Benz says yes to yet more excess
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
For those who have everything, Mercedes brings you … more.