What is it?
An updated Mercedes C 63 AMG, that sticks faithfully to the tried-and-tested recipe of big, noisy and brilliant 6.2-litre V8 up front, slightly too-firm springs underneath and a lot of burning rubber at the back. The only significant difference is the new seven-speed ‘MCT’ automatic gearbox that we have already seen most recently in the new CLS 63 AMG.
Not a dual-clutch affair, the MCT is an evolution of the 7G-Tronic ‘box but with a wet-clutch instead of a torque converter. According to Mercedes the benefits of the new transmission are faster, smoother changes and a 10 per cent improvement in fuel consumption.
What’s it like?
Perhaps the crucial observation to make at this point is that, new gearbox aside, the 451bhp C 63 has retained its addictive performance, thankfully kept in check with precise steering and the necessary feedback to make the C 63 a rewarding handling car as well as a slightly psychotic hot saloon.
In terms of real-world use, the gearbox is certainly a worthwhile addition to the new car. All four settings – Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and Manual – are well judged for the relevant driving style. Comfort mode blurs the shifts effectively and makes the C 63 as calm as it can be given the slightly unforgiving low-speed ride.
Sport mode increases shift times by 20 per cent over comfort, and strikes a happy medium that works cohesively on the road; More so than Sport Plus, which changes up smoothly (and even more quickly) under full load but can seem to down-change too eagerly, leaving the engine wailing dramatically but unnecessarily high in the upper rev range. It would likely work very well on track but it’s a little too focused even for the most spirited road driving.
Overall this is a successful update of an already thoroughly brilliant car. The gearbox doesn’t seem to be quite so in harmony with the 6.2-litre V8 here as it is with the new 5.5-litre biturbo fitted to some other models, but it’s effective and only serves to make the C 63 more flexible daily transport without diluting its abilities as an endearingly bonkers hot saloon.
Should I buy one?
Absolutely. The BMW M3 is a more pliant car, but the C 63 treads closer in character to an old-school muscle car than anything else in the class without sacrificing the delicacy of response that makes it a truly adept sports saloon.
Mercedes-AMG C 63
Price: £55,565; Top speed: 155mph; 0-62mph: 4.5sec; Economy: 23.5mpg; Co2: 280g/km; Kerbweight: 1730kg; Engine type: 6208cc, V8, petrol; Power: 451bhp at 6800rpm; Torque: 443lb ft at 5000rpm; Gearbox: 7spd auto