Performance hero gets down to some dirty business.
ACCORDING to a UK survey, moving house is more stressful than divorce. Having just done exactly that – the house bit (for the fifth time in six years), not the divorce part – I reckon that’s probably stretching the truth a bit. The actual moving part isn’t the issue. It’s the aftermath of dust, boxes, clutter and mind-boggling mess. Did I mention dust?
Given the chaos of winter 2016 in our household, it’s no wonder the Mercedes-AMG C63 S has been restricted to commuting and ferrying duties. But in doing so it proved there’s a lot to be said for the often-ignored practicality of a roomy medium-sized sedan.
In the C63, full pack-horse duty requires a press of the boot button (either on the driver’s door, the keyfob, or squeezing under the numberplate plinth) before it electrically opens, then flicking a latch on each side under the rear parcel shelf to drop the 60/40 split backrest to a near-flat position.
In this configuration, the AMG carted around the original spare wheel for my ’63 Galaxie, assorted car parts, our electronic recycling dump (goodbye Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin with redundant iPhone 4 connect), 200 bucks worth of Kennards moving boxes and, ahem, our front windows.
My haste to get the century-old wooden sash windows in our bedroom restored, and the domino effect of discovering missing counterweights and ill-fitting glass panes, meant I spent days running around Sydney like our carpenter’s PA (admittedly, in an AMG). I went to Bunnings three times in four hours, so if you noticed the C63’s heinous fuel consumption this month, there’s a reason why. Frustration. But boy does that engine and its exhaust note soothe the pain.
Unfortunately the AMG had to be sidelined for my final PA job. Picking up our beautiful primered window frames with 12 new rectangular panes of glass puttied in place was a task too big for the C63’s ride. I simply couldn’t risk driving at snail’s pace trying not to break a window when a perfectly acceptable Honda Civic VTi-S was available, waving its far superior ride quality in my face.
The contrast was startling, for more than one reason. Yes, the Honda’s ride was comparative bliss, smoothing the speed humps and concrete-slab joins in our street like the ‘turbo’ putty plugging the imperfections in our refreshed windows, but its boot lacked the usefulness of the AMG’s.
A smaller cut-out through to the cabin, more intrusive panelling in the boot sides and rear-seat backrests that don’t fold as flat unexpectedly marked the new-gen front-drive Civic sedan as inferior to the more practical, better-trimmed, rear-drive C63 S. Honestly, who knew?
Hard and fast
That describes the C63’s ride alright, though because it’s so well-damped you don’t get that springy, vertical pitching sensation that was the Audi S4’s nemesis for so many years. This baby is tied down as tight as a drum, though at times it feels like an air-sprung billycart.
Besides the brilliant winged-back driver’s seat and its sophisticated layers of Nappa leather, there’s little cushioning between tyres and buttocks. But so long as you treat speed humps, potholes and road joins with respect, the C63 is a loveable rogue.
Read part four of our Mercedes-AMG C63 S long-term car review.
Mercedes-AMG C63 S
Price as tested: $165,610
Part 5: 269km @ 25.2L/100km
Overall: 4024km @ 15.3L/100km
Date acquired: December 2015