The beaut new Benz C-Class coupe has been to the gym. The result is another AMG muscle car that completes the company's small-car crew for Australia, giving C63 shoppers the choice between a sedan, a wagon and the good looking coupe for the first time. So, basically there are no excuses now for not owning a blitzer Benz.
Well, that is, unless you think that a minimum of $152,800 is too much for a new car, or that $154,800 is too much for the coupe, or you're worried about a 60-litre tank that chokes the cruising range of a blitzer Benz than can easily guzzle at better than 17 litres for every 100 kilometres.
The newest C63 is smooth looking and tough, has the right equipment and some nice new tweaks - including a multi-mode stability control that gives keen drivers some wiggle room - including the full update package that transformed the ordinary C-Class models a couple of months ago.
Lined up against its obvious rivals, headed by the M3 from BMW, the new thumper has the considerable advantage of an all-new body and the sort of AMG muscle that makes even the shortest trips into a fun run.
The 63 Coupe is well priced for the class and its competition. On that front it used to be overshadowed by Godzilla, the Nissan GT-R, but the bottom line on the all-wheel drive turbo monster has blown out by more than $20,000 this year to $168,800. It also edges out the M3, which comes now from $155,000 as a coupe, although the softer Audi S5 coupe - our pick was always the RS4 - comes in at $138,900.
"We haven't had an AMG coupe since the CLK. The price point that was at $200,000-plus, and this one is at $155,000," says David McCarthy of Mercedes-Benz Australia. "The whole point of C63 coupe isn't to attract M3 buyers, because they are actually different buyers and a different car. This car exists to expand the AMG business. You can see how aggressively we've priced the car."
McCarthy says the vast majority of C63s are now being ordered with the Performance Pack, which adds $14,900 to the cost but pays back with an extra 22 kiloWatts, bigger brakes, 19-inch alloys and a different steering wheel.
Still, even the cooking car is baked well with sports seats, leather trim, alloys, aircon, a punchy sound system and the AMG update work to the engine, suspension and transmission.
The newest AMG car could be the last newcomer with the 6.2-litre V8, as Benz - like BMW - is shifting to turbo power at its go-faster division. The motor in the new Coupe makes 336 kiloWatts and 420 Newton-metres, but the downside if official consumption of 12.1 litres/ 100km and CO2 emissions of 283 grams/kilometre.
The upside, thanks to the seven-speed sports auto is a 0-100km/h sprint in 4.4 seconds and the usual limited top speed of 250km/h.
Carsguide appreciates the work done on the transmission, with a variety of driver-friendly modes - including a race-start choice first seen on the AMG Gullwing - as well as improvements to the AMG-specific suspension and the brakes.
But there is a range of other upscale stuff, right down to a lane- departure warning system and a red light that glows if you're too close to the car ahead, that salutes the latest Benz technology and brings it down to the C.
The two-door Benz looks good as a basic coupe but even better with the AMG gear, right down to the subtle carbon fibre spoiler on the boot of the Performance Pack car. The guards have the been-to-the-gym look, hug down onto the big wheels, and tell the world - especially in sinister black instead of signature silver - that this Benz is not just a badgemobile.
The inside work on the average C pays off in the AMG model, particularly the new-look dash with bigger colour display. It's not as impressive as the latest M5, but it works well and so does the tweaking with the leather, good access to the back seats, and even the integration of the bazooka exhaust.
The C63 is a Mercedes-Benz and that means lots of good things, even if there is no official ANCAP five-star tick because no-one is likely to smash a $150,000 car for a few numbers.
Carsguide believes it's a five-star natural, partly because of the basic body but also thanks to a range of safety systems that includes ABS brakes, ESP stability control, a cabin full of airbags and optional equipment - most likely to be taken by most owners - that runs from blind spot warning to adaptive high beam lamps and much, much more.
Turn the key on the C63 and you get what you expect - a V8 whump from the exhaust and the smile that comes in a car that's way beyond everyday transport. This is a car with a lot to like and almost nothing to make you snarl. Yes, the small tank is a nuisance - the fuel gauge is always on the way down - and there seems to be too much tyre thump and roar at first. But it's a luxury car with great leather seats, a reasonable boot and acceptable ground clearance that can also crush you deeply into those seats and crush corners with V8 stonk and wide-tyre grip. You are always aware of the engine and what it can do.
It's fun to fiddle with the transmission and ESP settings, which can turn a pussycat into a tiger, but the basic bottom line is that the C63 will make life nicer and doesn't have to be a raging beast. It's easy to park, has good visibility, and the aircon is great. But no-one buys an AMG-mobile without wanting the fun stuff, and the punch in this compact is best-in-class stuff. It always feels like it wants to run wild.
The electronics ensure there is a safety net, but it's not a nanny or a ninny and you know it would be a real hoot on a racetrack with the super-start switch and the ESP set to give you a bit of tail-end sliding action.
It's quite nimble and easy to push through corners, yet still has the sort of overall grip that reminds you of a racing car. On the road it is a car that makes HSV and FPV cars look crude, and also puts the M3 in its place. It's not cheap, but the C63 AMG is worth every cent.
Best in class. Simple as that.
MERCEDES-BENZ C63 AMG
Price: $154,800 ($14,900 Performance Pack)
Warranty: 3 years/100,000km
Resale: 53 per cent after 3 years
Service interval: 20,000km/12 months
Safety: 5 stars (predicted)
Engine: 6.2-litre V8, 336kW/600Nm
Body: Two-door coupe
Dimensions: 4707mm (L), 1795mm (w), 1391mm (h), weight 1730kg
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Thirst: 12.1l/100km, 95RON, CO2 283g/km.
Audi RS5- compare this car
Price: from $175,300
Engine: 4.2-litre V8, 331kW/430Nm
Transmission: 7-speed S-Tronic, all-wheel drive
Body: two-door coupe
Thirst: 10.8l/100km, 98RON, CO2 252g/km
BMW M3- compare this car
Price: from $155,000
Engine: 4.0-litre V8
Transmission: 7-speed twin-clutch automated manual, rear-wheel drive
Body: two-door coupe
Thirst: 11.2l/100km, 95RON, CO2 263g/km
Nissan GT-R- compare this car
Price: from $168,800
Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo six, 390kW/612Nm
Transmission: 6-speed twin-clutch automated manual, all-wheel drive
Body: two-door coupe
Thirst: 11.9l/100km, 98RON, CO2 281g/km