By: Jag Dhatt
In the early spring of this year, something remarkable, almost biblical, happened. I was converted! Things like this don’t usually happen, unless of course, for good reason. How often has a devout person of anything switched teams? Even comical Seinfeld admitted, it’s not often we lose someone to the [other] team. But, it does happen.
For some gearheads, it’s sacrilegious to switch from one manufacturer to another. But for yours truly, it happened. You see, I was always a Bimmer fan, especially the 3-series and more specifically, the M3. I’ve owned 3 BMW’s in my life: a 2013 330Ci Cabriolet; a 2013 M3; and finally, a 2008 535i. I loved the vehicles because they were more than machines – they were almost an extension of myself, so much that I believed them to be the ultimate driving machines (sorry BMW).
But darn it, those people are Mercedes-Benz had other plans. There’s been a rivalry between AMG and the M-series vehicles from these two manufacturers for decades. And when I was handed the keys to the 2017 C63 S, my brain still thought, “It won’t match an M3 or M4.” Boy, was I wrong.
The C63 S is…how do I put this eloquently?…a luxurious beast! It’s amazing looks and brash personality pretty much rule the compact sports coupe category. And for good reason.
Upon first glance, the C63 S is ultra sexy. I was not a fan of the older C-class coupe vehicles, but the new 2017 has everything going for it. In fact, I was driving in Surrey next to a person driving an E63 and I got two thumbs up. At a red light, the driver put down his window and said, “Dude, that’s one sexy car.” I didn’t tell him it was a press car but simply smiled back and said, “Thanks.” Those were the only words two “owners” of AMG 63’s needed to exchange. Everything else was understood.
From any angle you look at it, the C63 S is beautiful. It’s wide and low, and the menacing front end will make competitors go back to the drawing board and do some more thinking. The profile too speaks volumes of the car’s grace and hints at the monster under the hood. The tail section design is something we’ve seen in other models, and I really like the strategy of Mercedes Benz here, to keep continuation of the brand. The wheel choice is perfect. The paint is perfect. The car is, well, perfect. That’s some pretty impressive comments from an ex-Bimmer fan.
While there are hints of hidden power on the outside, step inside the car and be wrapped in luxury and elegance, and it’s more than skin deep. The choice of materials is fantastic and of course, fit and finish is top-notch. While our current tester didn’t have the new dash setup we’ve seen in the new E-class, I would expect it make an appearance in the next year or so.
The seats are perfectly bolstered and keep occupants in place. The cabin is snug but cozy, so much that it feels just right. Back seat passengers don’t have the extra space as in an E-coupe, but meh, who cares about the rear passengers anyways. It’s all about the driver. And of course, the white-in-the-face passenger you scare the hell out of.
Pushing the start button brings to life the 4.0L twin-turbo V8. Yes, you heard that right. Whereas others are dropping down to perhaps a smaller engine, the AMG C63 S keeps a V8 (thank you)! The growl is almost menacingly seductive, but subtle in idle. Step on the accelerator and the growl gets slightly more aggressive, a hint of what to expect.
What happened for me for the next week driving the C63 S was almost a blur. Every day, I found excuses to get out of the physical office and go for drives. I was even keen on taking my kids to ALL their soccer, karate, and swimming practices. I wanted as much seat time in this thing as possible.
The C63 S is a stiff car, which can be both a blessing and not so much so as well. Even in comfort mode, the ride was stiff and you can feel almost every imperfection of the road. My kids loved it though, but I must admit that if I was driving this car in the streets of Montreal, I better have a kidney on standby or a darn good orthopedic mattress. Yes, it’s that stiff. In Vancouver though, it was fine. The upside, however, is that you can carve corners better than the best downhill skier in the world.
The twin-turbo V8 is nicely matched with a 7-speed dual clutch automatic that is completely in sync. The shifts are super-fast and downshifts are impressive, almost Porsche and Corvette like. If you’re in 4th and downshift to 3rd and then second, all you hear is, “BRAP BRAP BRAP BRAP…POP POP…BRAP BRAP BRAP…POP.” Sounds like these are like Beethoven to a gearhead.
Power is instantaneous and always there. No matter where on the RPM range you are, stomp on the gas and the C63 S lurches forward like a hungry cougar on its prey.
This car is like James Bond. When it’s time to engage in combat on the track, it comes out two fists swinging and almost always wins. Yet, when it’s time to put on a tux and impress the Bond girls, it does that just fine too, thank you. The name is Benz, Mercedes Benz.
So, what is there to knock on the steroid-rich coupe? Not much to be honest. If there’s one thing, it has to be the price tag. The C63 S starts at $86, 300 and our tester was close to the $100K mark. That’s a lot of money for a car. The competitors, the BMW M3/M4, Chevy Corvette, and the Cadillac ATS-V, have lower price tags, but if the smile on the face is worth anything, then going a little deeper into the pockets might just be worth it. I mean, come on, I was converted.