Mercedes AMG C63 2018 Coupe
No, the Newport Pagnell firm hasn’t been taken over by Mercedes but with their small shareholding in Aston, they now share many common parts.
The result is that the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 in this hot C-Class is the same as that in the new £120,000 Vantage.
A bit of an imaginative stretch perhaps but that is not to suggest for a moment that the AMG C63 is a short straw – far from it.
Unlike some of its rivals, Mercedes has opened up the appeal of this C-Class so that it is available in the full range of body styles – from saloon and estate to the convertible and this coupe.
We must admit to being big fans of the C-Class Coupe’s styling but this AMG takes that a step further.
As well as the most recent updates, the uprated ‘S’ model (an extra £9,000) gets 19in alloy wheels and a look that is dominated by the over-sized three-pointed star on the new AMG-specific front grille.
We aren’t quite convinced about the carbon-fibre lip spoiler on the edge of the boot lid, but at the same time can imagine it looking bare without it. Given that engine-sharing introduction, it more than has the power to live up to those looks, too.
There is a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine with an incredible 476bhp.
C63’s rear view would look bare without a carbon-fibre lip spoiler
And just in case you feel that huge figure is not enough to pull the skin off a bowl of Ambrosia’s finest, you can also opt for the ‘S’ version of the car which comes with an eye-watering 510bhp.
The latter is enough to get the Mercedes coupé from 0 to 60mph in just 3.9 seconds and on to a 180mph top speed.
With that kind of pace, the C63’s performance at the pumps probably isn’t quite as much of a priority for most potential owners but it returns 27.9mpg and has 230g/km emissions.
Neither are likely to see you get a Christmas card from Friends of the Earth but at the same time they are pretty good under the circumstances.
Of course, those on-paper statistics are all well and good but when it comes to a car with that AMG badge on its boot, it is about how it drives as much as how fast it goes. And here is where the C63 really scores.
Steering wheel uses clever touch pad controls
The C63 puts all of that power through the rear wheels, rather than featuring four-wheel drive, which means it needs to be treated with respect.
Just how much respect is required is underlined by the six driving modes and the nine (yes, nine) different settings for the traction control system. Why it needs nine settings when three – on, off and a midway option – would be adequate, is a mystery.
The fact that the C-Class is fast in a straight line goes without saying – but it still takes your breath away.
The first time you use the paddles behind the steering wheel to change down a couple of gears and flex your right foot in anger, the car leaps up the road ahead of you, accompanied by a gorgeous V8 howl.
The engine is so perfectly matched to the nine-speed automatic gearbox that even changing up a gear puts you straight back into the C63’s powerband, meaning the lull in any surge forward is very brief indeed.
And it’s no exaggeration to say you are almost certain to run out of clear road before the C63 runs out of power.
But better than that is that despite all those horses under your right foot, the C-Class never remains anything other than very usable and also highly controllable.
With the aforementioned settings set for a slightly more entertaining driving experience, the C63 is incredibly controllable and adaptable even halfway through a corner. Information is continually fed back through the steering wheel and the driver’s seat about what the car is doing beneath you in a way only serious sports cars usually do.
And while in many ways the C63 can feel like a slightly old-school muscle car from yesteryear with all that power, it responds well to a more delicate touch and finesse which enables you to get the best from it.
Perhaps most surprising is just how well behaved the C-Class is when you are not pressing on, proving a reasonably quiet cruiser during motorway driving.
0 to 60mph in just 3.9 seconds and on to a 180mph top speed
Inside, the build quality and materials are immaculate.
The machined-alloy look on the centre of the dashboard and the transmission tunnel might not be to everyone’s taste but we rather like it.
We aren’t as convinced about the alloy finish for the steering wheel controls, though, or the rotary switch for the driving modes (a touch borrowed from Ferrari) which can be switched via other nearby controls anyway.
But what we do like is the miniature touchpad control on the steering wheel which allows you to swipe through the infotainment system. Not everyone we spoke to liked it but we found it intuitive and easy to use.
While there is also a good driving position thanks to a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel and seat, it still felt a little high for us even at its lowest setting.
The C63 puts all of that power through the rear wheels, rather than featuring four-wheel drive
The heavily bolstered AMG Performance seats in the S version also hold you tighter than a limpet that’s just returned from a gap year, so you’d better not have been skipping too many gym sessions lately. The rear seats, as you might expect, are good enough for young teens but adults won’t want to be in there for long.
Then again, if you want more practicality, there is always the saloon or estate models. Overall, there is a lot to like about this AMG C63.
For all its incredible performance and excellent build quality, perhaps its greatest appeal is that it is a very quick sports car.
Yes, there is all the AMG addenda we mentioned earlier but out-performing and providing more fun than this C-Class Coupé on road or track usually requires a lot more compromise and cost than this.
And with that AMG badge and the same V8 engine, who needs an Aston Martin?
The new car costs between £88,719-£77,698 to buy
● Model: Mercedes-AMG C63 Coupe
● On sale: September
● Price range: £68,719-£77,698
● Engine: Petrol – 4.0-litre, twin-turbo
● Power: 0 to 60mph in 3.9 seconds, 180mph top speed
● Average fuel economy: 27.9mpg
● CO2 emissions: 230g/km
● Rivals: BMW M4, PorscheCayman S
● Rating: 9/10