Johannesburg - Okay class, let’s start with the hierarchy. The Mercedes-Benz C63 coupé, which retails for R999 616 in SA, pushes 336kW and 600Nm from its naturally-aspirated 6.2-litre V8. Add 72 000 to that price tag and you can order the Performance pack, which pushes power to 358kW and 600Nm. Throw in yet another fifty grand and you can get yourself the recently-released Edition 507, with outputs of 373kW and 610Nm.
The reigning King of the C63 coupé stable was the 380kW/620Nm Black Series, which at R1 425 000 was over three hundred grand more than the Edition 507 – but ended its limited run in SA last year.
On test here then is both the current 63 coupé range-topper, and the newest member of this power-mongering club, the Edition 507.
The number in its nameplate, as you’ve probably guessed, is meant to signify horsepower. But it’s never really that simple – you get horsepower and you get horsepower.
The German carmaker chooses to declare its horses in metric terms, which is slightly watered-down when compared to good old-fashioned American horsepower. In other words, if you thought 500 horses was 373kW (like in a V10 BMW M5), 507 “pferdestärke” (ps) is 373kW here.
Nuances aside, this is one wide-awake 63, making 37kW and 10Nm more than an “entry-level” 63 coupé. And our sprint times concur. The 507 ran a 4.7 second 0-100km/h sprint time at our test facility at Gauteng altitude, with our Vbox clocking the quarter-mile at 12.9 seconds. In terms of the pecking order this is just about right, with our 0-100km/h test logs reflecting the standard C63 coupé slightly slower at five seconds, and the Black Series marginally quicker at 4.5 seconds.
The 6.2-litre engine has forged pistons and conrods, as well as a lightweight crankshaft and a more, shall we say, liberal engine management system – which allows the 507 a juicier 280km/h governed top-end. Stopping the 507 are composite discs, which are both vented and perforated for best biting power.
In terms of visual weaponry the 507 looks like it’s headed off to a Goth concert – in a good way. It sports the bonnet from the Black Series, with two huge nostrils, while 507-exclusives include cross-spoke 19-inch alloys coated with slivers of rubber (235/35 up front, 255/30 at the back), and AMG sports stripes above the side sills. Finishing the package is a neat boot spoiler, darkened headlamps, red brake calipers, and side mirrors and radiator surrounds done in a glossy black.
Sporty interior touches include the Alcantara-covered steering wheel with its 12-o’clock marking, the gearlever with a traditional AMG trademark badge, and the 507-exclusive dials with red-stripe illustrations.
LAST OF A KIND
It was a bit of a sad event testing the 507, as it’s probably the last time I’ll get to pilot a Merc powered by this naturally-breathing V8. I’ve grown very fond of it, having experienced it in varying degrees in everything from the SLS to the basic C63. It certainly has a very special vocal range, irrespective of body guise. A defining moment was driving an SLS Roadster, with the top down, through that tunnel in Monaco – very little compares to that lusty V8 roar.
Granted, the growl is not as thunderous in the 507, but it’s still enough to get neighbourhood dogs barking on start-up, and enough to keep you using the steering paddles for those vocally-expressive down-changes. But there is hope that the next-generation force-fed C-Class range-topper will sound the part – if Merc’s current V8 bi-turbos are anything to go by. The carmaker seems to understand the importance of aural pleasure.
When it comes to the 507 as a daily drive, the good news is that unlike the Black Series – which felt like the factory forgot to install the springs – this 63 is pliable on most road surfaces (even with the low-profile rubber). It’s a happy cruiser to work in the morning, with the Speedshift MCT 7-speed ‘box smoothly working its way through as many gears as possible for a smooth and uneventful ride.
Give the drive control selector a quick twirl to the right, where the Sport+ and Race Start (launch control) driver modes live, and the picture can get a little blurry. And it must be said here that Merc’s launch control is bulletproof, and should be easy to activate when that M3 lines you up at the lights. But Sport+ is all the Prozac you need to explore the point of this car – it matches throttle response to gear change, freeing you up to do some actual driving.
If I had to be critical I’d say that in the softer driver modes the gearbox is a little slow in responding to sudden throttle stomps, and that even in the hardest-core settings it battles to serve up razor-sharp changes – dual-clutch boxes found in competitor products are indeed sharper. Consumption is claimed at 12l/100km; but as can be expected we were nowhere near that lofty suggestion – our test car averaged 16.6l/100km.
The all-new C-Class sedan breaks cover in SA later this month – meaning the new coupé range shouldn’t be too far behind. If, like me, you’re a fan of the normally-aspirated 6.2 V8, this may be your last chance to own this powertrain in C-Class guise.
If you’re willing to spend a little more, the Edition 507 is a no-brainer. Being a special edition means it will hold value, while the AMG tweaks make for a real driver’s package. -The Star
Mercedes-Benz C63 Coupe Edition 507
Engine: 6.2-litre, V8 petrol
Gearbox: Seven-speed Speedshift MCT
0-100km/h (tested): 4.7 seconds
Top speed (claimed): 280km/h
Consumption (tested): 16.6 litres per 100km
Price: R1 121 616