Mercedes-AMG C63 S

AMGís uber-sedan flat-out at Bathurst

TOBY HAGON

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

PULLING 220km/h cresting the hill on Mountain Straight at Australiaís most famous circuit gets the heart started on a chilly Bathurst day.

Anything pulling that sort of pace has to be seriously quick. In this case itís the mighty Mercedes- AMG C63 S and, using the same 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 as AMGís hero GT S, though with a wet sump instead of dry, itís a weapon befitting this iconic track.

With 700Nm, the feisty C63 triggers the traction control as it gets light over the blind crest that on a 60km/h lap of the track during any other day barely feels like a rise. After a brief electronically induced pause, the V8 is back and roaring throatily as it rushes towards Griffins Bend for the climb up this most challenging of race tracks.

Optional carbon-ceramic stoppers bite hard and the car hunkers down for the fast righthander, the nicely sticky Michelins slinking you safely around.

Even in aggressive Race mode, the traction control clearly limits punch as the rear fights for traction, but itís clean in its action, quickly unleashing the full 700Nm as things straighten up.

Pitching hard into the tight lefthander at The Cutting takes extra concentration as the light steering of the C63 quickly points the nose towards the apex. Then itís the final crest of the mountain before flowing the C through the string of left-handers that characterise the top of Mt Panorama.

This car is quicker than any four-door deserves to be, and impressively agile, which comes into play through the steep descent through The Esses and The Dipper. The 19-inch tyres protest regularly with a distinctive high-pitched squeal. But for road-going hoops they stand up impressively to the punishment.

Fire in too quickly and the nose understeers slightly, but thereís loads of grip before that. Similarly, too eager on the accelerator out of The Chase tests the traction at the nose. For a car with this much grunt the rear is surprisingly well tied down, albeit ready to wag and wheelspin without electronic assistance.

Thereís no shortage of grunt, something the throaty performance sedan relishes along Bathurstís many long stretches.

And while you can feel the weight with some leaning on quick direction changes Ė thereís a relatively heavy 1655kg to hurl around Ė the C63 S never feels flustered. Itís slick and composed, and impressively quick.

Some more weight to the steering, particularly through Bathurstís fast corners, would add to the already high levels of composure, but itís minor stuff for what is a hugely competent and brutally fast four-door.

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Mercedes-AMG C63 S 3982cc V8 (90į), dohc, 32v, twin turbos 375kW @ 5500-6250rpm 700Nm @ 1750-4500rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1655kg 4.0s (claimed) 8.6L/100km $154,900 Now

PLUS & MINUS

A lot more go than grip; steel brakes not up to demands of Bathurst Fantastic V8 performance and sound; four-door practicality

Benzís big business

MERCEDESí regular track days are often held at Phillip Island and have occasionally been staged at the Albert Park track during GP week.

This was the second time the event had come to Mount Panorama and the five-day exercise cost Benz about $1.5 million Ė before taking into account depreciation on the fleet of 90 AMGs present.

Interested? Donít get too excited because itís inviteonly, reserved for 72 AMG customers or prospects each day. They paid $3500 for hot laps in A45, CLA45, C63 S, E63, CLS63, SL63 and the brandís hero AMG GT.