Everyone is going turbo these days. After years of big V12s and V8s, and of course flat sixes, everyone is going to smaller capacities and turbos. Even Porsche, that last bastion of naturally aspirated engine design is introducing an all turbo 911 line up. It’s all to do with emissions and fuel consumption of course, with ever tightening restrictions, well, restricting carmakers in what they can put in their high performance cars.
Take this NZ$165,000 AMG C63 S for example. Instead of the old 6.0 litre V12 the car now has a 4.0 litre V8 with twin turbos stuck to the side. But don’t get the idea that the power is in anyway diminished, as the S kicks out a moderately insane 375kW (or 509hp) and quite nutty 700Nm of torque directed religiously to the rear wheels.
And equally aggressive is the suspension tine. One setting is ‘comfort’ which I suspect is a joke on behalf of the engineers, as while the car sticks to the road like a demented snail it also transfers every lump, bump, stone and for all I know micron of road surface directly to your backside.
There are another three levels of suspension too, and they just increase the, ahem, ‘road feel’.
Throttle response? The days when a turbo meant a lag in power delivery and a squishy throttle are pretty much long gone, and like most very high performance turbos these days the throttle on the AMG is as sharp as you would expect something from AMG to be.
It is worth selecting all the performance options available on the car’s computer systems because this is not transport for shrinking violets. It can rip up the road with the best of them, while still stunning people at walking speed. A trip to Mount Maunganui showed that when you rumble down the main drag of the holiday town you can hear people exclaiming on the sides of the road at the shape, sound and experience of this four-door saloon.
Did I mention the exhaust? There’s a standard mode for the car to get through legal tests, but also one that essentially negates most of the muffling system and emits the sort of growling you normally associate with a very angry big African cat.
Add that this is one of the “Edition 1’ first production vehicles and you get the red trimmed black alloy wheels, side graphics and extra carbon fibre on the inside. Speaking of the inside, there’s plenty of room for five people, which is something you can’t really say about the main competition, BMW’s
And if the M3 is a surgical scalpel, the AMG is a sledgehammer, disposing of corners with a massive dose of additional overkill. It corners flat, and when you are really going fast and order up a down change or two on the automatic gearbox there’s so much fuel going through the engine that the exhaust literally bangs with explosions as the hot fuel reaches the hot exhausts.
Along with the ‘Edition 1’ spec comes a distinct steering wheel with a red stripe around the top of the rim. You know, like the sort of thing that rally cars usually have so you can tell which way the steering heel is pointing. The only problem is that it induced massive eyestrain while I drove it, and I suspect others will find it a little distracting as well. Then again that was easily solved with 5cm of black insulation tape.
Apart from that, the AMG C63 S is totally addictive and despite the inevitable high fuel bills the C63 S it is the perfect transport for someone who thinks the M3 is a little too aggressive in the styling department and prefers something that has a really sleek, fantastic shape and goes like hell. It’s also the perfect Lotto car, which reminds me. The Lottery is on tonight and I have a ticket…