Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe

Thunder and reign, yesÖ but no lightening

NATHAN PONCHARD

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

HAVING spent the last six months living with a Cuptyred, ceramic-braked C63 S sedan, exposure to the Coupe version 54 of AMGís ballistic twinturbo V8 performance star is illuminating. Mainly because the Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe is more than just a prettier face.

Beneath its sleeker, sexier bodywork (not all parties agree here) hides a significantly altered and noticeably improved C63 S.

Not that there was anything wrong in the first place; itís just that this broader and burlier two-door version is simply better.

Countering an unexpected weight gain of 70kg, the Coupe fattens up where it counts. Beefier bodywork (64mm wider at the front and 66mm over the driving wheels) houses wider tracks at both ends (48mm front, 22mm rear) which, importantly, carry 5kg-lighter forged-alloy wheels at each corner. The very same wheel, in fact, that will star on Mercedes- AMGís flagship GT R when it launches later this year.

The C63 S Coupe needs to be special, and so it proves out on the road. While the differences arenít huge, the Coupe has a more planted feel, its broader footprint translating into both a higher grip limit and slightly sweeter balance.

While a direct comparison between my semi-slick-tyred, ceramic-braked long-term sedan and this Ďstandardí Coupe without either of those options is arguably unfair, the obvious improvement in the two-doorís genetic tweaking never goes unnoticed. And yet itís as progressive as ever, with an almost friendly transition into oversteer, juxtaposed against an even meatier exhaust note than its already thunderous siblings.

The C63 S Coupe feels to have undergone some spring and damper tuning, too. On reasonably well-surfaced but occasionally scarred Victorian roads, I stuck to Sport in the Coupe, relishing its firmer, more consistent steering response and taut body control.

In the sedan, I stick to Comfort because Sport is too firm, yet here it proves surprisingly liveable.

Other differences are purely down to opposing body types.

I adore the sedanís side profile but canít quite love its droopy tail-lights (I prefer the wagonís derriere), whereas the Coupe is much more elegant, at least in standard form.

Once you plump it up with all that AMG hardware, however, it looks kinda like a Hollywood glamour modelís upper lip, or a kid walking around wearing daddyís shoes. The scale isnít quite Ďnormalí, but then neither is the C63 S Coupe, so who cares if it looks like itís been injecting steroids? In this case, theyíre definitely working.

BMWís M4 should be very, very afraid. o ecting eyíre ery,

PLUS & MINUS

Heavier than the sedan; rear seat accommodation tight but useable A level up on the superb sedan; sweeter suspension tune; greater poise Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Kerb weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe 3982cc V8 (90į), dohc, 32v, twin-turbo 375kW @ 5500-6250rpm 700Nm @ 1750-4500rpm 7-speed automatic 1725kg 3.9sec (claimed) 8.7L/100km $162,400 Now

Rubber, meet road

Up front, the C63 S Coupe runs 255/35ZR19 Michelin Pilot Super Sports (10mm wider than the sedanís), while at the rear, chubby 285/30ZR20s fill the Coupeís rear arches. So the rear rubber is not only 20mm wider than the sedanís, itís also mounted on 20-inch rims. Mixed width and diameter. Must be special.