Australian buyers have committed nearly $50 million on the yet-to-arrive Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG, showing our love of performance cars is still accelerating, despite gloomy predictions about recession.
Australia is the world leader in per-capita sales of AMG-badged Benzes with more than 10,000 vehicles sold here. The imminent arrival of the latest model (it is officially on sale in August) has encouraged more than 300 intending owners to put deposits down on the $155,000 car.
The best annual sales result for the C63 in Australia is 750 and Mercedes tips the new model could beat that.
The iconic 6.2-litre V8 has been replaced by a twin-turbo 4.0-litre engine. As is typical of any new engine, power is up and fuel use is down — by 30 per cent in this case, though most buyers will never see the claimed 8.2L/100km.
BMW and Audi's performance models are both over-represented on the sales charts. Land Rover got in on the act with this week's launch of the 405kW Range Rover Sport SVR.
At a more affordable level, V8s account for 30 per cent of all Commodore sales and Ford's Falcon XR8 flagship has been so popular the company has more than doubled production to 2800.
Australians' love of performance cars shows no sign of abating. Given the extra safety equipment and improved brakes and suspension in these models, that's good news for buyers.