Johannesburg - It’s raining AMGs this week. Not only is the new straight-six ‘53’ family making its debut, but the new C63 S range is also making its grand entrance.
As before, you can choose between a sedan, priced at R1 546 600, a coupe at R1 609 100 and a Cabriolet, yours for R1 728 700.
Notice how the ordinary 'non-S' C63 is missing from that line-up? While it’s still offered overseas, the local outfit has opted to discontinue this model - clearly South African buyers are taking the “best or nothing” slogan quite seriously.
The 'best' is now also more visually distinctive from the rest of the range thanks to a new 'Panamericana' style front grille with vertical louvres, much like the one fitted to the GT sports car range. Look closely and you'll also see redesigned transverse fins in the outer air intakes, and an A-wing front apron that gives the front end a wider look. The rear end gets redesigned twin tailpipe trims in high-gloss chrome and a more distinguished diffuser.
Same motor, better gearbox
Beneath the bonnet things tick over just as before, and one could argue that the C63 S was already more than wild enough to begin with, the 4-litre twin-turbo still producing 375kW and 700Nm, which is enough, according to the experts, to blast to 100km/h from standstill in 3.9 seconds in coupe form, with the sedan taking four seconds flat and the cabrio 4.1. Top speeds are electronically limited to 290km/h in the case of the sedan and coupe and 280km/h in the cabrio.
The engine is mated to a new AMG Speedshift nine-speed MCT 9G multi-clutch gearbox, which replaces the previous seven-speed unit.
And yes, the C63 still channels all the power to the back wheels - unlike the all-wheel-drive C43, the C63 S remains a hard-core car that demands expert attention!
Sharpened chassis systems
Another alteration for 2019 is that the rear-axle limited-slip differential, fitted as standard, is now electronically controlled.
Furthermore, the ‘Dynamic Select’ system, which alters the engine, gearbox, steering, damping and exhaust parameters through selectable drive programmes, now offers a ‘Slippery’ mode in addition to the existing Comfort, Sport, Sport+, Race and Individual models. Adaptive damping, of course, is standard here.
There’s also a reconfigured ‘Dynamic Select’ stability control system that allows precisely measured torque vectoring on the rear axle. AMG says this system, which anticipates vehicle behaviour on the basis of driver action and info from various sensors, can provide useful assistance to even the most experienced of drivers without making them feel patronised. To that end, it even offers four different modes, namely: Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master. To enter ‘Master’ mode (only recommended for race circuits), the driver must switch the ESP to ESP Sport handling mode or to ESP Off.
But wait, it gets even more intricate as the traction control system furthermore allows drivers to choose from nine levels of rear axle slip (once the ESP has been turned off), ranging from a high safety reserve to maximum hooliganism.
Digital does it
Stepping inside, the C63 S comes with a new flat-bottomed AMG sports steering wheel with heavily contoured rims, while buyers can now opt for a fully digital instrument cluster, which remains tucked away in its own separate instrument cowl, rather than joined to the main infotainment screen as it is in other Benzes.
Not only does the instrument cluster offer three AMG specific display styles, but it also makes plenty of dynamic data available to the driver, while the Track Pace menu gives visualisations of race circuits as well as sector and lap times. Opt for the head-up display and you can even have circuit graphic, bends, braking points, delta speed and absolute times displayed within easy view on the windscreen.
The C63’s cabin is upholstered in black Nappa leather, and buyers can choose between longitudinal-grain aluminium and piano-lacquer interior inlay trimmings, while new available trim options come in the form of oak wood, open-pore walnut wood and matte silver fibreglass.
AMG Performance seats, with additional lateral support, are available as an option.