My freshman year of college, my good friend Cole and I were hungry and wandering about campus somewhat aimlessly. We tried to go to the food court, put it had closed at 9:30, since apparently Midwesterners never eat after the sun goes down. We then went to the inconvenience store, which was closed, as always. In fact, the only time I ever saw it open was when I was walking between classes. Neither of us had a car (terrifying, I know), so we decided to walk down to 38th Street for some wings. This began as a joke, but somehow it turned into our plan for the night.
We set out on our 9.2 kilometre journey, not really thinking about how it would mostly be on the highway. Walking down the shoulder, or sometimes the median, or sometimes along a steep slope just off the road, isn’t the brightest move, we did it anyway. We even made it through a one kilometer stretch where the shoulder had been taken over by bushes and trees just off the highway. In order to keep moving forward, we hatched a plan that only two 18-year-old college students in need of some hot wings would come up with. We waited in the bushes until we couldn’t see any headlights coming our way, and then jumped out into the right lane and ran like hell. When we saw the road start to lighten, we jumped back into the bushes.
Eventually, we made it to the dodgy part of town, and had some wings. This is when I suggested that we could have simply ordered a pizza, like normal people. Anyway, I promise I’ll start talking about cars after the jump.
Regardless of how incredibly idiotic, inefficient, and straight-up dangerous this was, it is one of my favourite nights from my four years at Butler University. This is exactly how I feel about the Mercedes C63 AMG. It takes a Mercedes C-class, a perfectly sane thing, like getting food, and injects a dozen doses of crazy into it, like getting food by needlessly risking your life running around on the highway with a trench-coated maniac.
Getting into the car was as easy as getting into a normal vehicle, with the small, added task of dodging the side supports on the seats. This was easier than dodging cars on a dark highway, though. The seat hugged my body tightly and refused to let me move, which would prove to be a good thing later. However, I am 6′2″ and 75 kilos. Fatties should just stop reading right here. I started the engine, which made quite a bit of noise for a car that was idling, and looked around. Having made a pledge to myself not to review a car without testing the stereo, I got my official review CD out of its case and slid it into the player. Rather, I tried to. It wouldn’t go in, so I figured that someone must have left a disc in there and hit the eject button, thrice… nothing happened. Having ruled out that option, I tried to put my CD in the player again, to no avail. Finally, the salesman jumped in, pushed seven or eight buttons, and slid my CD into the player. The sound quality was good, but why couldn’t the engineers mad-scientists in Affalterbach had made a normal CD player. When I’m guiding 1730 kilos of metal at 140kph+, the last thing I need to be doing is reaching across the cabin to hit CD player activation button seven.
Then I looked at the gas pedal and the Benz launched itself forward, completely drowning out the stereo. Note to self: Gas pedal is very responsive. Then I hit a bump in the road, and the car assaulted my butt (this seems to be a theme). This is not designed to be a practical car that performs well, this is a sports car hiding in the body of a mid-size executive sedan. Your four passengers will be very comfortable until they abruptly become intimate with their head-rest. The steering didn’t escape this design philosophy either, it senses the slightest adjustment and immediately complies. There isn’t a hint of ambiguity anywhere.
This is about where the salesman decided to show me how the on-board computer and navigation system worked. Firstly, he decided to show off the voice command feature, which actually worked flawlessly. He then decided that I needed to see the vehicle interface with his bluetooth cell phone. I’ll continue this paragraph about the on-board computer when he gets it working…
Then I heard some of the most comforting words ever. “It has a rev limiter, so you can’t blow out the engine.” I had just switched the gearbox over to manual mode and ever so gently put more pressure on the throttle. I saw the tachometer go from a calm coast at 2500 rpms to the red-line instantly. Before I had heard those words of reassurance I frantically started flailing for the up-shift paddle, which was nowhere to be found. Now before Peter attacks me for not having my hands firmly planted at 9 and 3, I’ll justify myself. I was making a sharp right turn, and had to do a bit of hand-over-hand steering. If the paddles had been column mounted, I would have known exactly where they were and been able to find the appropriate one quickly, but they were not, and I was left hunting.
The salesman figured out how to get his cell to talk to the car now. However, having decided he liked my music, and that it showed off the stereo nicely, he started trying to copy it to the hard drive…
When I did find the up-shift paddle, the transmission shifted very quickly, but neither I nor the salesman have been able to divine the exact speed. It sure wasn’t sluggish though.
The hard drive is copying my CD…
Now that I had gotten used to exactly how uncompromising this car is, I was beginning to truly love it. It had started to make me crave hot wings.
For some reason the music wasn’t on the hard drive, so he tried again, and it worked. It’s really too bad that the car doesn’t come with a sales-person. This would be impossible to do while driving this monster.
The C63 AMG is an absolute rocket of a car with a big trunk and five seats. It is about as uncompromising as a car can be, and about as much fun as a car can be too. Even though the sheer magnitude of insanity in this vehicle is astounding, it is one of the cars that I have driven that I still think about the most. I can’t stop wanting to go play with the C63 again, but I sadly don’t have an excuse.
Summary: Just as insane and just as fun as one of my best friends. No fatties allowed.
Base Price: $63,500 ($68,700 as tested)
Interior Design: 8/10 Perfect, as long as the people up front are in shape.
Exterior Design: 7/10 Nice looking, and more aggressive than the regular C-class.
Engine: 9/10 A powerful beast with a magical insta-rev ability.
Transmission: 8/10 Nice and fast, plus the differing shift speeds for different settings is a nice touch.
Audio/Video: 6/10 It does a lot, but you will need to consult the manual.
Value: 7/10 Expensive, but really, really fast.
Thanks to Ed Clayton and World Wide Motors Inc.