Benz boomer

The hot C63 can make dreams come true, writes Gra­ham Smith

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

MOST mo­torists seek re­li­a­bil­ity and econ­omy from their cars, but oth­ers put per­for­mance above all else.

For them cars such as the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG de­liver the ul­ti­mate driv­ing thrill.

They are the driv­ers who take per­for­mance to pre­vi­ously un­dreamt-of places.

The sad re­al­ity for most who lust af­ter a true high-per­for­mance car, like the C63 with its $126,000 price tag, is that they’re well be­yond the reach of all but the very well-heeled.

Ev­ery­one else can only look on and dream, at least un­til the price drops to a point where they can af­ford to turn the dream into a re­al­ity with a sec­ond­hand ex­am­ple.

Model watch

THE Mercedes-Benz C63 rewrote the book on per­for­mance, lift­ing the bar even higher than its awe­some ri­vals from BMW and Audi.

The pocket rocket race can be traced back to the hum­ble Minis, Corti­nas and Es­corts of the 1960s, but it re­ally started in earnest when the Ger­mans got in on the act in the 1980s.

It was back then that BMW launched the first M3, a hot de­riv­a­tive of the 3-Se­ries. Not to be out­done Mercedes-Benz an­swered with a hot AMG-tweaked C-Class, and the race be­tween the Ger­man car­mak­ers was well and truly on.

Al­most 30 years later and the race is hot­ter than ever, with each com­pany quick to counter any move its ri­vals make.

The C63 an­swered BMW’s move to slot a V8 into the M3 and raised the per­for­mance bar even higher with its own V8 that boasted 336kW at 6800 revs and 600 Nm at 5000 revs.

It was enough to have it do­ing 100km/h only 4.5 sec­onds from rest, which put it in elite com­pany with cars such as the Porsche 911.

Like all AMG mod­els the C63 starts with a mod­est reg­u­lar pro­duc­tion model, in this case the com­pact C-Class sedan and wagon. It then gets a much hot­ter heart, a thump­ing great hand-built 6.2-litre dou­ble over­head camshaft V8 en­gine.

But though the V8 gave it grunt, the C63 was much more than power — it had the chas­sis to back it up.

If there was a crit­i­cism of pre­vi­ous C-Class AMG cars it was that they weren’t very en­gag­ing for those who wanted to be fully in­volved in the driv­ing. That was coun­tered in the C63 with the seven-speed auto trans- mis­sion with shift pad­dles un­der the steer­ing wheel that gave the driver more con­trol than in pre­vi­ous mod­els, and sharper chas­sis tun­ing.

It also came with a com­pre­hen­sive ar­ray of elec­tronic de­vices to monitor and con­trol the car, in­clud­ing elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, trac­tion con­trol, ABS anti-lock brakes with op­ti­mum brake force dis­tri­bu­tion, emer­gency brake as­sist and the like.

While these sys­tems help keep the boom­ing Benz on the straight and nar­row the driver could, if they

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