Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG 2008 Review

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As a child I was fascinated by dinosaurs. I had plastic models and lots of books. It’s amazing that after 25 years I can still vividly remember specific pictures — the Allosaurus standing over a half-eaten sauropod carcass, and the Ankylosaurus defending itself against a marauding pack of theropods.

What reminded me of this was the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG’s muscular and predatory stance. The bonnet’s two power bulges are like ossicones on the skull of a prehistoric carnivore. It’s a refined, intelligent and lithe meat-eater that will make short work of the lumbering herbivores that cake our roads. In fact, this Merc is so rapid that you could drive through a whole geological era in about 25 minutes.

The pumped-up bodywork differentiates the C63 AMG from lesser models. Starting at the rear, it’s not the prettiest, but it does have quad AMG sports exhausts that sit astride a three-finned diffuser-style rear apron. Move a little around to the side and you begin to get a peek at the flared front wheel arches that terminate the bold, forward-sloping waistline crease. These wheel arches form a neat circumference for the 18-inch AMG wheels, low profile tyres and gigantic 360x36mm cross-drilled brake discs at the front (rears are 330x26mm). Six pistons grip the discs at the front, and four at the rear.

There may be a smattering of 6.3 badges around the car (the front fenders, boot lid, and on the rev counter), but this car’s heart is a 6.2-litre AMG-built 336kW powerhouse featuring a build plate by the engineer that assembled it, and a staggering 600Nm of torque — enough to strap the continents together and reform Pangaea.

As you would expect on a car of this calibre, everything is adjustable electronically, including the steering wheel’s position both telescopically, and up and down. The seats have at least several hundred thousand ways of adjusting them, including two lumbar supports and adjustable lateral support. And you can have the C63 AMG remember up to three seating positions. These AMG buckets held my latissimus dorsii firmly, making me feel more involved and integrated.

Time to press the big silver start button and see what apocalyptic fury erupts from under the power bulges. Roaring into life the AMG mill immediately reminds you why its 6.2 litres of V8 strikes fear into the crankcases of lesser engines. Select your desired gearbox mode from Comfort, Sport or Manual (whereby you’d use the paddles or gear lever to change the seven-speed gearbox), and give chase.

It’s like being hit from behind by a charging Stegosaur, the roar builds until the gearbox almost seamlessly changes up. You’re at the legal speed limit in 4.5 seconds, but you just want to carry on going and test how far around the 320kph speedometer that needle will go.

Brake heavily and the C63 downshifts while electronically blipping the throttle to match the revs — it sounds great, and it works. Turn into the corner and it bites hard. The C63 changes direction like a hungry Velociraptor who has set his sights on a nimble morsel that’s hell-bent on escaping.

The steering is a bit sharper than other Mercedes’. I think it could have been even sharper, but it is a good compromise that allows relaxed cruising, or confidence when pressing-on.

If I was to build a C64 AMG, the changes would be minor. Wider wheels at the back would prevent the traction control light from blinking while you’re in third. There would be a glove box that would fit more than just a glove. And, the transmission tunnel wouldn’t get unbearably hot while you have the heater activated.

So, if I had the spare cash, I think I would seriously consider buying one. This is the Mercedes that’s aimed at the younger affluent buyer. You can see the intent in the bulging wheel arches and carefully positioned vents, and it’s all backed up by the performance; the driving feel is engaging, and the interior comfort is exceptional; and the Logic7 surround sound system will challenge the interior plastics of cars parked next to you at the lights.

Externally it’s the perfect C-segment size; internally the driving position is great, but there’s a dearth of interior storage (perhaps the wealthy don’t carry ‘stuff’ around with them).

But that’s a minor quibble. Spotting a C63 AMG will be like hunting for fossils in Utah — you know they’re out there, but it’s not like they’re everywhere, and when you do find one, you might just get that rush of adrenaline. Of course, owning one is like being the T. Rex, hunting the plains and asserting your dominance in the food chain.

Click through to the next page to view the specifications of the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG.

Price: from $154,000 (as tested with optional intelligent lights pack $154,900)

What we like

  • Everything about it reminds you of why its 6.2-litre V8 is so phenomenal  (and sounds better than the 4-litre V8 in BMW’s M3)
  • Sensible proportions
  • I would buy one
  • Comand APS sat nav/Bluetooth phone system

What we don’t like

  • Transmission tunnel gets very hot when the heater is on — you can’t rest your leg against it. Mercedes is currently investigating.
  • The wealthy obviously don’t need much interior storage
  • I know I whine on about this (C220 and C320 CDI are the same), but I don’t like the dashboard plastic

Active bi-xenon headlamps

Airbags for the driver and front passenger

Aluminium trim panels on dome, doors and centre console

Anti-theft alarm system with IR interior motion sensor

Acceleration skid control (ASR)

Armrest with roller-top compartment

Electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors

Electric tilting/sliding glass sunroof

Outside temperature display

Brake Assist

ADAPTIVE BRAKE system with hill-start assist

Through-loading facility and armrest with double cup holder, load securing and 1/3:2/3  split-fold rear seat backrest

3-stage ESP®

Intelligent Light System with Hadlamp Assist

Power windows (4)

Belt tensioners and belt force limiters for the front and outer rear seats

Air-conditioned glove compartment

Black roof liner

Steering column electronically adjustable for height and reach

Lighting package

Front fog lamps

Tyre pressure loss warning system

ELCODE locking system with infrared/radio remote control

Sidebags for driver and front passenger

Bag hooks in the boot/luggage compartment

Cruise control with SPEEDTRONIC variable speed limiter

Front seats electrically adjustable for height and backrest angle with memory function

Leather selector lever

Tinted glass

Windowbags

Central locking with crash sensor

Sidebags in rear

Harman Kardon LOGIC7® surround-sound system

THERMOTRONIC comfortable automatic climate control system with three-zone air conditioning

Bluetooth connectivity

COMAND navigation, including 6-disc DVD changer and LINGUATRONIC

PRE-SAFE

KEYLESS-GO

Engine

No. of cylinders/arrangement     V8

Valves per cylinder     4

Displacement (cc)     6208

Performance

Rated output (kW/hp at rpm)[1]     336/6800

Rated torque (Nm at rpm)[1]     600/5000

Top speed (km/h)     250[2]

Acceleration 0-100 km/h (s)     4.5

CO2/Fuel

Fuel tank capacity (l)     66

Fuel consumption (combined cycle)[3]     13.4

CO2 emissions combined (g/km)[3]     319

Dimensions & Weights

Turning circle     11.75

Kerb weight (kg)     1730

Tyre size, front     235/40 R 18

Tyre size, back     255/35 R 18

Words Darren Cottingham, photos Darren Cottingham and Jessica Mills


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