica microfibre trim on the steering wheel and grey contrast detailing. There's also an additional mode in the AMG Dynamic Select system, called Race.
In a bid to put our review into context, we drove the C 63 S Coupé over the course of two days, at the Ascari Race Resort circuit and on a variety of different road and surface types in and around Malaga in Spain. However, it's worth pointing out that both the track and the roads were, for the most part, very wet and quite cold. There wasn't much grip to be had in both cases, so it took a bit of concentration to get the most out of a 510hp rear-drive sports coupé, to say the least...
Having driven to Ascari in the regular C-Class Coupé, our first chance to drive the AMG version was at speed on a soaking wet track, in convoy with a 'pace' car piloted by none other than Bernd Schneider himself. He advised us to leave the ESP stability control switched on and to toggle between Sport+ and Race modes as we became more comfortable with the track and conditions. It didn't take long to discover just how little grip the wet circuit held as we slithered through our sighting laps thankful for the flashing ESP light in the dashboard and its quick-thinking electronics keeping the car on the tarmac.
Nonetheless, a few laps later, our speed had increased appreciably as it became clear that the chassis was brimming with communication, through the steering wheel and the seat, allowing us to exploit what little grip there was to the full without fear of taking a trip into the undergrowth. The steering is quick and offers up good feedback, while the brake pedal allows minute modulation of stopping power, meaning we rarely summoned up the anti-lock braking system. In spite of the low-grip conditions, the front end of the C 63 Coupé proved to be incredibly reliable and very responsive to rapid direction changes. Indeed, some drivers may prefer a little more stabilising understeer. Those that love rear-drive cars will relish this car's chassis. It can feel a little unstable at first, but we found that the traction and stability control system rules with an iron fist if you select Eco or Comfort driving modes so in theory anyone can drive this car in any conditions. The more experienced can work up to using the full-on Race mode, which heightens responsiveness from the engine and transmission, firms up the suspension and delays assistance from the ESP system. It's incredibly engaging and thrilling to drive the C 63 in this setting, on road or track.
Of course, the twin-turbocharged V8 engine deserves a special mention. It's the same as used in the C 63 Saloon, based on the Mercedes-AMG GT sports car's, and it's simply fantastic, with no discernible turbo lag or flat spot in its delivery anywhere in the rev range. As you'd hope, it also sounds sublime - menacing, purposeful and downright evocative. Just make sure you go for the 'Performance' exhaust option, as it allows the V8's voice to truly come to the fore, meaning you'll change up and down the excellent seven-speed dual-clutch transmission just for the sake of it.
What you get for your Money:
The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupé will cost from €118,860.00, which puts it head-to-head with the BMW M4 Coupé. The standard model 'makes do' with 476hp and 650Nm, while the S produces up to 510hp and 700Nm. The latter also gains larger front brake discs, an electronically controlled limited slip rear differential (as opposed to a mechanical item), dynamic engine mounts, the additional Race mode mentioned above, larger alloy wheels and aesthetic differences inside and out.