Meat and three veg

Even on a tight rein, itís always Sport over Comfort

NATHAN PONCHARD

AFTER last monthís thrash-and-dash extravaganza, all to the tune of the C63 Sís bent-eight rumble, it was back to humdrum urban duties for the AMGís penultimate month on fleet.

A Motherís Day blast up the M1 reminded me just how luscious the C63 can be when chewing up distance, but itís a different beast when traversing the obstacle course of shopping-centre car parks.

Experience has shown that relying on the drivetrainís Comfort mode, and thereby cancelling out first gear, is anything but comfortable for the C63. As the transmission slips and slurs trying to channel enough torque to the rear wheels, the C63 simply hangs about, wondering whatís going on. Itís especially hardgoing in Sydneyís tight inner-city parking stations, where steep ascents and brutal speed humps leave the C63 struggling to transfer all its rev flaring into smooth forward momentum.

The solution, as Iíve mentioned before, is Sport mode. And having relied solely on this set-up for months now, I reckon itís both more economical and a more relaxing experience than the ironically named Comfort.

Direct drive to first gear means the C63 steps off the line beautifully, supported by surprisingly progressive throttle response that ensures the rear boots donít instantly turn into whirly-birds in the wet.

And the Speedshift-MCT transmission doesnít needlessly hold onto gears like so many two-pedal cars when switched to Sport.

Instead, progression up its seven-ratio set mirrors how you might upshift in a manual, all to the tune of an angry nudge from the exhaust as it upshifts under load.

The Sport-primed transmission also eviscerates the top gear-obsessed Comfort setting by proving that you can have your cake and eat it too. Sport has no qualms settling into sixth or seventh, yet as soon as you call for instant forward thrust, AMGís gearbox is immediately on the case, briskly shifting down with dual-clutch-rivalling haste.

If you buy a car like the C63 S and only ever drive it in the city, youíre missing out on soooo much of this carís richness.

Leaving the parentsí joint, thereís a right turn at a tight roundabout, followed by an uphill on-ramp leading straight into a 100km/h zone. Itís like dropping a green flag in front of the C63. With ESP Sport engaged, I flattened the aluminium throttle pedal and the C63 simultaneously grabbed the lowest gear possible and the hotmix surface below, shoving both occupants in the back as it turned that incline into something more like a downhill ski run.

Then thereís the addictive sideways nudge from the tail as it barks into third, a not-so-subtle reminder that 375kW and 700Nm are doing the talking.

Even knowing whatís up its sleeve, the C63 S never fails to surprise and satisfy.

MERCEDES-AMG C63 S

Date acquired: December 2015 Price as tested: $165,610 This month: 428km @ 14.8L/100km Overall: 3382km @ 14.4L/100km

WEEK 21 34 44 3 0 0 5 8 9 5 3

URBAN COUNTRY SPORTS FAMILY MOTORWAY

Where to next?

The seed was planted during COTY testing last November. The order of events saw hot laps around Lang Lang in AMGís brutal GT coupe, followed by Suzukiís dorky Celerio ... yet somehow the little Suzi wasnít disgraced. So what better car to replace the C63 S, I thought, than its polar opposite, a micro hatch. The Celerio has already seen (sterling) service on these pages so the call is out to Holden for a Spark. In the meantime, however, Iíll be gorging on the AMGís V8 before the romance is over.