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Driven: Mercedes AMG C63 off to strong start

Launch control: Australian AMG fans had already started putting hard cash down on the new AMG C63 range before the car had even arrived.

300 deposits already placed for Mercedes C63 AMG, Coupe here Q2 2016

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Mercedes-Benz logo17 Jul 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

MERCEDES-BENZ is predicting a strong reception for its all new AMG C63 S high-performance range with more than 300 deposits already taken for the sedan and Estate, and a Coupe version expected to garner more interest from the second quarter of 2016.

With the Sedan and Estate now officially on sale from $154,900 and $157,400 before on-road costs, avid Australian AMG fans are already putting their money on the table, and the German car-maker says it’s just the start of a good run.

Speaking at the Festival of AMG at Bathurst, Mercedes-Benz Australia senior manager of public relations, product and corporate communications David McCarthy told GoAuto the significant number of deposits was “not really” a surprise, likening the potential of the C63 to the A45 AMG hatchback success.

“We have 300,” he said. “It’s fair to say there’s a lot of anticipation for a car like this. I saw what happened with A45. It just went ballistic.” But where the A45 suffered from severe supply shortage and huge demand, Mr McCarthy said the C63 was less likely to leave customers waiting as long, thanks to Australia’s strong performance when it comes to selling AMG products.

“Supply is always an issue for us, but hopefully we won’t end up with an A45 situation,” he said.

“We have a good bargaining position with AMG. We’ve got the runs on the board so getting another 50 or 100 cars a year is not as difficult as it sounds, but you’ve got to take them off someone else.” Mr McCarthy said the C63 waiting list was currently standing at about six months compared to more than a year for the A45 when it launched.

“At one point we had a waiting list on A45 that was 14 months or 15 months,” he said. “If you haven’t ordered one (C63) now you’re not going to be able to get one before January or February.” Mr McCarthy would not talk about sales predictions for the new model, but did say the new C63 could outsell the previous version with an even stronger range, bolstered by the arrival of the third variant.

“I don’t see why not,” he said. “There’s no lack of demand for these cars but I think this car is another step.

“The Coupe will be unveiled at Frankfurt and you’re probably looking second quarter (of 2016) for us. This car is another level of accomplishment in terms of braking and grip. It’s got incredible poise.” Mercedes had previously considered a second less powerful version of the C63 for the local range, which is offered in Europe, but Mr McCarthy said Australia’ s thirst for performance had ruled it out.

“They won’t buy it,” he said “History has shown us when we introduced performance pack on C63 the only people who bought non-performance pack were (for) dealer stock.” Instead, Australia is getting only the most powerful AMG C63 S version, and each of the 375kW 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8s is hand-built by just one person at AMG’s Afalterbach headquarters.

The same engine will power both sedan and wagon versions, sending torque to the back wheels via a seven-speed Speedshift multi-clutch automatic transmission and an electronically controlled limited-slip differential.

With 700Nm of torque, the C63 sedan can accelerate to 100km/h from zero in just 4.0-seconds – eclipsing its BMW M3 arch rival by a skinny 0.1-seconds – and will go on to a top speed of 250km/h, while the Estate matches the M3’s acceleration.

BMW does not offer a big-booted M3 Touring to do battle with Mercedes AMG Estate and the high-revving, normally aspirated Audi RS4 Avant.

Despite the serious performance, Mercedes says its venomous C63 S can still return 8.6 litres per 100km when driven more conservatively in the Drive Select C mode. Other settings include Sport+ and Race.

The C63’s exterior is set apart from standard C-Class models with a power-bulge bonnet, exaggerated bumpers with bigger air openings at the front and diffuser at the back, side skirts and front mudguards that broaden 14mm on each side and house 19-inch alloys.

Its four tailpipes are bi-modal, remaining quiet and restrained under normal cruising conditions but become vocal when the C63 is let off the leash.

Brakes are 360mm steel discs on the front and 330mm on the rear, and a ceramic composite set is available as an option. AMG’s ride control sports suspension is standard fare, offering the driver three-stage adjustable damping.

Inside, the AMG has a mixture of Artico synthetic leather and suede covering most surfaces from the dash to the door trims, as well as the deeply bucketed and electrically adjustable sports seats.

Customers wanting their C63 S with a touch more practicality will opt for the Estate, which offers boot space of 490 litres with the rear 40/20/40 split-fold seats raised, and 1510 litres with the rear bench folded.

The estate version is also likely to gain the hands-free opening system, which requires the waving of a foot to operate, as fitted to higher spec non-AMG wagon versions.

Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 S pricing*
Sedan (a) $154,900
Estate (a) $157,400
*Excludes on-road costs.

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