Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe: Performance Car of the Year 2017 #6

Let’s not kid each other here. The AMG C63 S Coupe is not about wafting you and your significant other down to the opera house in silence.

Nor is it about lurking in the shadows and just being a watcher. Nope, this is a genuine muscle car that just happens to have a high-end Euro badge on its rump. It’s about as subtle as a Trump tweet. But in a good way.

Mercedes-AMG C63 S coupe rear drivingFor all that, you get a slight feeling that maybe the C63 S in coupe form doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. Oh sure, it’s straight line and outright performance credentials are beyond question, with urge and urgency that can match it with the mega-buck, mid-engined stuff. But the looks of the coupe, for instance, don’t quite gel for some of us in the same way the original C63 did. You know, all muscle and no beg-yer-pardons. The new coupe isn’t the prettiest AMG, yet it doesn’t seem to have visual brutality.

Of course, you can make up your own mind about that, and from the best seat in the house, you can’t see what it looks like anyway. It’s also from the helm you discover what a head-kicker the AMG really is. There is acceleration and then there is the stuff the C63 S produces. Call it thrust, call it grunt, call it what you like – this is a serious piece of hardware. And covering big distances with zip fuss is the name of the game.

AMG engineAgain, however, we’re drawn back to that feeling the Coupe’s not quite sure what it’s meant to be. The noise inside the cabin, at 78dB, is all but as rowdy as the ear-plugs-optional Lamborghini at the same cruising speed. And the ride quality is way down on the plush factor built into many other cars with Mercedes badges. That said, a ride bordering on too stiff has historically been a bit of an AMG C-Class thing, so it’s clearly deliberate and does not seem to scare punters.

And keeping things as firm as they are also allows for pretty neat, sorted handling. And so it is, but the C63 S has one more trick up its sleeve in that department. With a wider rear axle than cooking C-Class cars and torque vectoring built into that drive axle, the AMG is a truly amazing thing to punt hard. Turn it in and it feels completely normal with good steering feedback and a solid feel. But feed the power in post-apex and the car starts to tighten its line.

Merc-AMG C63 S track drivingAt first I thought I’d dialled in too much lock, but then it happened again the very next corner and I discovered that you can use this extra dollop of turn-in to brilliant effect. In fact, the harder you punch it out of a bend, the more torque you create and the more vectoring gets done on your behalf. In the end, you find you have to start winding off a little lock post-apex just to maintain your chosen trajectory. This ability to rotate itself just on throttle is something you won’t tire of and shows just what a techno-sled the AMG really is. In a muscle-car kind of way, you understand.

THE NUMBERS
0-100km/h: 4.56sec (8th)
0-400m: 12.48sec @ 194.10km/h (6th)

Merc-AMG C63 S frontJUDGES' RANK
DAVID MORLEY: =2nd
About as loopy as it gets. And I mean that in a good way.

DYLAN CAMPBELL: 4th
Licence-losingly fast. It’s like the friend who you know is bad for you, but you keep hanging out with them anyway.

SCOTT NEWMAN: 7th
AMG really understands what makes a car fun. Mega engine.

TIM ROBSON: 9th
The hardest C-Class AMG there is… and it shows, too.

JOHN BOWE: 7th
Far better than I expected it to be, a good jigger.

Judges scores

We're giving away the last great Aussie Holden V8! Enter here for your chance to win!

Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!