Next to the BMW M3, the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG is a bit of a sleeper. Sure, car guys will know what this Merc is capable of, but the idolized M3 still draws more attention. Plus, the C63 is absolutely off the radar of mainstream America. That is until you leap into motion with the engine snarling and the tires adding in the harmonious squeal of controlled wheel spin. The 6.3-liter engine is star in this car, but it is really a complete package with phenomenal seats and steering feel that I find more satisfying than in the BMW. There's no adjustable suspension here, but it's not needed. The C63 has a wonderfully balanced chassis that's at home on track and road, making it a wonderful, rewarding daily driver.
I'd hardly call the transmission "rapid-fire," though, Rusty. On the contrary, the gearbox fails to respond to double or triple taps of the steering wheel-mounted paddles. Call for a two-gear downshift, and you're often only given a single gear. That's frustrating, because leaving the gear selector in automatic mode can provide relatively quick, multi-gear downshifts when the throttle is pushed down far enough forcing you to choose between the fun of shifting for yourself or the performance of letting the computers do the work.
Before I got out of the C63 for the last time, I backed it up to a concrete wall inside our parking garage. Fully aware of the unholy ruckus I was about to create, I waited until there wasn't a person in and stabbed the gas pedal. Reverberating off the concrete, the deep, unruly blat-blat-blat transformed into sinfully sharp, violently loud staccato cracks. A car this grown-up yet so juvenile is a beautiful thing.
- Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor