Tested: 2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG

2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Model | Shaun Keenan
2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Model | Shaun Keenan

The Sultan of Studio 63

(Yawn) My chauffeur seems slightly miffed. “The guy behind just turned left,” he says while checking the rearview mirror. “On the straight!” he chuffs before saying something in German to a colleague over the two-way radio in his right hand while nonchalantly holding the steering wheel with his left. My German is at best rudimentary, but I imagine he said something like: ‘Sheesh these guys are slow as molasses.’

Indeed they are. At every corner, the three South African writers following the lead car are falling farther and farther behind. They’re definitely a buzzkill. The driver says to me, “It’s an easy ride, yeah?” “These guys are kind of chill,” I reply. “No, these guys are slow.”

Bernd Schnieder looks over and smiles at me before giving some words of encouragement to the follow group over a second walkie-talkie. His points are moot though. My personal “Stig” still has to put it in park to give them a chance to catch up before the long, front straightaway. Meh.

It’s not every day you get the chance to try and chase down the most successful German touring car (DTM) driver of all time on a race track in southern Portugal. But when the time comes, you’d better make sure to make the best of it.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Model | Shaun Keenan
2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Model | Shaun Keenan

In its 48 years of existence, the performance and race engineering arm of Mercedes-Benz has created some truly iconic cars. The original AMG 300 SEL 6.8 “Red Pig,” the CLK GTR, SLS AMG and AMG GT all come to mind, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. There have been many lesser, but no less incredible AMG models since the days of the hippies. But only one can have the dubious distinction of being the tuner’s most successful product to date. That is the C 63 AMG.

The outgoing coupe-only version has been integral to AMG, more than doubling its sales since 2011 says Oliver Weich, Director of Vehicle Development. “It was, quite simply, a rocket ship for the road.”

I’m happy to report that is still the case on this latest version to come out of Affalterbach. It stays true to the V8 roots, with the company’s top-line “hot inside the V” 4.0-litre biturbo direct injection engine boasting two different output levels – 503 and 469 horsepower – for the S or non-S specifications, respectively. This is the very same engine the new flagship Mercedes-AMG GT S has, and it features Nanoslide cylinder liner technology to ensure the high-performance luxury saloon will have no trouble getting you to the office as quick as you dare, or lay waste to any racetrack you put it on without fuss.

2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Model | Shaun Keenan
2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S Model | Shaun Keenan

Three engines are available on the 2015 models, which start at $31,999. In Canada, the 2015 Edge Sport comes exclusively with a 315-horsepower 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 and all-wheel-drive for $13,200 more to start. All other trims offer a choice between FWD or AWD, and an all-new twin-scroll two-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder with direct injection making 245 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque, or?a 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated V6 that carries over from the previous generation with 280 horsepower and 250 lb-ft.

The Sport will come to market as advertised – sporty – and the Edge’s full-time, on-demand AWD system is a big reason for it. It has the ability to continually assess road conditions and driver inputs, and can transfer 100 percent of the available torque from the front to the rear. Beefed-up brakes are used to control torque delivery from side-to-side. Combined with an all-new body structure that is more resistant to bending and twisting, the results are very noticeable.

On the mountainous, desert roads outside of Scottsdale (in and around the Tonto National Forest in particular) the Sport model demonstrates that you can have a sporty, dynamic handling crossover vehicle without having to shell out the big bucks for a German steed. The $41,999 base MSRP is nothing to sneeze at, but it is a good value.

Continue reading my first drive review of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG S on the IGNITION LUXURY & PERFORMANCE website!