Straights, curves and Benz
THE speedo in the Benz 507 twists past 200km/h — and there’s still plenty to come.
This could be the Stuart Highway north of Alice Springs, our only legally derestricted piece of open road, but it’s not.
These are the quiet suburban streets of middleclass Albert Park in Melbourne, transformed for this week only into the hottest motorsport location on the planet.
It is, without any doubt, the best place in the country to go wild in the pocket battleship called the 507. The home of the Australian Grand Prix has no speed cameras or oncoming traffic, and the thundering V8 is doing what it does best, turning petrol into big, big smiles.
Officially, my mount is the Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG Edition 507. It’s the last of the current C Series masterblasters and the last to run without turbocharging.
But the last often means the best, and that’s definitely my thinking as I strap into the car for the annual AMG hit-out at Albert Park.
There is a chaperon alongside to ensure I don’t go completely wild, or repeat the bunker-busting efforts of an overenthusiastic owner a couple of years ago, and there is still a small electronic safety net. But the car is running as hard and fast as almost anyone could handle, and it’s a joy. I only wish more people could experience cars this good in conditions this good, to learn that speed is not the demonic killer we hear about on the news.
In fact, speed is good in the AMG 507, a car that’s been tweaked even beyond the level of a regular C 63. The racer red coupe has body bits from the Black Series catalogue, and the 19-inch alloys and aero additions add plenty of impact.
The engine upgrade to 507 horsepower — that’s 373kW — means a 0-100km/h sprint in just 4.2 seconds. To experience that, pay $169,407 for a fourdoor and $172,407 for the coupe.
But money and numbers are forgotten as I honk on to the front straight at Albert Park. The pits and grandstands create a tunnel effect as I romp down to turn one and face the daunting challenge of late braking.
The car is so good that there is no drama, and it’s the same through the first few curves, then the high-speed sweep to the top of the track, before the return run down by the lake. It’s tough not to get sucked into your private F1 fantasy — or a V8 Supercar dream, with the Benz bent eight in the nose — before being hauled in to stop and think for a few minutes.
Then it’s time to hit the reset button, go again.