Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

The Daily Drivers: 2017 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG

The Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe is a classic muscle car. Sure it has the luxury Mercedes-Benz heritage and pedigree. The C Class — similar in size to a Mustang or Camaro — has been redesigned for 2017. And like the Ford or Chevy, it shares a large engine, small two-door body and rear-wheel drive.

Appearance: In this, the C63 doesn't have the sometimes overwrought design of a traditional muscle car. Instead, its lines — the rounded roof, creased fenders and pillarless windows — flow naturally yet connote power. Lyra calls it "breathtakingly beautiful," and the Mercedes-Benz fan who approached her to get a better look also thought so. Our car was helped by its deep Brilliant Blue Metallic paint, a gorgeous hue set off by cross-spoke black wheels with red brake calipers. Up front, the "diamond" grille carries a huge M-B badge, perhaps the most ostentatious thing about the car.

Performance: The Mercedes' biturbo V-8 is one of our favorite engines. Lyra says it's "like a rocket," while Peter appreciates its lag-free power delivery. The 4.0-liter engine comes in two AMG flavors: 469 horsepower and a 503-variant in the S model that we drove. (It's a sign of the times that a performance car that puts out from 460-500 horses is no longer notable.) Both come with a quick-shifting multi-clutch seven-speed automatic that features driver-pleasing rev-matching downshifts. Mercedes says its AMG suspensions are tuned to be at home on both the track or the street, so the they can be a bit stiff for those whose only circuit includes stop lights. The car has AMG Dynamic Select system that lets drivers dial in shift points, adaptive damping and even the throaty exhaust sound. The S model adds a race mode.

Interior: What's German for sexy? The driver-centric cabin is one of Peter's favorites with its retro-modern feel. The surfaces are all Nappa leather, brushed aluminum and carbon-fiber, with touches such as red door-panel and seat inserts and red stitching. The snug, well-bolstered seats are AMG Performance buckets that do their job with a stiff embrace. The rear seats really are better used as storage shelf rather than as room for passengers. The thick flat-bottomed steering wheel is comfortable and features a nice touch: a red strip of leather to indicate the top of the wheel for when your driving involves a more than putting on a turn signal. No detail too small: The driver's gauge cluster is hooded and the tach and speedo­meter faces feature carbon-fiber accents. Between them sits a small driver information screen. Some minor quibbles: On top of the center console's retro-circular AC vents sits a free-standing infotainment screen whose placement seems more Mazda than Mercedes. The comtrols for that screen can be a bit awkward, with a mouse-like touchpad that hovers over the control dial. Lyra's short height forced her to move the driver's seat forward, which put the controls behind her normal arm position. Suffice to say that you can easily inflate the price of the C63 through its series of premium option packages. Our many extras included a panoramic sunroof and window-rattling Burmeister sound system whose speaker covers were finished in brushed metal.

Our 3 favorites

Brilliant Blue: The paint is deep and rich, befitting the car's luxury and performance pedigrees.

Retro cabin: It's quiet, striking and, to Peter's eye, aircraft-inspired.

Bring the thunder: The handcrafted AMG engines make for a blissful soundtrack.

The bottom line: The redesigned Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG sets the standard for luxury and performance in a small coupe.





     
           
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