Mercedes-Benz has expanded its assault on the BMW M3 with its first two-door AMG version of the C-Class.
The C63 AMG Coupe joins the sedan and wagon variants that have been on sale since 2008. It effectively replaces the CLK63 AMG that was discontinued in 2010, though the new model is significantly cheaper at $154,800 to be priced within $200 of the M3 Coupe.
The AMG version of the C-Class Coupe, which itself has replaced the unsuccessful Sports Coupe and CLC models, is powered by the same 336kW 6.2-litre normally aspirated V8 as the other C63s.
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Coupe buyers will have the fractionally faster C63. Mercedes says the two-door sprints from 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds – a tenth quicker than the sedan and two-tenths ahead of the wagon.
Straight-line performance is also superior to competitors that not only include the M3 Coupe but also the $175,300 Audi RS5, both of which take 4.6 seconds to complete the standard acceleration benchmark.
The C63 AMG Coupe is joined by updated versions of its sedan and wagon siblings, which retain their previous pricing - $152,800 and $154,800 - and now share the two-door’s front end.
That means a more muscular-looking bonnet now made of aluminium rather than steel, reprofiled headlights, revised grille with one rather than two louvers, enlarged lower air intake and horizontal daytime running lights in place of round foglights.
All models also incorporate the vastly improved interior presentation and quality introduced to the C-Class sedan and wagon in May. The AMG cabins include distinctive features such as carbon-fibre trim and flat-bottomed sports steering wheel.
Mechanically, the Coupe employs the same seven-speed ‘MCT’ sequential auto as the sedan and wagon. It features a launch control system and four different modes that can alter shifting speeds.
An optional Performance Pack, taken up by about half of C63 buyers to date, costs $14,900 and lifts power to 358kW through lighter engine components borrowed from the SLS ‘Gullwing’.
It also includes a racier-looking AMG steering wheel with an alcantara grip area, different-look 19-inch alloys, lighter braking system with red brake calipers, and a carbon-fibre bootlid for the coupe and sedan.
The upgrade pack results in an acceleration improvement of 0.1 second.
The fastest and most powerful version of the C-Class will arrive in the second quarter of 2012. The C63 AMG Coupe Black Series has 380kW of power and accelerates from 0-100km in a claimed 4.2 seconds.