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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - C-Class - C63 AMG coupe

First look: Merc’s mad new M3 chaser

Formidable: Mercedes' new two-door C63 AMG has its sights firmly set on the BMW M3.

Benz reveals its most fearsome BMW M3 rival ever – the C63 AMG Coupe

Mercedes-Benz logo21 Mar 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

MERCEDES-BENZ has finally produced a direct rival for BMW’s iconic M3 Coupe and Audi’s ballistic RS5 Coupe, the C63 AMG Coupe.

Confirmed for Australian release alongside the facelifted C63 AMG sedan (Australia’s top-selling AMG model) and wagon in September, the all-new two-door C-class AMG promises considerably more focus and aggression than the long-forgotten CLK63 AMG coupe.

On paper, it moves straight to the top of its class with a benchmark-setting 0-100km/h acceleration claim of just 4.5 seconds, which is no quicker than the four-door C63 AMG sedan but one-tenth better than both the RS5 and (DCT-equipped) M3 coupes.

Like the C63 sedan, however, the new AMG coupe will be available with an optional ‘AMG performance package’ that increases peak power by 22kW, from 336kW to 358kW at the same 6800rpm, and lowers its 0-100 sprint time by a further tenth to 4.4 seconds.

As with the sedan’s AMG performance kit, which currently costs $15,000 and has so far attracted 30 per cent of Australian C63 buyers, peak torque is unchanged at 600Nm at 5000rpm and maximum speed remains an electronically limited 250km/h.

However, also like the C63 sedan, the C63 Coupe returns combined EU fuel consumption of 12.0L/100km – more than the 331kW RS5 (10.8L/100km) and around the same as the 309kW M3 (11.9 manual, 12.4 auto).

Borrowing components from the gullwing-doored SLS AMG super-coupe’s dry-sump V8, the AMG performance pack comprises forged pistons, conrods and a lightweight crankshaft to shave 3kg from the weight of the C63’s naturally aspirated 6.2-litre V8.

The AMG pack is visually differentiated by a titanium grey painted inlet manifold, higher performance brakes featuring composite front discs instead of the usual iron, red brake callipers, a carbon-fibre boot spoiler and a leather/Alcantara AMG steering wheel.

4 center imageThe C63 two-door is based on the all-new C-class Coupe that made its global debut alongside the facelifted C63 AMG sedan at the Geneva motor show earlier this month and goes on sale here in July – a month after the facelifted C-class sedan arrives.

It therefore offers all the fresh technology introduced in the 2011 C63 sedan and wagon, including a more efficient speed-sensitive power steering pump with more direct 13.5:1 ratio and a “Controlled Efficiency” mode for its standard AMG Speedshift MCT seven-speed automatic transmission that cuts shift times to as little as 100 milliseconds.

The auto features a wet start-off clutch to replace the torque converter fitted in garden-variety Mercedes models and, in this case, an M3-style launch control function that is accessed via a rotary controller also carried over from the SLS.

Like the C63 sedan, AMG’s newest model gets a different chassis set-up to the model on which it is based, courtesy of wider wheel tracks at both ends, more negative camber, thicker anti-roll bars and revised spring and damping rates for the three-link front and multi-link rear suspension systems.

The C63 AMG Coupe is differentiated from lesser C-class Coupe models by an exclusive AMG aluminium bonnet with dual ‘power domes’, clear-lens headlights and an AMG front bumper with prominent three-pointed star emblem, high-gloss black lower cross strut, AMG-specific LED daytime running lights and side air outlets.

The AMG look extends to the rear, via a black diffuser insert with three pronounced diffuser fins and a pair of twin chromed exhaust outlets, titanium grey-painted five-spoke AMG alloy wheels fitted with 235/40 R 18 (front) and 255/35 R 18 (rear) tyres, and front quarter guards graced by ‘6.3 AMG’ badges.

Borrowing interior elements from the turbocharged CLS63 AMG four-door coupe, which arrives here in July, the C63 Coupe cabin features a three-dimensional colour display in the middle of the redesigned speedo, high-gloss piano-black dash and instrument panel highlights, and three separate round instruments to display speed, engine rpm, fuel level and coolant temperature.

Other exclusive additions include new one-piece sports seats with Artico/Dinamica fake suede trim and a steering wheel with flat top and bottom sections, metallic trim element, perforated leather grip areas and aluminium shift paddles.

Naturally, the C63 AMG Coupe inherits all the advances introduced in the facelifted C-class sedan and new C-class Coupe, including a new telematics system with internet access when the car is stationary, telephone directory transfer via Bluetooth, wireless music reproduction and a USB interface in the centre console. The sat-nav system can store three alternative routes.

As with all 2011 C-class models, the four-seater AMG coupe will come standard with seven airbags, seatbelt tensioners and force-limiters for all seats, ESC, ABS brakes, Attention Assist, Headlamp Assist and cruise control with Speedtronic variable speed control.

However, the usual array of European options will include Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Distronic Plus including BAS Plus, Speed Limit Assist, Intelligent Light Systems, Parktronic including Parking Guidance, Pre-Safe and Pre-Safe Brake, Lane Keeping Assist and Blind Spot Assist.

In Europe, there will also be the choice of four single-tone and three two-tone Designo leather colours, high-gloss 18-inch alloys, 19-inch matt-black or titanium grey alloys, an AMG Exterior Carbon Fibre package, a carbon/piano-black interior package, illuminated door sill panels, a locking rear differential and AMG floor mats.

Some of those features will be standard in Australia, but the C63 AMG Coupe is still expected to carry a price premium over the C63 AMG sedan, which currently costs $150,980.

While the C63 AMG Estate is priced at $152,900, BMW’s M3 Coupe starts at $158,300 and the M3 Convertible starts at $176,700.

The two-door C63 AMG will join the CL, CLS and SLS in the Mercedes-AMG coupe stable, but AMG versions of the larger E-class Coupe and Cabriolet are not expected to eventuate.

What’s coming from Mercedes-Benz:
C-class sedan facelift – June
C-class coupe – July
CLS/63 redesign – July
SLK redesign - July
E63 AMG – July
C63 AMG Coupe, sedan and wagon – September
SLK63 AMG – 2012
SLS convertible - 2012

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