From £45,8308
The C 63 may have lost its big V8, but its replacement makes it difficult to mourn

What is it?

The new Mercedes-AMG C 63, on the cusp of a full road test examination. Before that, though, we had to retrieve the car from Scotland - chance enough to get an initial taste of its road-going character.

Unlike those we’ve previously tested abroad, this C 63 is the standard model, meaning the turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine that it shares with the GT delivers ‘just’ 469bhp and 479lb ft of torque. 

We’ll save an exhaustive description of the car for next week, but suffice to say it comes with some modest body enhancements (arguably too modest), AMG’s seven-speed Speedshift automatic gearbox and a lowered, overhauled version of the C-Class’s multi-link suspension.

Also present and correct is a mechanical limited-slip differential, as opposed to the electronically controlled version on the more powerful S trim. With options including a £1000 adaptive exhaust system, it costs £63,920. 

What's it like?

Not everything you might be expecting. The previous C63, courtesy of its naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8 engine, came so saturated in charisma that on a summery day you could open the window and chew on it like gum.

It was the kind of car that came as standard with bikers camped expectantly at the rear quarter, waiting for the chance to go flat-chat bonkers in your jet wash. It wasn't a match for the BMW M3 in handling terms, but what came between the madness hardly seemed to matter. It was badass. 

For its turbocharged replacement, AMG has opted to clamp down harder on the bit. Where once there was depthless largesse, there is now a hard-edged leanness, characterised chiefly by more speed, less burble, better grip and wider discomfort.

The latter rears its head on Scottish B-roads quicker than an appreciation of the new power delivery; the C 63, even in Comfort mode, is unable to mitigate the crash-bash of a badly scarred length of asphalt without prodding its occupants. 

Repeat customers may well be familiar with the level of coarseness, but Mercedes buyers in general are certainly going to notice a higher level of vibration and road noise than normal; even the dashboard has a habit of groaning at the greater stress being put through it.

Fortunately, where it counts, the C 63 is still ferociously on message. I'm still not convinced the new V8 generates quite the sweaty, frenzied ardour of its predecessor - and its snare-drum warble occasionally feels more like an additive than an organic ingredient - but nevertheless, its advantages are startling. 

King-size displacement meant that the old V8 was hardly tardy from low crank speeds, yet even its comparative earnestness is swept aside by the unceasing zeal of the new C 63‘s tag-teaming turbochargers.

Best of all, its naturally linear forced induction properties have been steeply inclined to give you something to build up to - not, perhaps, a rival to the high-rev venom of the M4’s twin-turbo straight six, but certainly a prodigal pace-setter in the AMG mould. It's helped no end by the transformation of the gearbox from unwilling slusher to crisp and responsive participant. 

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AMG has mated the brawny, breakneck powertrain to a similarly thick-necked chassis. Stepping up from default briskness to immoderately fast is easier than it was before, and conspicuously less hard work than it remains in the M3.

The speed-sensitive steering, while not faultless, is fast and meatily weighted and - thanks in part to all that latent stiffness - keeps you solidly connected to the C 63's abundant grip. The real pleasure, though, is found, without ever having to look hard for it, in the nose-to-tail cornering balance.

The C 63 makes the transition from neutrality to rear-end involvement so progressive that it almost qualifies as gentlemanly. Or it would if it didn’t occur in a swirl of bass notes, and as a precursor to that glut of mid-range torque.

Should I buy one?

It’s telling that, away from a motorway, we spurned Comfort mode entirely, preferring instead to go the whole hog with the iron-willed S+ setting. At least here the pretence of saloon-stye comfort is jettisoned entirely, and you simply get on with the immersive business of enjoying the car’s underpinnings. 

For what it’s worth, that’s fine - because there’s much here to savour, and it shows, if nothing else, that despite turbocharging and downsizing, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the likeable loony tree that AMG planted the last time around.

That Mercedes' tuning division has still failed to have its cake and eat it isn't tremendously surprising - and it wouldn't be a shock if track testing reveals that the C 63's all-coil-sprung chassis is more precise and involving under duress than AMG's larger, part-air-sprung saloons are. That's all to come, though. For now, be in no doubt that our thumb remains heartily up. 

2015 Mercedes-AMG C 63 

Price £60,060; Engine V8, 3982cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Power 469bhp at 5500-6250rpm; Torque 479lb ft at 1750-4500rpm; Gearbox Seven-speed automatic; Kerb weight 1715kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 4.1sec; Economy 34.5mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 192/31%

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bomb 21 May 2015

Not quite the full Queef in

Not quite the full Queef in this review but close. Autocar reviews about an AMG Merc shouldn't be pain in the arse to read should they?
marineboy 21 May 2015

Misspent youth?

Guess you flunked off Engish lessons at school, hence your semi-literate post. Apologies if you are less than five years old.
Winston Churchill 21 May 2015

Who the fuck cares....

....about CO2 on a £65k car? Idiotic discussion.
Bobstardeluxe 21 May 2015

completely agree

For once with you Winston I agree ...when spedning 65K and probably more once you have the spec of choice... do you relaly think about CO2... if you ae so concerned by Co2.. you by a hybrid or a small capcity engine..

it is great that they acheive better an better Co2 emissions..

Now what I dot uderstand is how the orginal test of this car got 4.5 or 5 stars I believe.. how it now has 4!... is it in prep of the new Jag XE high performanc quivalent coming on board and autocar ensuring the some how give it a full stra rating even though it probably is really as 4 at most!

Thiscar looks good, has a class act engine, the handling perfromance is near on par with the best and has by far and away the best interior in it class.
so why only a 4!