Engine and gearbox
Its new hot-V 3982cc twin-turbo V8 has a lot to live up to replacing the remarkable naturally aspirated 6.2-litre engine AMG enthralled us with for all those years. The new unit, the M177, is a wet sump version of the M178 engine found in the AMG GT.
Turbocharging can rob an engine of much of its aural character, significantly reducing the exhaust note and completely muting the induction noise. By combining the exhaust ports of both banks of cylinders into each turbo, a hot-V configuration removes the typically lumpy off-beat noise that a cross-plane crank V8 is known for. But Mercedes has compensated for all of this with a rambunctious exhaust, that despite the odds, has a definite V8 burble at idle and a raucous blare at full throttle. Pleasingly, anyone who has heard the old naturally aspirated 6.2 V8 will certainly recognise some of its character in the soundtrack of the new car.
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It’s a little more subdeued in Comfort where there is a bit of gas rush (think Megane R26 R) complementing with the woofle. But once the valves in the pipes opened up in Sport and Sport+ mode (or when you press the exhaust button) the noise is back to being appropriately bold for a AMG. The noise is then also complemented with some angry rasps on gearchanges.
The gearbox is the seven-speed MCT speedshift auto rather than the dual clutch from in the AMG GT that we might have expected. However, the auto’s shifts have been improved significantly when compared to how it was in the old C63. The main bone of contention in the past was the delay between pulling a paddle and an actual shift, now any such delay as been all but wiped out. A certain crispness and sense of mechanical involvement is still lacking compared to the best dual-clutch ‘boxes but it’s hard to fault the performance.
To be honest, such is the torque on-tap from low revs there’s little need to flex your fingertips and work the aluminium paddles to override the gearbox. It’s huge fun to simply point and shoot the C63 out of corners, letting the transmission do its thing and feel the epic, endless rush of the biturbo V8 as it hits the meat of its mid-range. Work the engine harder and there’s plenty left at the top-end, too. In fact it leaves you feeling slightly giddy. Addictive only begins to describe the manner of this car’s performance.
'The engine is a truly mighty thing. Aurally exuberant and explosively potent, it makes the car heart-poundingly rapid when you pull the pin and merely imperious when you simply wish to make progress. - Richard Meaden, Contributing Editor (evo 211)