A consistency and commonality of character pervade Mercedes-Benz’s AMG products, especially those that pack the in-house tuner’s own 6.2-liter V-8. Unique to the AMG brand, the big eight is essentially the same wherever it’s found, whether in the exotic SLS or this car, the C63. But it’s not just the engine that connects the C63 sedan and the be-winged SLS AMG. The primary controls have a uniform feel, the cars handle and ride similarly, and even their leather seats have the same cured scent. Of course, they differ vastly in looks, interior quality—the C63 shares much of its plasticky trimmings with the base C300—and, perhaps most significantly, price. The C63 is the “entry level” AMG at $60,325, roughly one-third as much as the $190,000 SLS, making it a relative bargain for those seeking the AMG experience without another mortgage.
In a comparison test involving the C63 back in December 2007, the C63 finished second behind a BMW M3 and ahead of an Audi RS 4. We called the Benz “overtly aggressive” and criticized its harsh ride. This test car, equipped with the $5950 P31 AMG Development Package, keeps the C63 resolutely on the extreme end of the sports-sedan spectrum. The P31 package focuses on power, going beyond the now-defunct AMG Performance pack by adding the connecting rods, pistons, and crankshaft from the SLS’s version of this engine and retunes the engine-management system. Horsepower thus increases from 451 to 481. (Other versions of the 6.2-liter make 503, 507, 518, and 563 hp, but the 6.2 is due to be phased out over the next few years. Its replacement will be a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 that will deliver similar power but return better fuel economy.) The C63’s ECU tweaks raise the top speed from a governed 155 mph (the governor in our comparison-test C63 cut in early at an actual 153 mph) to 174, a speed the C63 achieves with such ease that we wondered how fast it would run without even this loosened electronic leash.
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