Apparently this big, bluff seven-seater is the sportiest SUV in its segment ...
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The Top Gear car review:Mercedes-Benz AMG C63
For:Bombastic engine, engaging drivetrain, friendly chassis, multiple bodystyles
Against:We’re struggling. Modes are all a bit complicated?
What is it?
It’s the compact V8 family supercar for all occasions. Unlike rivals from Alfa Romeo, BMW and Audi, the Mercedes-AMG C63 is available not just in two power outputs, but a full four bodystyles. You can have a deliciously wide-arched, outrageous-looking two-door C63 Coupe, or a canvas-roofed C63 Cabriolet. Need four doors? Then choose between the subtle C63 Saloon, and the coolest of the long: the rare and special C63 Estate.
All four variants are available in standard 463bhp/479lb ft C63 guise, or in C63 S tune, complete with 503bhp, 516lb ft, a Race mode and a ratcheted traction control system that lets you turn up or dial down how much assistance you’d like.
And that’s the tip of a technical iceberg. For the revised 2018 family of C63s, there are two headlines: a new gearbox – inherited from the AMG E63 big-brother – and a LOT of modes.
Modes for the differential – which is now electronically actuated in both the C63 and C63 S - modes for the suspension, the engine, gearbox, exhaust, traction and stability control… even the standard-fit digital dashboard has three different display choices.
Just about the only things you can’t choose are steering weight (always meaty) and that controversial new AMG GT-R-style front grille. Great news if you’re a horror movie fan – it’s part Hannibal, part Jason from Friday the 13th…
Rivals include the Alfa Romeo Giulia (saloon only), the BMW M3 and M4 (saloon, folding hard-top and coupe, but no wagon) and the Audi RS4 and RS5 (no cabrio or saloon), plus the more artisan Lexus RC F coupe if you’d like your V8 thrills sans supercharger. Thing is, while these cars all score points over the C63 family in minor areas, none is able to beat them overall as a package.
The AMG twins the sharpest, strongest, most exciting engine in its class with an absurdly friendly, approachable chassis, masses of real-world speed fun, and now, it has the tech and the gearbox to live up to the rest of the package. It’s a firm ride, but by no means stiff enough to put us off. Real-world performance cars don’t get better than this in 2018.