2017 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe First Drive
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The Ascari Race Resort is a European country club for those who like to drive fast rather than golf. Situated in Malaga, Spain, near the Mediterranean Sea, it’s a playland for well-heeled Europeans to flog exotic machines, bask in the sun, and be pampered by the resort’s staff.
Top Gear fans will recognize Ascari from the 2007 episode in which we met the Stig’s bikini-clad wife and watched the guys compare the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG with the BMW M3 and the Audi RS4. In the hands of the Stig, the C63 barely edged out the RS4 but lost out to the M3 by five seconds in timed laps around the track. The Mercedes had more power than the BMW, but proved unwieldy at the limit, its lack of precision causing oversteer and understeer while the BMW hunkered down to dispatch corners with ease.
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Fast forward eight years and we have a new generation C63. The sedan came out earlier this year and the coupe is due next Spring. We were lucky enough to get a preview test drive as Mercedes-AMG flew journalists to Spain to experience its new C63 S coupe at Ascari and on the roads near Europe’s most southern point.
C63: The Next Generation
The new C63 benefits from the updates made to the base car, namely, a strong new structure and an order of magnitude greater refinement. With competitors like the BMW M4, the brilliant Cadillac ATS-V, and the Lexus RC F—all of which are new in the past year or so—the new C63 needs strong roots to be a viable competitor.
Under the hood lurks the biggest kid on the block. While BMW has switched to a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder, and Cadillac has chosen a twin-turbo V-6, the C63 features a twin-turbocharged (bi-turbo in Mercedes speak) 4.0-liter V-8 with both turbochargers in the “hot inside V” between the cylinder heads. The base version cranks out 469 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. The C63 S turns up the wick to 503 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque.
The transmission is no slouch, either. It’s a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox that can be shifted manually via a pair of steering wheel paddles.
The AMG team decided that the coupe should be sportier than the already adept C63 sedan. To accomplish that goal, AMG gave the coupe a wider track front and rear, bigger tires, and a completely different rear end. The tires are 10 mm wider up front and 20 mm wider in the rear. The rear axle has a different geometry, a 50 mm wider track, and more negative camber; it also uses uni-ball steel bushings instead of rubber bushings. The S model also gets an electronic limited-slip differential, while the base version features a mechanical version.
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Like the C63, both AMG coupes also come with AMG Ride Control adjustable dampers with sport and comfort settings, as well as dynamic engine mounts that stiffen to improve agility and loosen to improve noise, vibration, and harshness.