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Mercedes-Benz Review Roundup Part One: The Mercedes C63 AMG
Posted October 28, 2008 At 8:55 AM CST by T. Philips
I have a confession to make: over the past couple weeks, we've gotten a little behind on our Mercedes review coverage. So much so that right now, as we speak, I have roughly thirteen different Mercedes reviews awaiting their prime time debut on one of eMercedesBenz' infamous Review Roundup installments. While I could attempt to cram each and every one into a single post, creating the biggest, most comprehensive Review Roundup ever, I instead will take a far more user-friendly approach, dividing the Mercedes reviews up into four and five block segments and bringing them to you throughout the day.
First up I thought I'd start with a model that needs no introduction – the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG – with a grand total of four different publications weighing in on the consummately-powered sedan. Three are actual written reviews, and the fourth is a video, but all serve to highlight in greater depth what exactly you can expect from the greatest C-Class ever produced.
So sit go grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax, because today, we've got more Mercedes review goodness than you ever thought possible.
"Meet the car money can't buy, at least not for the recommended retail price. The waiting list stretches well into next year. If you want one of these today you'll need to find an automotive scalper, someone who got in the queue early and is now trying to sell the car at a handsome profit. It is called the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG and it's what happens when the German maker's regular mid-sized sedan goes on a diet of steroids. In this case, however, it has swallowed the whole bottle at once.
At the heart of the matter is a massive 6.2-litre V8. It fills the space usually occupied by a modest four-cylinder engine. There is barely enough room under the bonnet to fit the plaque that bears the name of the engine builder.
It's a tight squeeze but the result is truly monstrous performance: 0 to lose-your-licence in 4.5 seconds. It's quicker than a Porsche, which is all the more remarkable when you consider it's heavier than a Ford Falcon.
The C63 is so quick in a straight line you could sell tickets for joyrides. The only thing missing from the experience would be fairy floss. V8s don't usually rev high but the C63's engine is a screamer with a broad spread of power that pulls the car harder as the revs rise. Most engines tend to suffer asthma attacks at their peak but the C63 feels as if it has no limit. It is truly astounding performance.
The C63 is an impressive car but, alas, it's not perfect. It has power to burn and the way the C63 handles corners has improved greatly. The seven-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator most of the time but it prefers fast acceleration rather than varying speeds in commuter driving. When it's not in a hurry it tends to lose track of which gear it ought to be in. Over time you learn how to finesse it but it shouldn't be this difficult. If you're really bothered, however, you can select gears manually via levers on the steering wheel.
Then there is the suspension. Earlier AMG models went like a missile in a straight line and tended to turn into marshmallow in corners. Aware of the criticism, with each new model Mercedes engineers have put more effort into helping its cars become more sure-footed on winding roads.
The C63 is part of the new breed but, sadly, what the car maker has gained in cornering prowess it has lost in comfort over bumps. To make the C63 stable in corners Mercedes has made the suspension uncomfortably harsh in daily driving over what should be mild bumps.
This is odd because Mercedes has long delivered a luxurious ride in its performance cars. Indeed, Mercedes in the past has defended its decision to favour comfort over cornering. In its attempt to swing the other way we suspect it has swung a little too far. The above reasons are why this is a 41/2 star car, narrowly missing out on a perfect five."
Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG(via cnet)
Reviewer's rating: 1st out of 2
"Given its model history, we all knew the 2008 BMW M3 would be an impressive car, and it didn't let us down. It got even better when we reviewed it with the dual clutch transmission (DCT), and although the retractable hardtop might hurt performance a little, it let us enjoy sunny days and hear the engine better. But the 2009 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG took us by surprise. Here was a car that seemed just as fun to drive as the M3, albeit with a radically different power layout. The M3's 4-liter engine gets trumped by the C63's 6.2 liters, yet the C63 also brings an automatic transmission to the contest. Given that both of these cars were a blast to drive, our judges might have a tough time determining a winner."
Wayne's review of the Mercedes C63 AMG's design:
"The C63 seems more arrowlike than the M3, with a hood that drops down more at the front. I also like the twin bumps in the hood, the left one working like a gunsight for the driver to aim at the road. The BMW is a burly machine, with a hood bulge that hints at power. And while I like the classic grille and fender vents, the sides are bland."
Antuan's review of the Mercedes C63 AMG's performance:
"The BMW has exactly the right amount of power to elicit ear-to-ear grins, but not so much that the vehicle feels unbalanced. The M3's suspension is the reference against which all luxury sports cars should be judged. The C63 is an absolute torque monster, which makes it more fun to drive at low speeds. Handling is slightly less precise than that of the M3, but the Merc makes up with loads of grip, tons of power, and the sexiest V-8 growl I've ever heard."
"We are bracing ourselves for the howls of BMW fans. Hey, we like Bimmers, too, but all things taken into account, the C63 won out. In most rounds, the C63 scraped by the M3 just a little, gaining precious ground for cabin tech features, exterior looks, and price. For all-around performance, the cars tied--the C63 boosted by its bigger engine, the M3 helped by its DCT. After BMW updates its cabin tech and electronics interface next year, the M3 will probably fare better in a rematch."
"The following is not something that would normally cross your mind when you drive an ‘ordinary’ C63 AMG... “I know what this car could do with – a Performance Pack. The handling’s far too wallowy, and I can’t stand the fact it doesn’t get a limited-slip diff.”
But if you were in the 0.1 percentile of Mercedes C63 owners who thought like that, Merc has created the answer for you. The performance pack gives you a setof ceramic front brakes, an AMG Performance steering wheel with leather and Alcantara, a limited-slip diff and Performance suspension. There aren’t any power upgrades, but – let’s be honest here – it didn’t really need any of those.
And neither does it really need the other alterations. If you’re going to use your C63 regularly on track days, then yes, the LSD makes sense. It’ll give you more control. But, on the road, you’ll almost certainly never notice the difference. You’re just not pushing the boundaries enough, or you shouldn’t be, anyway.
And the AMG Performance suspension has killed the ride quality. The normal C63 is hardly the last word in comfort, but this new suspension has even less give. Driving hard over our B-roads actually becomes quite tricky, because the car is moving around so much underneath you.
Not that this turns the AMG into a bad car. It’s just I’d rather spend my £3,210 elsewhere."