The palm-filling steering wheel with the center marker at 12 o’clock? Perfectly apt for the new sled, which uses stiffer settings, a reinforced front cross member, negative camber settings, and thicker-gauge aluminum on the steering knuckles for sharper feel. The S model receives an electronic limited-slip differential that reduces inside wheel speed during cornering acceleration and stabilizes the rear end during hard braking. The electrically powered tail minder considers yaw rate, steering angle, and throttle to determine torque allocation. Also included with the S package are adjustable engine mounts that manage the powerplant’s 450 pounds or so of mass, which can rock and roll a vehicle’s dynamics when unchecked. Three-setting magnetic dampers are tied to drive modes (and can also be adjusted separately), all of which is managed by a toggle switch on the center console that scrolls through a total of four modes.
Dialed into its most aggressive Track setting, the proceedings start on a properly dramatic note at Ascari, with the V-8’s burbling idle belying its forced induction. During the first session on the recently rain-drenched circuit, worn tires and slick surfaces seemed to contradict the new C63’s Nürburgring time of 7 minutes, 43 seconds, which matches that of the stunning, previous-gen Black Series. However, our second go on fresh rubber revealed a noticeably improved dynamic over its non-Black Series predecessor, namely through sharper turn-in, planted mid-corner manners, and less comically tail-happy exit characteristics.
The V-8’s massive torque, which crescendos between 1,750 rpm and 4,500 rpm, can still easily kick the tail out, but a discreetly dispensed pro tip from Moers helps avert throttle drunk maneuvers: Flip the gearbox to manual mode, and the engine mapping transforms to a more linear, progressive setting. The change is like a secret handshake for AMG drivers and isn’t disclosed in any Mercedes-Benz documentation, anywhere. You’re welcome.
By the third session on the track, the GT S pace car driven masterfully by DTM champ Bernd Schneider became even more reachable. Though the C63’s 3,803-pound curb weight and 51/49 front-to-back weight bias can’t match the GT-S’s more track-focused setup, it does manage a commendable job of rolling with the high-speed punches. The improved Speedshift MCT seven-speed transmission always finds the proper gear on its own in the Track setting, but manual mode lays power down more effectively (though overeager, heavy-footed drivers may still find the lure of wheel-spinning torque too tempting to resist). However, even in Track mode, the traction control system is still too limiting for Schneider-chasing antics: Switch to ESP Sport Handling, and the coupe finally powerslides beautifully through corners in effortless, manageable drifts aided by the accurate, electrically actuated steering. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes scrub off speed effectively, making it easier to mitigate the V-8-induced antics and attain appropriate corner entry speeds.
The newest AMG extends the sub-brand’s ongoing theme of oversized power and driver-focused charms, expanding on the foundation built by the range-topping GT-S. Though its competitors are potent, the new 2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe’s sonic blurt signifies this coupe’s ever-focused mission, calling traditionalists home with V-8 charisma and autobahn-ready composure. It may be an expansion of the workaday Mercedes-Benz volume seller, but the C63 exudes enough allure to keep the speed-addled set amply satisfied.
Road tripping the new C63 S Coupe across Andalusian highways revealed interstate-shrinking speed and surprising comfort from the adaptive suspension. Though there’s a glued-down connection to the road and more than a bit of thrum from the Michelin rubber, the kinematics aren’t jarring or grating enough to annoy over the long haul. Similarly, the blaring exhaust note can be tamed in the more sedate drive mode settings, allowing you to focus on the restrained interior surfaces and the real aluminum accents on the standard Burmester sound system.
2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe Specifications
|On Sale:||Summer 2016|
|Base Price:||$72,000 (C63, est), $82,000 (C63 S, est)|
|Engines:||4.0L twin-turbocharged DOHC 32-valve V-8/469 hp @ 5,500- 6,250 rpm, 479 lb-ft @ 1,750-4,500 rpm (C63); 503 hp @ 5,500-6,250 rpm, 516 lb-ft @ 1,750-4,500 rpm (C63 S)|
|Layout:||2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe|
|EPA Mileage:||18/25 mpg (city/hwy) (est)|
|L x W x H:||184.4 x 71.2 x 55.3 in|
|Weight:||3,770 lb (C63), 3,803 lb (C63 S)|
|0-60 MPH:||3.9 sec (C63), 3.8 sec (C63 S)|
|Top Speed:||155/180 mph (C63/C63 S)|