January 11, 2013
Test Drive: 2013 Audi RS 5
DBDR: 2012 Cadillac CTS-V coupe
Test Drive: 2013 Ford Mustang Boss 302
Test Drive: 2008 BMW M3 Coupe
Comparison Test: Compact Luxury Sedans
Review and Photos by Gerry Frechette
2013 MERCEDES-BENZ C63 AMG COUPE
In the face of all the eco-cars, trucks, SUVs, and other vehicles that could be described using terms like useful or socially conscious, have you noticed that almost every major manufacturer (at least the European and American ones) still has at least one V8-powered sport coupe in its lineup, essentially matching the muscle car era from over 40 years ago?
Yes, speed and image still sell, and let’s hope for a long time to come. We can still buy four-door sedans and two-seat roadsters with big power and capabilities to match, but it is the sport coupe that might best combine the sportier style of a two-door body, with some semblance of utility thanks to its back seat and trunk.
Not even counting the higher-end prestige-level of cars, we can think of several coupes with V8s, and one of them is the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Now, we don’t have to get into too much detail here about AMG, the famous performance arm of Mercedes that has given its magic touch to so many of its models over the years. Suffice to say, the C63 lives up to the tradition of AMG.
2013 MERCEDES-BENZ C63 AMG COUPE. Click image to enlarge
The C-Series Coupe is somewhere in between compact and mid-size, so it isn’t all that big a car, but AMG has managed to cram the now-familiar normally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 (yes, 6.2 despite the 63 in the name, a nod to tradition) we have sampled in several other Benzes into the snug engine bay, and the result is a rather brutish coupe. There are some similar cars out there with 500, even 600, horsepower, but the mid-400 horsepower range seems to be the sweet spot for combining everyday driving manners and some degree of efficiency, along with the ability to provide plenty of entertainment to the driver. To many, just booting it from rest to 100 km/h in the four-second range, and negotiating one’s favourite on-ramp on the limit, is plenty of fun.
This, the C63 will do all day, with 451 horsepower at 6,500 rpm (redline is an amazing 7,200 rpm) and 443 lb-ft of peak torque at 5,000 rpm; we’ve always thought German horses are pretty big ones, so the C63 will not disappoint many in its power. Other reviews put the quarter-mile time in the mid 12-second range, which is serious acceleration for nearly two tons of car. Believe me, the desire to mat the throttle pedal is constant.
Backing up this sweet engine is the new AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed sport automatic transmission, with a new wet clutch pack in place of the traditional torque converter. It provides manual-style performance, with blipped-throttle downshifts and right-now any-shifts via the paddle shifters, but don’t look for a full manual transmission, which most of its competitors offer. We are told that no AMG street car has ever had one. There is a control dial on the centre console for controlled Efficiency, Sport, Sport +, and Manual shift modes. Obviously, the power goes out through the rear wheels only, and no matter which shift mode is chosen, it goes out with smooth authority.
The rotating parts at the four corners are fully up to coping with the power, led by massive brake discs clamped by six-piston calipers in front and four pistons in the rear. Standard tires are 18-inch summer performance units, larger in the rear (255/35R18) than the front (235/40R18), but multi-spoke 19s (that look better, in our opinion) are also available, for $1,200.
The Electronic Stability Program can be switched Off (for lurid, smoky powerslides; we can’t think of any other reason) or put on Sport (for controlled oversteer), but most drivers should just leave it On in most situations, and enjoy the full control this car delivers in even the most enthusiastic driving. Of course, we don’t advocate that on public roads, but like many such cars, you’ll want to seek out chances to get it into safe and controlled environments to explore its limits. The C63 should be able to handle the rigours of a track day with its heavy-duty mechanical components. While its handling and cornering prowess is impressive, ride comfort is towards the firm side. For those looking for a civilized cruiser, there is the C350.