The onset of Spring has left me in a whimsical frame of mind and in celebration of this fact I’ve decided to completely waste your time with a car you will never consider buying. Not only will you never buy one, if you see someone who has you can rest assured they signed the contract in crayon because they’re not allowed to play with sharp objects. This is a car for the cataclysmically deranged.
If you’re the sort of person who drives a medium-sized, four-door saloon you might think that a Mercedes C-Class would be a reasonable choice. You might even manage to maintain that thought until the moment you wander into the showroom and see a price tag that says £66,000. That’s the moment you find yourself standing amid the shattered remains of your illusions. Who in their right mind spends 66,000 of their hard-earned pounds on a car that usually costs half that amount? Somebody who is only allowed crayons, that’s who. And it gets worse. Let the crayon wielding buffoon anywhere near the options list and that £66k quickly rockets to more than £80k. It turns out the Germans do have a sense of humour after all.
It may still be a four-door saloon with comfortable seats, acres of space and an enormous boot but gone are the sensible 4-cylinder engines that inhabit the front of the standard car. Gone are the normally restrained and elegant lines of the C-Class. This Mercedes generates a massive 510bhp from a 4-litre, Bi-Turbo V8 monster. The body bristles with aerodynamic vents, cavernous air intakes, quad exhausts and a sculpted boot spoiler that wouldn’t look out of place above the Queen’s fireplace. The interior may be trimmed in Nappa leather with high-gloss and chrome trim but the AMG display, racing steering wheel and sculpted seats are definitely not standard features on the regular saloon.
This is a car spawned deep within the hellish bowels of AMG, where power, handling and noise are the unholy trinity. Where a coven of the brightest and boldest engineers took a perfectly good saloon car and allowed insanity free reign. Forget economy, forget subtlety, forget what it was like to not drive everywhere in a permanent state of raw terror. Driving the end result of this monstrous experiment is like riding an enraged T-Rex – bareback and without reins! This is the latest Mercedes C63 S AMG.
You may think I’m exaggerating but the C63 S is as close to undriveable as its possible to get with a valid MOT. Pressing the starter is akin to poking a sleeping bear with a pointy stick – there’s a brief moment of silence before all hell breaks loose. Apply the slightest pressure on the accelerator and the horizon leaps through the windscreen so quickly you may emit an involuntary scream. Luckily you won’t hear it because the bellow from the exhaust will have deafened you. Mercedes have helpfully provided a handful of driving modes from Comfort to Race, via Sport and Sport+, but don’t be fooled because even with the engine response, gear change and suspension dialled down to Comfort the C63 S still launches itself off the line like a scalded cat. Only a fool would select Race mode because not only does it make the car even angrier, it also turns off the vitally important traction control.
When you can go from standstill to 60mph in 4 seconds flat, the gaps required to safely overtake can be measured in inches rather than yards. On a long straight road that kind of performance is awe inspiring, unfortunately the only roads straight enough tend to arrow across American deserts. In the tranquil countryside of England, where every hill can hide a bend and every bend can hide a tractor, all that happens is your heart rate increases tenfold and you sweat profusely. To be fair to Mercedes, the car is perfectly capable of handling these corners at breakneck speed, I got the distinct impression that the C63 S could handle anything, anytime, anywhere, but the weak link in the chain was always going to be the driver. Driving through town is even worse for two reasons: Negotiating heavy traffic is like trying to restrain an overexcited elephant – with the best will in the world you’re simply along for the ride – and when you stop you’ll be struck by just how conspicuous you feel. When I took one out for a test I couldn’t decide what was worse, the pitying looks from those people who were thinking “mid-life crisis” or the endless shouted appeals from schoolchildren to “give it some revs”.
So what’s the verdict on the Mercedes C63 S AMG? A car so conspicuous you’ll want to add a balaclava to your driving attire. A car so loud you’ll wake the neighbours every time you leave for work early. A car so powerful you don’t so much drive it as cling on for dear life. It’s loud. It’s vulgar. It’s expensive. It’s totally unsuitable for everyday life. It’s completely stupid and utterly pointless. It left me terrified, clammy, trembling with exhilaration and I’ve never wanted anything more than I want one of my very own. It’s a breathtaking feat of engineering, it handles brilliantly, it goes like a stabbed rat and if I ever win the lottery I’ll be writing all future columns in crayon…..