By Ewan Kennedy
AUSTRALIANS make no bones about the fact that they love to drive, and if their budgets are up to it many will go for the high-performance models in any range.
We are the biggest buyers of Mercedes-AMG models in the world when taken as a percentage of all Mercedes-Benz sales.
We have just spent a very enjoyable week in a Mercedes-AMG C 63 S sedan, just the thing for a family man or woman in a hurry.
There’s no visual doubt this is the ultra-sports version of the Mercedes C-Class model range.
A major redesign of the front of the sedan sees a 60 mm longer aluminium bonnet with twin power domes.
The frontal section has large air inlets and aerodynamic flics. There’s also a low splitter to reduce front-axle lift at speed.
The C 63 AMG coupe has a wider track, by 64 millimetres at the front and 66 at the rear. Larger wheel arches are filled by wider tyres (255 millimetre front, 285 rear).
Mercedes-AMG C 63 S has Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, digital TV and a panoramic glass sliding sunroof. The latter had seriously dark glass that worked brilliant against the silver paint of our test car.
The central tablet-type infotainment screen is large and easy to use.
It gives access to the Mercedes Comand system and the quality of sound from the audio system is impressive.
DAB+ radio, as is sometimes the way, can be a bit hit and miss but when you do get a full signal it’s well worth listening to your favourite channels.
Gone are the naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 engines of previous AMG cars we have known and loved, replaced by a 4.0-litre V8 bi-turbo unit producing 375 kW of power and a wild 700 Nm of torque. It drives through a semi-race seven-speed dual-clutch G-Tronic Plus gearbox.
Active safety features on a car like this mean it will do everything it can to save you from your own mistakes. Passive safety items include a full suite of items including nine airbags.
To really get the best from an AMG, even if you’ve no plans to go onto a track, we suggest taking part in on of the “Mercedes-Benz Driving Events” programs.
Intelligently, there are even courses for young drivers, including those still on P-plates.
We can all remember our younger days when we felt we knew everything about everything, if you want to help your teenagers to stay out of trouble on the road these courses are an excellent investment.
The front sports seats support very well without being overly aggressive in their bolsters to the extent getting in and out is difficult. The rear seats are neatly trimmed in the same sporting manner as the front units.
Rear headroom may prove marginal for tall passengers due to the sunroof. Legroom in the back isn’t too bad, but some compromising will be necessary at times.
Those in the back may not like the hard surfaces behind the two front seats if it rubs against their knees.
The AMG C 63 S has Ride-Control sports suspension, active dynamic engine mounts, electronic rear axle locking differential and a performance exhaust system.
The sound and fury in the super-sports sedan is lovely when you have a chance to drive it hard in safe conditions.
The engine shrieks under full-throttle acceleration, spits on fast downchange and burbles in a satisfying way even when driving at low speeds in normal day-to-day driving.
The brakes haul off speed hard and during our road driving we never came even remotely close to their limits.
However, our previous track testing at Eastern Creek put the brakes under some strain. If you do intend to drive in controlled high-speed areas it might we worth specifying the optional composite brakes.
Comfort is compromised at times, even when using the softer settings on offer. Rough roads can knock the C 63 S a bit off course at times, though it recovers quickly. Some coarse-chip surfaces set up a lot or road road. This is a sports machine and the compromises will lean in the right direction for most owners.
The new generation Mercedes-AMG C 63 S sedan is a superb sports machine that looks stunning, sounds great and is a real driver’s car.
Combine that with the ability to cart the family around by way of four doors and a reasonable back seat and it’s well worth adding to your short list of performance street sedans.
To test drive the Mercedes inquire at Mercedes Benz Berwick, 518 Princes Highway, Berwick. Phone 1300 622 622 or 8794 0900.
C 63 S 4.0-litre turbo-petrol four-door sedan: $155,615 (automatic)
C 63 S Estate 4.0-litre turbo-petrol five-door wagon: $158,115 (automatic)
C 63 S 4.0-litre turbo-petrol two-door coupe: $162,115 (automatic)