Driven: 2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe

Written by Lee Bailie on .

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A week spent hurtling around in a Mercedes-AMG C 63 S coupe is an experience not easily forgotten – the car really makes an impression.

Everything about it is aggressive, from its flared haunches that house 19-inch AMG Twin 5-spoke wheels and red-lettered AMG brake calipers, to its squat stance and blacked-out trim pieces that announce to all who enter that this car is a million miles away from a garden variety C-Class coupe.

Aesthetically, the C 63 S coupe is a handsome car from any angle. Its look has a hint of menace, but that’s standard AMG. Mercedes knows the performance car game well enough to realize that a trackable car must be profoundly different from its vanilla relatives, so there's no such thing as having too much AMG.

As a result, the front air intakes and rear diffuser can’t really be considered too big, nor can there be too much black, or too many satin nickel trim bits and AMG badges, which pop up all over the place. The same crank-it-up-to-11 mentality is also applied under the hood, which I will get to shortly.

Inside, the C 63 S coupe is contemporary Mercedes. It’s a bit dark and there’s too much hard, piano-black plastic for my taste, but the knobs and switches look and feel nice and are easy to use. The metallic door trim inserts and speaker covers are also tasteful touches, and I really like the grippy sport seats and the steering wheel, which features a mix of leather and Mercedes’ Artico suede-like material.

The infotainment system is also standard Benz, which means a centre console-mounted mouse-like track pad with a wheel underneath that toggles the various menu options and zooms the beautifully rendered 8.4-inch COMAND navigation screen in and out. It can be a bit distracting to look away from the road to fiddle with the radio station or adjust the zoom on the nav, but with time it becomes more intuitive. I’d recommend first familiarizing yourself with it while the car is parked, however.

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These are mere details, of course. The aesthetics, while important, are not reason enough to drop almost $100K on a gussied-up C-Class coupe.

No, you buy a C 63 S coupe for how it performs, and from a sheer numbers perspective this thing is a rocket, and it all starts under the hood.

The powerplant, a hand-built 4.0-litre biturbo V8, barks loudly at the slightest provocation – such as pushing the start button – and makes a hell of a racket at all speeds (even when backing up) and in all driving modes as it goes about its business.

But this is what AMG engineers want for its standard-bearer engine, which is at the core of the brand’s heaviest hitters, including the GT coupe / roadster family and the forthcoming 2018 E 63 sedan and wagon.

In C 63 S form, it makes 503 horsepower and staggering 516 lb-ft. of torque (with peak output beginning at just 1,750 rpm) for both coupe and sedan variants, and let me just say that given how aggressive AMG engineers have made these cars, public roads can barely contain them. Putting this considerable power to the ground is AMG’s 7-speed SPEEDSHIFT Multi-Clutch automatic transmission, which drives the rear wheels.

In short, the C 63 S coupe looks like a fast car and it is. It has a 0-100 km/h time of 3.9 seconds, and its top speed has been estimated at 290 km/h, and yes, it is electronically limited. How fast could it go ungoverned? I don't know, but you can use your imagination.

At any rate, buttons on the centre console firm or soften suspension damping and crank up or dial back the loudness of the exhaust (there is no real quiet setting, in case you’re wondering), and a metallic switch toggles between different driving modes, which adjust steering effort and numb or sharpen throttle response and adjust transmission shift points depending on the setting. A race mode is available, but I didn't use it – sport+ is more than spicy enough for normal driving situations.

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Cobbled together from my notes and my memory are the following impressions.

Even in its most docile driving mode (comfort), the stiff-riding, heavy-steering, hair-trigger C 63 S is practically begging at every turn to be taken post haste to the nearest closed course (preferably, one with at least a couple of long straights) where it can be let out if its cage to scream at the top of its lungs, to both the delight of the driver and the engineers at AMG HQ in Affalterbach, Germany, who fully approve of track-induced driving nirvana.

Having been delighted with the C 63 S sedan when I drove it on track during its 2015 press launch, and somewhat less enthused about its comportment on public roads, I have similar feelings about its coupe stablemate. I did not drive the coupe on track, but my time with it in normal driving situations reminded me of the sedan.

That isn't to say it's lacking as a daily driver, but its aggressive, always flexing, let ‘er rip personality can become a bit fatiguing, as it takes some effort to corral one’s desire to see how fast n’ loud this sucker can really get. These aren’t the instincts you want to tap into if you’re interested in keeping your driver’s license in good standing.

I suppose this is my way of saying that the C 63 S coupe lives for the track and merely tolerates the daily grind on congested public roads, where it snorts and crackles with annoyance at not being able to cut loose and blast through traffic in full throat.

Let me sum it up this way – the C 63 S coupe can get you back and forth to work just fine, but the track is where it will really move you.

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SPECIFICATIONS2017 Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe

BASE PRICE / AS TESTED: $85,800 / $96,490 (before taxes)
ENGINE:
4.0L biturbo V8
HORSEPOWER:
503 hp @ 5,500 – 6,250 rpm
TORQUE: 
516 lb-ft. @ 1,750 – 4,500 rpm
CURB WEIGHT:
1,800 kg
CONFIGURATION:
front engine, rear-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (L/100 KM - CITY / HWY. / COMB.):
13.8 / 10.1 / 12.1
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM):
48 / 80,000
ALTERNATIVES:
Audi RS 5, BMW M4, Jaguar F-Type R, Lexus RC F

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Photography by Lee Bailie

Options

Intelligent Drive Package ($2,700)
- Distronic Plus with steering assist
- Pre-Safe Plus for rear-end collision
- BAS Plus with Cross-Traffic Assist
- Active Blind Spot Assist
- Active Lane Keeping Assist
- Pre-Safe Brake (autonomous emergency braking)

Premium Package ($4,800)
- Easy-Pack Power Trunk Closer
- Hands-Free Access
- COMAND Online Navigation w/ MB Apps
- Parktronic w/ Active Parking Assist
- Burmeister Surround Sound System
- Keyless-GO
- DVD drive

AMG Night Package ($1,000)
- gloss black front splitter, fascia, grille, side skirts and wing mirrors

Accessories and / or Stand Alone Options

Diamond White Metallic paint ($1,600)
360-degree camera ($590)

Total – $10,690

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