High

Benz says yes to yet more ex­cess

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Prestige - JOSHUA DOWLING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING ED­I­TOR

FOR­GET the Big Mac in­dex, which com­pares world economies based on the price of a burger. There’s a new way by which Aus­tralia’s eco­nomic out­look can now be judged.

It’s called the Mercedes-Benz AMGin­dex and, if the lat­est fig­ures are a guide, Aus­tralia, you’re rolling in it.

Aus­tralians buy more Mercedes-Benz C63 AMGs than are sold in North Amer­ica each year.

Per­haps more stag­ger­ing is that we not only pay more for them — largely thanks to Aus­tralia’s dis­crim­i­na­tory lux­ury car tax, 33 per cent of the cost above $60,316 for the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year — but we also op­tion them up with all the ex­tras. Four out of ev­ery five Mercedes-Benz C63s sold in Aus­tralia last year were or­dered with the Per­for­mance Pack, which has more grunt, more grip and a louder bark.

So it was there­fore a no brainier, to bor­row man­age­ment-speak, to or­der up big on the new 507 Edi­tion, named so be­cause it has 507 horse­power, or 373kW in mod­ern par­lance.

VALUE

Cheeky bug­gers. The price of the 507 Edi­tions of the C63 AMGsedan, wagon and coupe are ex­actly $14,507 more than the stan­dard ver­sions (to $169,407, $171,407 and $172,407 re­spec­tively).

Amys­tery: did Mercedes have to round up or round down to land on a price sticker with “507” at the end? It could also just be a co­in­ci­dence.

What you get is a tonne of grunt. Power in­creases from

336kW (stan­dard model) and 358kW (Per­for­mance Pack) to 373kW. Torque also gets a bump from 600Nm to 610Nm.

The up­shot is the 6.2-litre V8 (it’s called a “C63” be­cause Ger­man reg­u­la­tions in­sist the en­gine size is al­ways rounded up to the near­est whole fig­ure) de­liv­ers a brisk 0- 100km/h time of 4.2 sec­onds — trim­ming 0.2 sec­onds from the stan­dard car.

The ex­tra loot also buys a unique vented bon­net, be­spoke steer­ing wheel, gearshift and seats, lim­ited-slip dif­fer­en­tial and a top-speed capped at 280km/h in­stead of 250km/h.

Lim­ited edi­tion wheels and per­for­mance brakes round out the pack­age.

TECH­NOL­OGY

The blurb goes on in quite some de­tail about the in­ner work­ings of the epic en­gine, which I pre­tend to un­der­stand.

It has “forged pis­tons adopted from SLS Gull­wing AMG”, “new con­nect­ing rods” and a “light­weight crank­shaft” (which saves 3kg, ap­par­ently. Per­son­ally I would have thought it had enough grunt to han­dle an ex­tra three kegs, but never mind.)

All I know is the re­sult will pin your ears back (see driv­ing), while the brakes (six-pis­ton front calipers and four-pis­ton rears) will al­most pop your belly but­ton back out. Yes, this car could get quite em­bar­rass­ing if you drive stop-start like a cab­bie.

The seven-speed auto has a beefed up torque-con­verter auto with heavy-duty clutches and some other magic dust that ba­si­cally means it shifts with bru­tal ef­fi­ciency.

DE­SIGN

The only vis­ual cues are the dis­creet cool­ing vents in the bon­net and the light­weight lim­ited edi­tion al­loys. It would be eas­ier to find Wally than pick the 507 Edi­tion, but this is just the way buy­ers like it.

SAFETY

Well, you cer­tainly have plenty of power un­der your right foot. And that means, er, less time on the wrong side of the road when over­tak­ing?

There are of course airbags ga­lore, as well as three sta­bil­ity con­trol modes to make sure you don’t get too car­ried away.

What should gen­uinely not be un­der­es­ti­mated is the enor­mous grip and pre­dictable han­dling that will help avoid a prang in the first place (see next item).

DRIV­ING

I’m too scared to ride a mo­tor­cy­cle, let alone a high­pow­ered one. I have great re­spect for those who can race them at 300km/h — and any­one with the guts to share the road with idiot car driv­ers.

That’s why I’m glad cars like the C63 AMG507 Edi­tion ex­ist. Be­cause it’s the clos­est I’m go­ing to get to the feel­ing of a mo­tor­cy­cle while still en­joy­ing the com­fort and safety of a car.

Never be­fore have an ac­cel­er­a­tor and steer­ing wheel felt like an ex­ten­sion of your limbs. It’s among the most obe­di­ent, re­spon­sive cars I’ve driven. There’s no de­lay if you want to turn, stop or go. But this car isn’t for the vague.

It has a level of pre­ci­sion that leaves the car blame­less. If you duff a line in a cor­ner or brake too late, it’s def­i­nitely your fault, not the car’s.

The seven-speed auto is su­perb. Tap the up or the down lever and, pro­vided there are enough revs left in its range with­out blow­ing up the en­gine, it’ll shift into it.

There are sev­eral modes to suit brav­ery lev­els. It can switch from track weapon to fetch­ing the lat­est is­sue of Forbes mag­a­zine (if you down­load it on your iPad you can’t leave it on the cof­fee ta­ble to show-off, can you?) with the press of a but­ton or the turn of a dial.

VERDICT

For those who have ev­ery­thing, Mercedes brings you … more.

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