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Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG 2015 review

Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C63 S AMG at its international launch.
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I know what you're thinking. Why does the world need a Toyota Camry-size sedan with the brutally-quick performance of a Porsche? Believe it or not, Australians can't get enough of cars like this.

Perhaps it's because, for generations, we've been brought up on V8-powered rear-drive Holden and Ford sedans priced for the masses. Those masses have reached a stage in life when they can afford to treat themselves to the European cars our homegrown heroes always aspired to beat.

Perhaps it's a way of rebelling. After all, there's no limit on how quickly you can get to the speed limit.

Australia is the biggest destination in the world – per capita – for Mercedes-Benz's latest weapon against boredom.

The new generation Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, to give its full name – or simply "the C63" among those in the know – is about to tempt the well heeled even more. Mercedes-Benz has wound back the clock on price. With an RRP of $154,900 plus on-road costs it is the same price as the 1995 C-Class AMG sedan.

The original car had just 206kW of power (from a comparatively no frills six-cylinder engine) whereas the new model due in Australian showrooms in August has almost twice that.

Talk about progress: Mercedes-Benz's epic mid-size sedan now has a thumping 375kW of grunt from a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8.

The result is a blistering 0 to 100km/h time of 4.0 seconds

For the record, while the price marginally undercuts its nemesis, the BMW M3 sedan, it is not the cheapest C63 AMG ever sold locally. The previous C63 dipped to $144,365 in 2008 before climbing to $153,900 last year. But Mercedes-Benz promises to deliver more bang for your bucks.

For starters, Mercedes-Benz Australia has opted to take only the high output C63 S rather than the standard C63. (For the tech heads, the difference is an engine output of 350kW and 650Nm versus 375kW and 700Nm).

The result is a blistering 0 to 100km/h time of 4.0 seconds. Care for some perspective? That's faster than a Porsche 911. And yet this is a four-door, five-seat sedan with a big boot. Peel off the badges and you're pretty much travelling incognito.

Standard fare includes creature comforts such as a digital TV tuner, heads-up display in the windscreen, 13-speaker premium audio, a panoramic glass sunroof, heated front seats, LED headlights, the list goes on.

A wagon is also available, for $157,400 plus on-road costs, in case you need to justify this car somehow as family transport.

Behind the wheel

The new Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is a car with a split personality. Fast and quiet, or fast and loud. Think Celine Dion versus Parkway Drive (Google them).

There is a button on the gloss-black centre console with a symbol that looks like the end of a double-barrel shotgun. Turns out it's supposed to symbolise the exhaust tips. The image is entirely appropriate.

The button switches the exhaust note from "better not wake the neighbours" to "I'm driving a V8 Supercar, dammit". Unlike a growing number of performance brands, the Mercedes exhaust sound is real. There are no hidden pipes or speakers pumping artificial noise into the cabin from behind the dashboard or via the boot.

But there are five driving modes to help suit your mood at the flick of another switch. They change such elements as suspension stiffness, the abruptness of the gear-changes and the throttle response.

The choices: 'comfort', 'sport', 'sport-plus', 'race' (where you must select gears manually via the tap shifters for the seven-speed auto) and 'individual' if you want to combine the best bits from all of the above.

Translated: the driver can choose between cruise mode and then work their way up to gradual insanity. (For what it's worth, I reckon 'sport' or 'sport-plus' are the answer: they make the car feel more agile and alert without being uncomfortable over bumps or making the gear-changes too highly strung).

In any mode, however, the acceleration is almost too fast for the senses, especially when the exhaust is in quiet mode. Parts of your brain can't fathom why it's so fast without the aural fury.

The grip out of corners is astounding, you can feel the limited-slip differential work with the super soft Michelin Pilot tyres to grab every available piece of pavement and turn it into traction and, then, instantaneous forward motion.

The feedback through the steering wheel and the base of the seat are so acute it's as though you can feel every corner of the car, and every ripple and groove in the road you're travelling over.

You may find this a fanciful comment and possibly insane, but I'm going to come right out and say it. The last time I felt a car so connected to the road, so brutally quick, and yet so sure footed, it was a $690,000 Ferrari F12 Berlinetta.

If you feel I now need to make a negative comment to someone balance this outrageous claim, then reluctantly I will. The steering is good, but perhaps not quite as linear in feel as, say, a BMW M3. But it's not a flaw, more an observation. In reality, you're holding on so damn tight and having too much fun to notice any way.


Mercedes-Benz sought to create a better sports-car than the Porsche 911 by building the soon-to-be-released AMG GT coupe. But it may have just done so with a mid-size sedan

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