How Mercedes’ C63 AMG S turned our novice driver from a man into a boy (racer)
Picture the scene: there is a well-dressed, mild-mannered man sitting in the driver’s seat of an impressively slick, white Mercedes in the Dubai Media City multi-story car park. He has been sitting there in a parking space for ten minutes, contemplating, deep in thought.
That person was me. Now I could tell you that after picking up the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG S Sedan that I was sitting there admiring the luxurious Artico man-made leather clad dashboard or the IWC-designed analogue clock, but being completely honest - as is the aim of this column - I was actually trying to find my RTA parking card. It had somehow slipped off the dashboard and guzzled into the belly of this luxury sports sedan.
Not knowing much about cars - and knowing even less about the inner workings of them - I decided not to risk poking my oil-resistant fingers about under the hood of the Dhs360,000 Mercedes, and instead leave it to the clever people at the garage to sort out when it was due back. As for the immediate issue regarding the lack of a parking card, I had two options: pay for parking and go into the office like a responsible grown-up, or y’know, the opposite.
The urban streets of Dubai aren't the best of testing grounds for track-capable cars but, let’s be honest, after scratching that itch and splashing out on a new car, they will inevitably be the roads you find yourself on most often. On those roads, the C63 AMG is right at home. Gliding round corners and in-and-out of lanes (with gentle lane-monitoring buzzes from the steering wheel, and audible pings from blind-spot indicators), the car simply exudes road presence, inflating the driver’s confidence to the levels of a ballsy twenty-something with every overtaking manoeuvre.
Since becoming a parent, what I look for in a car has changed. Safety features, fuel economy, ample boot space and Isofix seat attachments have replaced engine-size, horse-power and torque on top of the list of necessities. Fortunately, as a sedan, the C63 AMG ticks all those dad-friendly boxes – and, in fact, it even has the honor of being the world’s most fuel-efficient eight-cylinder car. However, as part of Mercedes’ AMG range, it also caters to that deep-seated, boy-racer urge which constantly asks: Let’s see what this baby can do!
Any regular reader of this column will be accustomed to the fact that my starting knowledge of cars would struggle to fill the back of a Salik tag. One of the biggest roadblocks I struggle with is deciphering car names.
Not only do you firstly have to classify the type of vehicle: sedan; coupe; hatchback; compact; SUV etc. but, also the model. Mercedes, for example, offers A-Class [compact, sporty run-arounds]; B-Class [more luxury versions of the A-Class]; C-Class [comfortable, executive cars]; and S-Class [sportier showy cars] models. If they are off-road capable then they are affixed with a GL tag, while roadsters are SL. You get that? Me neither.
In fact, the overly alpha-numeric C63 AMG S Coupe is a great example. As part of the C-Class range, the C63 model was created to be an accessible introduction to a luxury Mercedes - especially the Coupe (four-door) version. Where things become interesting with this particular model, is the inclusion of the three letters: AMG. That suffix indicayes that it is part of Mercedes’ performance-focused range.
The heavily-bolstered driver’s seat (which physically wedges you in your seat) is the first tip-off this car was built with performance very much in mind. There’s even a button on the central console that simply exists to make the exhaust louder. Lovely.
Roared on by a sexy, hand-crafted AMG 4-litre, V8 bi-turbo engine that can produce 503hp, and will rocket you to 100kph in 3.9secs, it is a car that you could easily imagine yourself dropping your kids off at school in (so they can brag to their friends), and then spend the rest of the day laying down rubber at the Yas Marina circuit, like a naughty school kid bunking off class.
It’s not just the speed of the C63 AMG that’s impressive, with a host of driving aids - including a parking assist option that projects an overhead view of the car on screen - it is seriously tech-savvy, with multiple pre-set suspension and seat settings that are easily controlled via steering wheel navigations.
After a few days of staying out late, playing with my shiny new hp503 toy, I drop the car back. When the mechanic presents me with my newly liberated parking card the full weight of adult responsibility returns. The truth is the responsible adult in me doesn’t really have a need for this car, but the thrill-seeking adult in me wants it. He really wants it.