Mercedes-Benz C63

The Mercedes-Benz C63's compact styling hides a colossal engine

It's the size of a Mondeo – slightly smaller, actually – and it has a 6.2-litre V8 engine able to pull with the power of 457 horses. Even the keenest car nut might wonder if we're into overkill here. What is a compact-ish saloon doing with so much power? And how do you squeeze in so much engine?

Open the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG's bonnet and it does seem densely packed in there. But the vast engine fits, which it wouldn't were the C63 configured with the transverse engine and front-wheel drive of the C-class range's non-German rivals. True, the BMW M3 and Audi RS4 are also mid-size saloons with unlikely V8 engines. But neither has a thumping great 6.2-litre.

To buy a C63 AMG will cost you around £55,000. That's a lot for a C-class, but then no other comparable car can cannonball itself to 62mph in 4.5 seconds. It's not just the figure, though – it's the way the feat is achieved, which is worryingly easy. There's no messing around with clutch and gear lever here. You just put your foot down and blast off.

Maybe having a seven-speed automatic gearbox takes away the fun. An ESP system keeps the forces under control when needed, but there's more amusement to be had when using the gearbox manually and switching the ESP to its more liberal Sport setting.

The seven-speed Mercedes automatic is usually a frustrating device in manual use, the multiplicity of ratios confusing as they blur together, the transmission taking over when you don't want it to. You might select third but the transmission regards this as "all gears up to and including third", and performs jerky downshifts when you don't want them.

Not so the AMG Speedshift. It stays in the gear you asked for, it locks the torque converter so there's no slurring within gears and the drivetrain stays properly solid, and – best of all – it performs a throttle blip on the downshift like the sequential-manual transmission of, say, a Ferrari. This not only sounds good but also smooths the shift and eliminates surging.

The manual shift is quick enough to be a useful aid to brisk driving rather than a gimmick. You can even switch off the ESP if you want to perform powerslides, but there's little point – it always comes back in under braking, anyway.

So this is one fast car. It's limited to 155mph, but if you buy the optional AMG performance package (as if), the limit is revised upwards to 174mph.

That's allowed because the package includes carbon-ceramic brakes, lower and firmer suspension, a limited-slip differential and a driver training course. So how fast would the C63 go if there was no speed limiter at all? The engineers reply that they do not know, because they haven't measured it on account of the tyres' maximum speed rating.

I see no need for the performance package in the UK. Not just because of the unlikelihood of doing 174mph, but because even the C63's suspension is so firm already as to make it, I suspect, a bit tiresome on our roads.

Lumpy ride apart, the AMG is a delight through fast, twisting roads. The wheels are set more widely apart than in the standard C-class by means, partly, of revised front suspension whose new steering-pivot axes help make the steering particularly precise. BMW's engineers should try a C63 to discover what the M3's anaesthetised steering ought to feel like.

Of course, the C63 looks a lot more aggressive than a regular C-class, with its fattened front wheellarches, and its scoops and vents. The AMG interior treatment is quite restrained, the highlight being the excellent seats with their deep side bolsters.

This is a fine and highly enjoyable car, if a hard one to justify to those who don't understand. And despite the monstrous engine, it's rated at a relatively frugal 21.1mpg. But no one is going to drive a C63 AMG that gently, because then there would be no point in having one. Over to you, conscience.

Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Administrative Assistant

    £60 - £75 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Administrative Assitant Hertford...

    Web Application Support Manager

    £60000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reigate...

    ** Secondary History Teacher Required In Liverpool **

    £120 - £165 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

    ** Secondary Geography Teacher Required In Liverpool **

    £120 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: Job opportunities for Secon...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments