I like autumn, but the 40-degree weather that signals the coming of winter and froze my sweet ass off at a recent football game, not so much. So, I said “eff-it” and hopped a plane to L.A., where winter is a concept locals only hear about on cable news. I figured a Mercedes C63 AMG would warm the chill, so I threw it down the Pacific Coast Highway to see if it would grip the curves or become a V8-powered cigarette boat.
For the AMG version of the C63, Mercedes took a 451 hp, 6.3-liter V8, connected it to a paddle-shifted seven-speed automatic transmission with RaceStart function, and skipped the whole 4MATIC thing to get all the power to the rear wheels without delay. That engine makes a full-size sedan seem lightweight, but wedged into the engine bay of a compact coupe, it makes miles evaporate. Fuel economy ratings of 13/19 mpg city/hwy make the gas evaporate, too. But then, this car is not for those interested in saving money.
Down the PCH, the C63 flexed its crafty chassis, giving a death grip to rising crests and sharp curves. The adjustable sport suspension goes from Comfort firm to Sport harsh with the twist of a switch. Kickin’ through the canyons, you can make full use of the engine’s torque going up, plate-size brake discs coming back down, and the real-time adjusting suspension anytime. Too bad every road isn’t like the PCH: on semi-trounced city streets, the car was jarring, even with the suspension set in Comfort mode. One has to make sacrifices to the gods of speed.
Even without brain-squeezing fun, you know the C63 is not your docile little C250 coupe. That big chrome star in the grille, wrap-around LED taillamps, LED running lights, and kicked-out 18” AMG five-spokes shod with performance tires scream power. If still in doubt, check out the AMG-embossed chrome exhaust outlets and carbon fiber spoiler. Twin bulges in the hood pay homage to the 300SL Gullwing. The coupe has style, but the upturned rear windowline cribs Honda’s Accord.
Thwamp-close the big heavy doors and open the dual pane panoramic sunroof to settle inside. The C-Class is about the only Mercedes that still bears the traditional notched gear selector and I still love it. Going AMG brings in two-tone heated leather seats with thick bolsters, carbon fiber dash trim, leather and suede steering wheel, aluminum shift paddles, AMG sill plates, and RACETIMER in the classic three-pod instrument cluster.
That’s all nice, but I just wanted to crank up the Harman/Kardon surround audio system, Bluetooth my phone, and plot a course with the NAV system toward the setting sun. Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and the rearview camera were great saviors in tight parking garages and busy streets.
If you need a flashy car for L.A., the C63 makes a good partner as long as you can stand the firm suspension and voracious appetite for $5 gasoline. Anybody coughing up $78,965 (as-tested) surely won’t care. Almost shedding a tear as I left the car at the airport, I contemplated filling it up and driving it all the way home. At least then there’d be something to warm my winter blues.
2013 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
Four-passenger, RWD coupe
Powertrain: 451hp, 6.3-liter V8, seven-speed automatic transmission
Suspension f/r: Elect. Ind/Ind
Wheels: 18”/18” alloy f/r
Brakes: disc/disc fr/rr with ABS
Must-have features: Power, prestige
0-62 mph: 4.4s
Top speed (governed): 155 mph
Fuel economy: 13/19 mpg city/hwy
Assembly: Bremen, Germany
Base/as-tested price: $62,330/$78,965