The intoxicating blend
After a tad of insomnia and some Google-assisted self diagnosis, it turns out that I have a severe case of withdrawal symptoms. Dilated pupils, dry mouth, extended forearms with clenched fists, restlessness and thundering big block noises in my ears lead me to believe that I yearn for more sixty-three ah emm gee.
The cause of my craving was yesterday’s launch of two new Mercedes-Benz models, the C63 AMG Coupé and E63 AMG sedan. At Zwartkops raceway, with five dynamic driving instructors and an equal amount of both vehicles present for everyone to sample repeatedly.
And it won’t take long for these vehicles to corrupt their handlers – both represent an intoxicating blend of power and precision. AMG strives for fascination, perfection, responsibility and, with the new coupé joining their team, also aims to improve on the 17,000 C63 sedans sold since 2007.
Production of the recently face-lifted C sedan and estate continues alongside its two-door sibling, all using the trusty 6.3 V8 which shines with incredible power, noise and rev happiness. The multiple Engine of the Year delivers 336kW (457hp) in this application, or 358kW (487hp) with a N$71,800 Performance Pack.
The pack also includes beefier brakes, a snazzy steering wheel and some cosmetic tweaks. Add N$25,600 and AMG will raise the electronic speed limiter to 280km/h. All this will be added to the C63 AMG Coupé base price of N$923,700 which includes a 2-year warranty and 6-year/120,000km maintenance plan.
A C63 AMG Coupé will tear past 100km/h in 4.4 seconds (4.3 with Performance Pack), expel about 280g CO2/km and use an average of 12L/100km when driven verrry nicely. I didn’t drive it very nicely on the track and registered somewhere in the region of 34L/100km.
This is completely normal for full throttle antics and everyone was amazed how manageable and nimble the AMG Coupé was – with the ESP activated. Switch it off at your own peril. The car’s remarkable handling and jarring slow-speed ride is due to a wider track, multi-link suspension and speed-sensitive steering.
The E63 AMG pulled off exactly the same stunt, stunning everyone at how composed its (substantially higher) power delivery was. Fire power in this vehicle comes from a 5.5L bi-turbo V8 with 386kW (525hp) or 410kW (558hp) with N$82,000 Performance Pack.
This monster engine of recent CL and CLS fame is 22% more efficient than its 6.3 forebear and takes power delivery a few notches higher. Its turbo gap is negligible and for a forced induction motor with all that extra plumbing, it responds with a remarkably loud and gruff V8 roar when you annoy it.
100km/h is obliterated in 4.3 seconds (4.2 with Performance Pack) and top speed is limited to 250km/h, or 300km/h with a N$34,000 Driver’s Pack. Prices for the sedan start at N$1,257,000 (estate version also available) with the same Mercedes warranty and maintenance plan.
On the track and open road, there’s no denying that the E63 is the more powerful, spacious and heavier of the two newcomers. AMG has also worked its magic on this suspension and a slightly hard ride in town makes way for flat, fast, fearsome cornering on a racetrack.
C63 uses the 7-speed MCT Speedshift automatic gearbox with 3 modes and race start, in the E63 it also features wet start-up clutch and start/stop function. Both AMG’s feature steering-mounted shift paddles and, depending on drive mode, ferocious throttle blips on down shifts.
ECO mode and a reserved right foot imply averages of 230g CO2/km and just 9.8L/100km. Good luck achieving that – the E63 begs to be driven hard and reacts to your inputs with precision and brutality. Yet again, keep the ESP and your common sense activated and be amazed how controllable this beast is.
Both cars also feature AMG Ride Control, a brainy suspension management system which further enhances your driving experience. They’re obviously both loaded with gadgets but a few options and colour choices remain before you can liberally spread rubber and noise all over your neighbourhood.
What never ceases to amaze me is the progress AMG makes in terms of power and efficiency. Every new car is faster and better, more potent and thrifty. Heaven knows where it will end but AMG is committed to further improvements in both departments while still building intoxicating, fast, safe cars.
I hope this explains why I’m still completely wired and have been hurling abuse at other motorists. Because everyone does, like, sixty or something. In a bid to avoid jail, I’ve now decided to walk everywhere until my blood/petrol ratio returns to normal. If only the V8 hammering in my head would stop…
C63 AMG Coupé N$923,700
C63 AMG Sedan N$862,300
C63 AMG Estate N$871,700
Performance Pack N$71,800
Driver’s Pack N$25,600
E63 AMG Sedan N$1,257,000
E63 AMG Estate tbc
Performance Pack N$82,000
Driver’s Pack N$34,000