Photographs by Kaizad Adil Darukhanawala
The Germans know their brats and beers, but what do they know about building muscle cars? Muscle cars are a purely American pursuit of placing oversized engines in cars that can barely handle that power and launching them down dragstrips. It is pretty much the opposite of what German efficiency is all about. Despite hailing from the country that is home to tracks like the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife, I reckon the Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupé can teach the Americans a thing or two about muscle.
The outgoing C63 S was available in four-door guise, meaning you could still get away with pretending it’s just another C-Class. But now, in its new coupé bodystyle, it’s harder to hide its intentions. Up front, a menacing Panamericana grille displays every intention of swallowing you whole. The aptly named Carbon-Fibre Package kits the car in carbon-fibre like it’s going out of fashion. There’s the front lip, side skirts, rear diffuser and a not-so-subtle lip spoiler on the boot lid, all sporting bare carbon-fibre. If, after all that, you still had doubts about its performance pedigree, the sloping roof line, flared wheel arches, massive wheels with sticky rubber and the absence of rear doors will set you straight.
Inside, the C63 uses a tweaked version of the C-Class dashboard, but everything you touch is covered in either alcantara, carbon-fibre or aluminium. A new fully-customisable digital cluster sits behind the chunky steering wheel which is wrapped in grippy alcantara and sports a couple of protuberances. On one side is a scroll wheel that lets you jog between drive modes, while the other side controls the sport exhaust and the new AMG Dynamics settings. Combine these with the touchpad-based steering-mounted controls and the column-mounted shifter and you never really have to take your hands off the wheel.
Because the doors are so long, the B-pillar is quite a way behind the driver’s seat, but thankfully the seatbelt is handed to you by an extending arm, lest you pull a muscle before you even settle into your seating position. And speaking of pulling something, the rear seats are usable but only for short distances. Considering the nature of the car, rear-seat passengers might feel like they’re taking a ride on a pendulum.
Once you’re strapped in, you prod the ‘breathing’ start button and the 3982cc twin-turbo V8 roars to life. It’s in what’s called a ‘hot V’ configuration. That means that the two turbos are nestled between the two banks of cylinders, within the V. The path the hot exhaust gases take to the turbos is incredibly short, giving you very quick spool times. These gases pass through the turbo and are then converted into noise. Once you turn on the sport exhaust mode, it has more crackles and pops than a bag of rice krispies.
At 469 bhp and 66.3 kgm, the figures are lower than the outgoing C63 S model. Sure, the car now takes 4 seconds to hit 100 kph from a standstill, compared to 3.9 seconds for the outgoing model. Unless you plan on taking the car to the track every other weekend, you won’t notice the missing horses. In fact, having driven the car in torrential rain, mostly in the slippery-conditions mode, I don’t think I’ve made full use of the engine’s horsepower in the time I spent with it. But even with engine power limited, the C63 Coupé scares the bejesus out of you. A quick-shifting 9-speed multi-clutch transmission sends power to the rear wheels — if you want the safety net of all-wheel drive, you’ll have to downgrade to the C43 4Matic Coupé, this here is a proper burnout machine!
The suspension setup is on the stiffer side, and with 30 and 35 aspect ratio rubber, front and back, the tyres don’t offer much extra cushioning. It may sound like an old-school muscle car, but the C63 has got some serious handling chops. The AMG Dynamic settings let you choose whether you want it to be a scalpel or a sledgehammer. Even on wet roads with high-performance summer tyres, the rear end only steps out when you want it to. At all other times, a combination of the tyres, traction control, electronic LSD and AMG dynamic modes keep you facing the right direction. But this is a full-fat AMG and that means the nannies must be turned off! The C63 doesn’t hesitate to put on a smoke show for you at the behest of your right foot, with the tyres breaking away very predictably and controllably.
The Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupé comes packed to the gills with technology. The center infotainment screen can even be set up to display information like tyre temperatures, steering angle, engine power, throttle position and angle of slip in real time. Despite all of that, it never once feels like the electronics dominate the driving experience. If the engine is on, that’s the only thing you’ll be thinking about and if you start to forget for some reason, the exhaust is always there as an ever-present reminder that you’re sitting atop a beast of an engine with wheels. At the end of the day, that’s really all a muscle car is supposed to do, isn’t it?
Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupé
Displacement: 3982cc, bi-turbo V8, petrol
Max power: 469 bhp@5500-6250 rpm
Max torque: 66.28 kgm@1750-4500 rpm
Transmission: 9-speed DCT
F/R: 255/35 ZR19/ 285/30 ZR20
L/W/H (mm): 4751/1877/1401
Wheelbase: 2840 mm
Kerb Weight: 2155 kg
PRICE: Rs 1.33 crore (ex-showroom, India)