For the last three issues of MOTOR, a Red Hot Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has been lurking in the MOTOR Garage hastening the end of the world’s premium unleaded supplies at a rate of approximately 16L/100km on a normal day. And now, we fully intended to do what any environmentally responsible publication would do to balance things out and that’s to put on the new all-electric Nissan Leaf as our next long-termer.
Except, there was a terrible error and we called Mercedes-AMG instead and requested a twin-turbo V8 C63 S Coupe for four months and they said yes. So, there.
Yes, the C63 S Coupe you see here will just have to tide us over until said small electric runabout arrives. Which could be a very long time, is what we told Mercedes anyway.
But in all seriousness, your eyes don’t deceive you: for the next five issues we will be granting you vicarious access to possibly the world’s best all-round muscle car. We’ll delve deep into the things that stoke the fires of lust for us and the things that (would) make us wonder if we’ve spent our $184,200 incorrectly. If we should’ve just gone for the Mustang/jet-ski combo after all.
Certainly, we’re already liking Brilliant Blue Metallic 1PA-9KM on paper. The 12 vertical slats in the front nose identify it as the latest updated version of Merc’s mighty muscle car, the biggest change of which was a softening of suspension for better liveability.
MOTOR comparison: AMG C63 S v Camaro ZL1 v Shelby Super Snake
There’s also a new nine-speed wet-clutch auto (previously seven-speed); updated interior gubbins including a slimmer 10.5-inch central infotainment display and a new, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster; and the latest generation AMG steering wheel which has two itty bitty LCD screens of its own (and no less than 21 controls). And one of those is AMG’s nine-stage traction control, trickled down from the GT3 race car, via the AMG GT R, and adjustable in the C63 S via a rotary dial on the steering wheel. There’s also the new Track Pace in-car app.
Power is unchanged, but short of sneaking in an all-wheel drive system (boo, don’t do that) it wasn’t really short on grunt, to be perfectly honest.
MOTOR comparison: AMG C63 S v M3 Pure v RS5 Sportback v Giulia Q v Alpina B3 S
And one unchanged item – and long may it live – is the engine, the beating heart and almost entire personality of the C63 S. Eight cylinders are gloriously arranged in the holy ‘vee’ configuration (feel free to pause for a quick Hail Mary) cradling two precious turbochargers which do all sorts of magical things to the 4.0-litre displacement. Outputs of 375kW/700Nm reach an electronically locking rear differential sending power, of course, to the rear wheels only.
The whole shebang is packaged within a muscular, and not exactly petite, coupe body with bulging wheelarches and bonnet ridges, an angry front bumper flaring at the outer openings like the cheeks of a rampaging rhino; there are quad exhausts and a little lip spoiler, too.
I think this is one of the best-looking new performance cars you can buy. From the front three quarter especially, goodness gracious, it looks so good.
And in this spec, too! Optional ceramic brakes, AMG Performance front seats (which became optional with the update), the 19-inch front/20-inch rear split five-spoke forged wheels in black with machined lip, and highly regarded Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres. Dream spec? Close, for me.
We have much to explore over the next four issues. Is the C63 S Coupe just a dream jigger? For practicality, looks, luxury and V8 rear-drive performance, do your really need anything else?
Did they fix the ride quality? Could one put up with the notoriously jerky transmission? Will the COMAND hand controller drive us to homicide? How long will the rear tyres last?
And did they actually bugger the handling with the softer suspension? At 1725kg there’s lots to control, after all.
May we find out all these things, and more. And may the Leaf remain on the shelf at Harvey Norman.
2020 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe Pros & Cons
Things we're keen on
1 - The exhaust button
2 - Cold rear tyres
3 - Shop windows
Things we're scared of
1 - Weighs a bit
2 - The fuel bill
3 - The tyre life