Mercedes-AMG_C_63_S_frontIt’s a case of more for less with the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class halo car. The C 63 S AMG coupe has arrived Down Under carrying with it more than a few pleasant surprises.

This is borne out by a cut in engine capacity from that of the model it replaces. Last time the 6.2-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine was a carryover from the previous model and when fired up launched the car to 100km/h in 4.4 seconds thanks to the 336 kW on call at 6800 rpm and 600 Nm of torque at 5000 revs.

This time it’s a 4.0-litre bi-turbocharged direct injection V8 pumping out 375 kW and a massive 700 Nm. With its AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic driving the rear wheels the new model can punt the coupe from rest to 100 km/h in 3.9 seconds against the 4.4 seconds of the superseded model.

With Eco stop / start engine management, combined urban / highway fuel consumption is a claimed 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres, while producing 202 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre for a Euro 6 emissions rating.

On a media launch drive in Gippsland, Victoria, the test vehicle recorded up to 13.7 litres per 100 kilometres on a mix of suburban, highway and country-road going, so the 8.7 looks pretty optimistic.


In musical terms, the bi-turbo V8 produced a two-note samba through its AMG performance exhaust. At idle the sound was characteristic of the genre, while when let loose to run free, a powerful rasp was emitted from the ‘beast’, punctuated with a blat on downshifts, the last most satisfying to the senses.

The car responded instantly to accelerator pedal pressure, in fact spinning the wheels on occasion. The coupe swooped on fast bends in the twisting hilly, often damp terrain, performing in a surefooted manner, almost easy-going at times.

The C 63 S AMG coupe’s driving character can be switched into one of four zones. ‘Comfort’ has the car setting off in second gear, shifting up early to save fuel and minimise engine noise.

‘Sport’ triggers a more receptive accelerator response, changes, around 25 per cent quicker come at higher revs, while ‘Sport+’ increases them further.

‘Manual’ maintains a selected gear until directed to change by the driver, who can take a lead from the instrument indicator which advises when to swap cogs.


Alternatively, ‘Race’ can be engaged. With the gas pedal flat to the floor, the system automatically sets the optimum launch gear and continues to dial up faultless traction all the way to the top speed.

The range-topping coupe rolls on AMG 19/20-inch (front/rear) alloy wheels, is fitted with AMG Ride-Control sports suspension and AMG speed-sensitive sports steering. The driver also has the advantage of a head-up display and LED Intelligent Light System with adaptive high-beam assist plus, active light function, motorway mode, cornering light and enhanced fog light function.

Other AMG add-ons include electronic rear axle differential lock, high-performance composite braking system with red calipers, and an anti-theft alarm with tow-away protection and interior surveillance system.

Surprisingly, up to now the C 63 AMG has persisted with a cumbersome foot-operated parking brake. At last it has taken the plunge with an electronic one operated at the touch of a fingertip.

Up to four grown-ups are able to settle in to sports-style seats front and back, which provide great support during spirited driving. However, accessing the rear seats provides the usual trauma of a two-door coupe and getting out is not much fun either.

Headroom at the front is adequate for an average-size adult; not so in the rear where the car’s sleek profile has the roof dipping to head-touching levels. Surprisingly the boot is deep and wide, and the capacity can be extended by folding flat the backs of the rear seats.

It’s the luxury of Nappa leather upholstery all round and a power-sliding panoramic sunroof includes a retractable shade, opening up the cabin to welcome winter sunlight on the media launch.

Black Nappa leather extends to the AMG performance steering wheel where it is teamed with Dinamica microfibre. An AMG specific analogue clock adds a final touch of prestige.

Standard is Comand Online with 21.3cm TFT colour display, HDD navigation with RDS-TMC, touchpad, single disc CD/DVD player, 10GB music register, Bluetooth interface and Linguatronic voice activation and internet access.

Also included is Burmester surround sound with 13 speakers, nine-channel DSP amplifier and 590-Watt output.

Already the Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific has received critical acclaim for the new C-Class by Good Design Australia, regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious and coveted design prizes, for outstanding product design and innovation. The judges said that visually, the new C-Class represented a bold departure from its predecessor. Its design was muscular and full of character, at the same time showcasing its high-tech nature in a purist and exciting way.

It seems the Mercedes-Benz C 63 S AMG coupe continues to keep on setting high-performance prestige car trends without excessive price rises – $162,400 compared to $154,800 of the previous model.

The Mercedes-Benz C 63 S AMG coupe goes on sale from July 8. There is a waiting list.


Mercedes-Benz C 200 coupe: $65,900
Mercedes-Benz C 250 d coupe: $74,900
Mercedes-Benz C 300 coupe: $83,400
Mercedes-Benz C 63 S AMG coupe: $162,400
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mercedes-Benz dealer for drive-away prices.




CAPTION: Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night at Sydney Dragway.

As the finishing line at the Western Sydney International Dragway flashed under the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Night at just over 100 miles per hour I thought to myself, “today’s cars are getting really boring”.

I carried out hundreds of acceleration tests in the 1980s and early ‘90s when technical editor at Modern Motor magazine. Mostly on the main straight at the now defunct Oran Park Raceway, but sometimes in not so legitimate areas. No further comments on that latter statement!

Back then you had to juggle engine revs, clutch takeup and handbrake to get off the line at maximum efficiency without too much wheelspin or creating axle tramp or excessive torque steer.

That was followed by lightning fast gearchanges, having previously worked out whether these should be at the redline, a little lower, or possibly a bit higher if the valves don’t start to bounce.

The acceleration run over you had to get onto the brakes very hard as there wasn’t a lot of space to spare before the straight bits at Oran Park ran out. But not brake so hard that wheels locked up and all steering was lost.

Nowadays you push buttons to tell the computer what you want to do. Put one foot on the brake pedal, the other on the accelerator. Then take your foot off the brake pedal – no skill required.

Sydney International Dragway has plenty of runoff area so there was no urgency in slowing down. But if I had needed to brake hard all that would have been required was slam the brake pedal and rely on the Jeep’s computer to make the ABS system do its thing, if I didn’t push the pedal hard enough the computer would have sensed this and brought on full emergency braking – no skill required.

Okay, so I’m approaching the grumpy-old-man stage of life, but it really was much more fun back before computers took control of cars and drivers really had to think, feel and adapt their driving on the fly.

Then again, no one is required to be able to drive a car correctly to get a licence in Australia, and driver inattention is getting worse by the day, so I guess having the car saving their bacon is a good thing.

Your comments please:

About Alistair Kennedy

Alistair Kennedy is Automotive News Service and Marque Publishing's business manager and the company's jack-of-all-trades. An accountant by profession, he designs the Marque range of motoring book titles, operates the company's motoring bookshop on the NSW Central Coast and the associated web site, as well as its huge digital and hard copy database. Whenever we can escape from the office he does so to cover new vehicle releases and contributes news stories. Alistair's other interests include cricket and family history on which he has written three books.
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