C63 AMG COUPE
IS ON PAPER VERY little that anyone could quibble about regarding
this new AMG Mercedes coupe. Not even the price which, at £56,665, is less than Audi charges for its impressive but flawed RS5 rival. True, a BMW M3 is cheaper still, but it is now old and, whisper it not one of the great M cars even when it was new.
The Mercedes proposition is simple: make a smart coupe out of the C-class to replace the slow-selling CLC-class coupe and stuff the 6.2-litre V8 from its SLS supercar under its bonnet. Actually the motor is substantially detuned from its 571bhp SLS spec, but it’ll still dispatch any 911 this side of a Turbo with a twitch of the toe. The AMG boys have judged the chassis well, too. It’s always difficult with cars like this: the standard BMW M3 is quite soft and comfortable, but when you push it it can become distinctly wayward. By contrast the RS5 is the most fun front-engined Audi since the Quarto, but its ride quality makes you fear for the integrity of your dental work. Mercedes has found the balance, blending an acceptable ride with responsive and neutral
handling. I was taken around a track by DTM racer Susie Stoddart and asked her to go, not as fast as she could, but as sideways. And I can vouch for the fact that it will drift until it’s worn holes in the tyres. But there is still something missing, and it’s not hard to work out what. AMG has recently rolled out an all-new engine, a 5.5-litre twin turbo motor. And while I would almost always back normal aspiration against forced
induction, here I must make an exception. The new engine, currently only available In the big CL and CLS coupes, is so responsive to the throttle, so explosively powerful at anything about idle, and so thunderously evocative to listen to, it makes even the 6.2 seem a little lame. I know it’s a ridiculous thing to say about a car that can hit 62mph in 4.3sec, but this is merely a very capable, competitive machine. With the new motor it could be a landmark.
The good news is that the C-class is next in line to receive the ultra-sporting Black Series treatment and I’d bet plenty it will come with the new engine installed. It should be here by the end of the year.