The Merc-AMG C63 – dramatic as ever!

Mercedes-AMG fans were all kinds of devastated when it was announced that the new C63 would no longer boast a V8 engine. Imagine what it did to them when it was revealed that a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine would be powering this beast. Alas, they had nothing to worry about. You’ll see what I mean.

This week I attended the intimate launch of the brand new Mercedes-AMG C 63 S E Performance and we were lucky enough to sample it along a certain mountain pass that was closed to the rest of public…to a degree. Precautions were taken to keep everyone safe, of course, but it also meant we were able to really unleash the beast! As much as haters want to hate, there is no denying the full force of 500 kW and 1 020 Nm! That’s right. This new model, with the addition of its plug-in-hybrid system, means that the combined performance figures make your eyes water. It is a completely new driving experience and one that I think will quieten the naysayers.

It is somewhat of a techfest and it goes a long way to sit with the car for a while before heading out to see exactly what it can do. There are eight driving modes, for example. I tried to change my driving mode on the fly and didn’t realise that for a few kms I was in snow mode…on a hot day…in Franschhoek. In fact, it has so many different selections to make that I find myself just opting for Sport and away I go. There is even Track Pace, which is a track-based boost strategy that has 30 well-known tracks stored (that can be gradually expanded to 70). It works like this:

Before driving, the driver selects the track on the central display, for example the German Hockenheimring, and then switches on the boost strategy with a slider. Then they activate the RACE driving mode and are ready to go. The vehicle then displays an upcoming boost sector in the instrument cluster and on the head-up display. When boosting (via kick-down with 150 kW electric power), a countdown and a horizontal bar count down the boost seconds. As soon as the indicator shows the end of the boost sector, the driver should release the kick-down. Two options are available: a strategy for a particularly fast single lap (“Hot Lap”) and another strategy for several consistently fast laps in succession (“Endurance Mode”). Just to note, I did not try any of the above.

So you get my point? There is a lot going on in this car. But what I do know, even if it is not ‘technically’ speaking, is that it is a machine that inspires much confidence. It reassures you as a driver that you are capable of more. And when a car this powerful is so easy to drive, it makes for a really fun time! Even if you’re not driving it on a track.

My back would disagree with all of the above, mind you. The sport seats are not the most comfortable for those of us who are rapidly deteriorating due to age. Mind you, regenerative braking is no help. I feel like I am constantly using core muscles (if they even still exist in this ageing bod) to keep my composure. But, when it comes to the ride, it does feel more like a C-Class when in Comfort mode and that is a win.

It’s a composed drive with the added flair of drama, such as launch control and drift mode, and all the other tech not mentioned, and so I would say to those who might feel it has lost its charm since losing its V8, take it for a spin. You will see that Mercedes-AMG still knows what it’s doing when it comes to cars that are built to put a smile on your face.


C63 S E Performance: R2 476 800

It is available with a standard 2-year/unlimited kilometre warranty and 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan.

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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