Two things continued to run through my mind while I was in possession of the Mercedes AMG C 63 S. ‘Is this the most intimidating car I’ve ever driven’ and ‘I can’t believe I missed the AMG drive day at Phillip Island’.
Now that first thought might sound daft considering some of the cars we’ve featured on TVG but the AMG C 63 S took my breath away more times than it should have, and I think that’s what impressed (scared the shit out of) me the most. You see the blissfully understated, perhaps too understated, top of the range C-Class sedan, is a like a Great White lurking in the depths before breaching three metres out of the water after stunning its prey with ungodly force.
When the C 63 S bites, it’s devastating.
Can a car have too much power? It’s a thought that crossed my mind often while driving the AMG C 63 S, and a thought I hadn’t pondered since driving a CLK 63 Black Series – a car that struggled to find traction going downhill.
The car only becomes intimidating once you know what it’s capable of. Unfortunately, on public roads, those capabilities are hindered greatly, hence my devastation at missing the track day and experiencing the AMG C 63 S to its actual ability. Still, it’s a credit to the engineers at AMG that following a handful of trips out West, some city driving, and a spray along the Old Pacific Highway, I could sense just how raucous the C 63 S was.
What it does so well is balance subtlety and savageness. To your average driver, it’s just another Mercedes-Benz. But those who know, know, and as you drive past and they admire, you know that they know. Adjust the exhaust, suspension, steering and transmission settings to their most passive mode, and you can blend into the traffic like Thomas Crown in a bowler hat. But what makes this car so exciting, is how quickly you can go from placid to utterly preposterous.
You’d need the iron willpower of a 17-year-old virgin waiting until his first girlfriend was ‘ready’ to live with this car. It’s near impossible to contain yourself. A touch of the accelerator here, a little flick of the rear there. Every empty road is another aching opportunity to mash the throttle and stretch your grin as 375kW twin turbo V8 goes to work. Dial it in for performance driving, and it becomes even more dreamy, the steering and ride firm up, the transmission sharpens, and the soundtrack is euphonious. The absence of hand or foot brake and location of the shifter on the steering column allows the cabins finer details to take centre stage. The IWC clock and AMG lettering in the centre of the dash are lovely touches.
In the driver’s seat, the Alcantara steering wheel is unusually thick, but I found myself rather fond of its girth. Up front, the seats are more race focused than comfort or luxury (albeit a perfect blend) and set the scene perfectly for a leisurely trip around town or the track when bolstered in. There’s adequate legroom in the back and the boot – we loaded the car with two days worth of lighting and camera kit without a moment of fear it wouldn’t go in.
The tech, I found both intuitive and highly frustrating. I love that it remembered my settings for the vehicle when I climbed back in, including leaving off the wretched start-stop function, however, I faced Bluetooth woes all week. It baffles me this is still such an oversight for manufacturers. I want to get in and press media and continue to play music from my Spotify account. When someone calls and I hang up, I want the music to keep playing as it was before – having to reach for my phone and press play again makes the whole function redundant. Luckily the AMG C 63 S is a joy to listen without music.
At the end of the day, it’s just a fascinating piece of kit. A four door, C Class Sedan with enough room to fit five adult men, all of whom may evacuate their trousers with the right application of throttle. What will drive so many wives mad, and justify so many purchases in Australia, is just how practical the AMG C 63 S is – and at $154k it’s also cheaper than the outgoing model.
It appears AMG have fine tuned their formula to the tee. A model that’s offered in a coupe, sedan and shooting brake variant that combines scintillating performance and everyday usability, at a price point that makes you wonder why you’d bother stepping into the supercar category. Buy it.