By Khukekani Dumisa
By the time you read this, you would have at least read 3 articles about the upcoming 2019 Mercedes-Benz C63 but the folks at Mercedes-Benz were kind enough to lend us the current generation Mercedes-Benz C63s coupé. We thought we should share a few words about the brutal V8 powered AMG monster from Germany as it still elicits a sense of reaction like no other when you encounter fans and foes alike.
Outside, there is no mistaking the C63s from its lower siblings, as the front has a large bumper with huge air intake and a three pointed star that feels exaggerated. If you are still confused about what this is, there is an AMG logo on the horizontal lines of the grille to clear any misunderstanding that there may be. The front fenders with large wheel arches and the bonnet with strong lines also set the car apart from regular C-Class by making it appear more muscular. The side profile is elegantly sculptured with sweeping lines that make you look forward to the back. The back is no let down but an impressive sight with chrome exhaust tips. The AMG insignia littered all over the car and the special ‘s’ on the boot lid also add to the occasion of the exterior design of the C63s. Overall you end up with a sleek car that has a lot of presence.
There is no doubting the interior quality of the C63s although I remain unconvinced by the floating infotainment screen. Latest generation C-Class models have a bigger screen which should also make its way to the refreshed C63s so the feeling has been slightly mitigated. The quality of the C63s greets you the moment you open the door with seat controls and door panels that are finished in a shiny quality material. Whilst soaking all that up, you are invited to acquaint yourself with the suede steering wheel. Plant yourself in and your being is simply immersed in the supportive sports seats. The look, quality and feel of the interior with AMG logos is really pleasing. The infotainment is easy to use and the Burmester Surround Systems makes every song sound like a concert. It becomes superfluous though as you are never sure whether to listen to your music or the sweet sound of the V8. Finishing off the interior is a large panoramic roof which adds to the charm of the C63s.
On the practicality front, the C63s has generous leg and shoulder room for the driver and front passenger but it’s not so great at the back although it is much better than many four door performance coupés. This is also true of the boot. You could literally live your everyday life with your C63s and even take the odd sho’t left.
The C63s also has modern safety features although some are optional extras. We had the parking package with a 360 degree camera which made maneuvering the car less of a nightmare. It’s expensive and you do not want little garage mishaps. Also helping was front collision warning and cruise control. For a modern car, we missed adaptive cruise control, lane keep and especially the blind spot monitor. The C63s is responsive and sitting low, you would not want to commit to an occupied space as pulling away may be tricky. I can see you smirking thinking, why bother with all those “safety” features if you are in a performance car like a C63s. Point taken.
The brutal V8
The C63s is powered by a brutal V8 with a twin turbo and it pushes out 375 kW and 700 Nm and is paired with a 7-speed speedshift MCT sports transmission. The 0-100 km/h sprint happens in brisk 3.9 seconds. The signs that you are dealing with a powerful beast is evident from the time you switch on the ignition and you hear the AMG growl. The noise from the engine remains intimidating even when you drive on comfort mode. Comfort mode makes living with the car daily manageable although those who pull up next to you may think you already signaling business when the car growls as you pull-off. The orgasmic sound is even there when you shift down as you hear all sorts of pleasing crackles and pops. The car’s transmission does feel hesitant or slow to reach when driving normally. You often want to aid it along with a shift up at times. Sometimes you wonder if it is actually prompting you to take over and just drive it like is meant to be driven. Anyone with connections to the AMG engineers for an explanation?
Before I disappoint you, we did not test the car on track but had some fun or rather appreciation of the sublime engineering driving it around Johannesburg. In sport mode, the car absolutely transforms into a monster. If you are not careful, the power being sent to the rear can make a spectacle out of you. You can mop up with the responsive steering which at times slightly less accurate than you would expect. The acceleration and cornering will have you smiling as the car handles that effortlessly and bursts to high speeds within a matter of seconds. On the highway, national speed limit quickly clips your wings and you will have to curb your enthusiasm and get back to driving “normally” which the C63s will also deliver perfectly.
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