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