2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe: Rocketlike Excitement in a Small Package
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Mercedes Benz has up-powered and up-teched its third generation of C-Class AMG coupes and has set the fall for launching the all-new C63 AMG.
The Mercedes-Benz C-class is its compact designation first introduced in 1993 as a replacement for the 190. At the time it was released, the segment gained the nickname “Baby-Benz”.
An off-shoot of that class is the AMG group. AMG was established in 1967 to develop high-performance racing engines and gets its initials from its founders: Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher (the A and M). Aufrecht’s birthplace, Grossaspach, Germany supplied the third letter (G) for AMG.
The initial Mercedes-Benz AMG, the C32, took its name in 1995 from its 3.2 engine, and the 4.3-liter engine was placed in the C43 in 1997. The second-generation deviated slightly for an unknown reason and named the 5.4-liter V-8 engine-bearing vehicle the C55 in 2005. This third-generation iteration, named the C63 AMG is powered by a 6.2-liter powerplant and gains a digit as well (why it isn’t the C62 is beyond me).
The C63 AMG is reportedly the first AMG-Mercedes designed from the ground up for performance, as compared to previous AMG cars, which essentially featured "bolt-on" performance modifications.
New revisions for 2012 include a restructured front-end architecture, a 7-speed transmission with three shift modes – Comfort, Sport and Manual, a promised increase in steering responsiveness and a new 6.2-liter engine.
The 3816-lb. two-door, four passenger coupe, manufactured with steel unibody construction, measures 185.3 inches long, 69.7 inches wide and 54.6 inches high on a 108.7-inch wheelbase, providing a ground clearance of 4.2 inches.
With a low profile, power-dome hood, powerful shoulderline, narrow C-pillars, sharply raked windshield that combines with a bubble roof and sloping rear window in fastback fashion, short rear deck and chromed twin tailpipes, the 2012 C63 AMG Coupe is strikingly athletic. The grillework emboldened by the large Mercedes star centered within twin slats to either side is symbiotic with AMG-specific LED daytime running lights and side air outlets, while and beside the wheelwell that houses the front 18-inch, 5-twin-spoke AMG light-alloy wheels painted in high-gloss Titanium Grey, the script “6.3 AMG” is emblazoned.
Paying off the badge is the vehicle’s power source, a huge 6.2-liter V-8 that gallops out 451hp and 443 lbs-ft of torque. Also available is the thundering 5.5-liter, 518-hp, 516-lbs-ft. twin-turbo that can be upgraded with a performance package to erupt 590 lbs-ft of torque. The manufacturer claims sub 4-second sprints with this set-up.
The 6.2-liter 90-degree V-8 DOHC engine with driven, variable valve timing matched to an AMG Speedshift Plus seven-speed multi-clutch automatic transmission with touch shift manual shift control and shift paddles, rocketed from zero to 60mph in 4.4 seconds during a 12.9-second quarter-mile trip.
The system is EPA rated at 13 city/19 highway and a short test in mixed use driving was good for a 15.2mpg average.
Rack-and-pinion speed-sensitive steering with hydraulic power assist and variable centering was responsive, and the power that jetted from the rear tires provided exciting oversteer. Holding a tight, quick cornering line is a challenge but this is a true driver’s car, not for the meek.
Four-wheel independent suspension with AMG springs and gas shocks, stabilizer bars, front struts with a two-piece control arm, antidive geometry and a five-arm multilink rear with anti-squat geometry are fine for the track and exceptional for routine highway and around town driving.
Power assisted 4-wheel vented disc brakes with ABS anti-lock brakes and brake assist display confident stopping power from the 18x8-inch front wheels and 18x9-inch rear wheels covered with Continental Sport Contact tires.
Interior dimensions show a coupelike 37.0 inches of front headroom and 35.5 in row two, shoulder room is 54.0 and 50.3 and legroom is 41.7 inches in front and a cramped 33.4 inches in the rear. Four six-footers would be uncomfortable here, but two adults in front and two children in the back would find lots to enjoy.
Interior items include dual zone climate controls, interior active charcoal air filter, leather sport multi-level heating 8-way power front seats with lumbar support, remote power door locks, one-touch power windows, cruise control, universal remote transmitter (for garage door, security system), tilt and telescopic steering wheel with transmission and audio controls, alloy and leather trim throughout, trip computer, 12-speaker Harman/Kardon entertainment system, AM/FM in-dash single CD player with CD MP3 playback stereo, Sirius satellite radio, auxiliary audio input and iPod integration, USB connection and Bluetooth wireless data link for hands-free phone.
Safety features include front and rear head airbags, dual front and dual rear bags with head protection chambers, side-mounted airbags, passenger airbag occupant sensing deactivation, child seat anchors, passenger head restraint whiplash protection system, driver head restraint whiplash protection system, remote anti-theft alarm system, emergency braking assist, front and rear ventilated disc brakes, engine immobilizer, dusk sensing headlamps and tire pressure monitoring.
The car had not yet been stickered when I tested it, but Mercedes-Benz has indicated that the 2012 C63 AMG coupe should start between $61,175 and $63,500 when it debuts this fall, and the REAL drive-off price, including a few upgrades and destination charges should approach $70,000.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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