2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG
No company has done more for the cause of the high-performance small car in recent years than Mercedes-Benz, or more specifically, the AMG high-performance division of Mercedes-Benz. The first C-Class to carry an AMG performance package was the six-cylinder C36 back in 1993, followed by the C43, the company's first V8 effort, in 2000, and in 2005, the C55 V8.
The new model, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, first introduced as a sedan, uses a completely new front-end design language, with the bar-and-star grille theme from the SLS gullwing coupe, fat fenders with 6.3 badges, large air intakes, cat's-eye LED headlamps, and black alloy multi-spoke wheels.
The 2012 C63 AMG is powered by a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 engine rated at 451 horsepower and 443 foot-pounds of torque, with a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz.
For 2012, that same powertrain is available in the coupe body, making it the most powerful C-Class coupe ever built. It more or less replaces the previous AMG coupe, the CLK 63 AMG, in the performance coupe lineup.
As with the E63 sedan, there is an optional AMG package that raises engine power to 481 horsepower, raises the electronically limited top speed form 155 to 174 mph, and lowers the 0-60 time by a tenth of a second. In either case, the transmission is a dual-clutch 7-speed overdrive automatic with four shifting modes and a RaceStart model selected by a rotary switch on the console.
The AMG package includes a special intake manifold with a titanium gray cover, AMG high-performance brakes with two-piece front rotors and red brake calipers, a carbon-fiber decklid spoiler, and an AMG performance steering wheel slathered in leather and Alcantara.
The chassis under the C63 AMG coupe includes 235/40R18 front and 155/35R18 rear tires, quick-ratio power steering, a special three-link front suspension, a reinforced multi-link rear suspension, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, and AMG high-performance brakes. The Electronic Stability Program has driver-selectable On, Sport and Off modes for racetrack sessions.
The 2012 C63 interior features an AMG sports steering wheel that has been flattened on the top and bottom to afford more driving room and better sightlines to the instruments during spirited driving, special grip areas, and shifter paddles. The AMG instrument panel is painted in piano black lacquer and the dashboard and doors feature aluminum, optional wood or carbon-fiber trims. The AMG-badged sports seats are covered in a new material called Dinamica, a man-made fabric that breathes, with MB-Tex side bolsters and horizontal stitching for coolness.
The sound system in the C63 is built for pleasant long-distance cruising, an HD radio with AM, FM, weather band, Sirius satellite, a single-CD changer, MP3, an iPod and MP3 media interface, an in-dash memory card reader, an AUX input and USB port, and Bluetooth, all playing through a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon Logic 7 surround sound system, displayed on a 5.8-inch control screen. There will be four option packages and 11 stand-alone options offered. Pricing for the C63 has not been announced. We're guessing it will retail for about $60,000. The C63 is expected to be in Mercedes-Benz dealerships this spring.