Waiting for us on the cobblestone center court of AMG headquarters in the Stuttgart suburb of Affalterbach is a gunmetal gray Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG. Like its two direct competitors, the Audi RS4 and the BMW M3, the new top-of-the-line C-class is powered by a V-8. And like the formula favored by those cars, the latest DOHC four-valve is a high-revving, normally aspirated engine: it is redlined at 7200 rpm and delivers 451 hp at 6800 rpm. The smaller V-8 fitted to the 2008 M3 (page 64) can muster an extra 1200 revs, but it maxes out at 414 hp. Where the C63 has its biggest advantage, however, is in torque. Its bigger engine distances the pack with 443 lb-ft at 5000 rpm, followed by the RS4 with 317 lb-ft and the BMW with 295 lb-ft.
The C63 AMG is fitted with a seven-speed automatic, coined Speedshift Plus, that offers three different driving modes. C stands for comfort, and S indicates sport. The sport mode cuts shift times by 30 percent, triggers automatic downshifts on the approach to corners and descents, and blips the throttle, Ferrari-style.... Read full article