First Drive: 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe

The addition of a two-door coupe to the C-class lineup has given AMG the opportunity to expand the family of its popular C63 AMG model. Currently offered as a sedan and (in Europe) a wagon, the C63 adds a coupe variant for the 2012 model year. Mechanically, the coupe and sedan are identical, with one significant upgrade coming to both for 2012. The two-door is the same size as its four-door sibling, but its lower body, more intimate cabin, and sportier styling make it a racier distillation of the C63 formula.

Familiar motivator
The C63 coupe's 6.2-liter V-8 is an engine that we know (and love) from the C63 sedan-and elsewhere in the AMG line-up. What do we love about it? The deep rumble on start-up, its quick bark during full-throttle upshifts, the roar as it passes by at full gallop, and of course the tremendous response, which is both linear and lag-free. But the big V-8 actually is on its way out; it has already been replaced by a smaller, 5.5-liter bi-turbo V-8 in the CL63 and the S63, the blown 5.5 powers the new CLS63 AMG, and for 2012 it steps in for the 6.2-liter in the E63 as well. Why not use it here? The answer, from AMG's head of product development Tobias Moers, is that the 5.5-liter biturbo makes more torque than the smaller C-class chassis can handle (516 pound-feet in the E63).

The naturally aspirated 6.2-liter's output is lower, although it's still considerable: 451 hp at 6500 rpm and 443 pound-feet at 5000 rpm. That's the same as in the C63 sedan. Ordering the AMG development package increases horsepower to 481 hp, thanks for a revised camshaft, lightweight pistons and connecting rods, and a reprogrammed ECU. The extra oomph shaves the 0-60 time by a fraction, from 4.4 to 4.3 seconds. More importantly, the development package provides increased bragging rights, in the form of a top speed raised to 174 mph, from 155 mph. Little wonder, that our C63 coupe test cars were so equipped.

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