Mercedes-AMG C63S Coupe Review: We’re Glad It Doesn’t Do Subtle

By Daryl Lee 9 February, 2018
Mercedes-AMG C63S Coupe

Flashy In The Flesh

It’s helpful to think of the Mercedes-AMG C63S Coupe as less of a car and more of a modern weapons system, where the vehicle is merely a means of moving said weapons to where they need to be.

In the case of the C63S, its chassis, good though it may be, has its thunder stolen from it by the car’s four-litre V8 engine with 510bhp. It’s considerably smaller than the legendary 6.2-litre unit used in its predecessor and it’s turbocharged. But as the powerplant’s debut several years back on the Mercedes-AMG GT proved, forced induction has done little, if anything, to diminish its character.

Its soundtrack is still as stirring as it ever was, and even at low revs creeping through city traffic, it sounds like an ominous peal of rolling thunder. But crawling isn’t ideal, because like its naturally aspirated predecessor, it’s practically begging to be flogged hard.

And again like its forebear, its effervescence is infectious; it’s a car that goads you into driving like a lunatic everywhere. Whether that’s down to the snap, crackle and pop of the exhaust system, or if it’s the keenness of the motor to rev is open to debate.

On that last point, its throttle response, especially in Race mode, is electric. I suppose that’s testament to the skills of Mercedes-AMG’s engineers in successfully managing to make its engine feel and sound like one of its famed large-capacity naturally aspirated V8s.

Its chassis, too, is more than a match for its engine. Its steering is meaty, precise and because of the new smaller, lighter engine, has keener turn-in than its predecessor did. There’s a precision to its nose that the C63 Coupe never mustered up before, and coupled with the massive shove afforded by its V8, makes it a great companion for weekend blasts up north.

Unfortunately, the C63S Coupe is still an occasional car, more than what its new larger dimensions might suggest.

It’s 45mm longer overall, along with being 107mm wider than the car it replaces, which does wonders for its road presence, no longer looking curiously truncated. This added length on the outside also comes with a 75mm longer wheelbase, which means a usable second row (finally) and extra breathing space in the cabin overall.

No, why the C63S Coupe still isn’t all that suitable for daily use is the sheer insistence of its engine and the firmness of its ride.

In the case of the former, the explosiveness of the engine’s delivery makes it nigh-on impossible to drive it sedately. As for the latter, the trade-off to its flat cornering attitude is how the C63S jostles about a good deal over potholes in the city. And in addition to the engine’s ever-present rumble, there’s a similar roar coming from the tyres that only gets worse as speed builds.

Its main rival, the BMW M4, certainly looks wilder, what with its bonnet power bulge and flared fenders, but in reality, it’s a far more accomplished daily driver.

Of course, this comes at the expense of personality, and it’ll struggle to match the C63S Coupe for sheer charisma.

This charisma, unfortunately, doesn’t extend to how the C63S Coupe’s in-your-face nature can be abrasive at times, has plasticky interior elements (its instrument cluster in particular) and how Mercedes-AMG has relocated its centre console-mounted gear lever to a geriatric steering
column mount.

But, as the saying goes, personality goes a long way and the C63S Coupe certainly has bags of it.