Merc’s entry-level hot hatch has grown a boot to take on the Audi S3 Saloon
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£97,710 when new
You might think the engine would be the focus in a car with 517bhp. But that’s not the case with the new Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe Black Series. While there is plenty of news under the bonnet, and we’ll get to that in a minute, it’s this car’s brakes and chassis that are the real standout features. The latest in a short line of Black Series cars, the only previous one worth remembering for the right reasons being the fabulously raucous CLK from four years ago, the C63 Coupe Black Series handles like a well-sorted touring car. It’s all about scrubbing off speed at the last moment, maintaining as much momentum as possible and sticking to the tightest line. It manages to pull off this racer act thanks to a comprehensive list of upgrades over the standard C63 Coupe. Six-way adjustable coil over shocks replace the standard units, there’s a limited slip diff as standard, the wheels are lightened versions, and the front and rear track widths have been kicked out substantially. With the Track package fitted the car also comes with super-sticky Dunlop tyres and a rear axle radiator. And with the Aerodynamic package, you get the full carbon fibre splitter/wing/flics arrangement. Brakes are now some huge carbon efforts which are both hugely powerful and full of feel. Perfect in other words. Rather than seeing the engine as a hopped-up version of the standard C63 AMG’s unit, it’s probably easier to view it as the non-turbo version of the CLS AMG’s engine. Because that’s exactly what it is. That means pretty much all of the internals are new, compared with the cooking C63’s motor.
What this means is that the soundtrack to go with the handling is just as emotive and fruity as the CLK’s. With no turbos to get in the way of the noise, the Coupe Black Series announces its arrival with a ragged V8 fanfare. You really could bottle and sell the snarling noise it makes. Inside the cabin, the big news is the new Performance Media pack. This allows you to capture all of the car’s dynamic heroics in the central system and then analyze them later. But you don’t need it to tell you how much fun you are having. That’s clear from every contact point you have with car the moment you get in. This is not just a good car, but a great one.
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