2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe

2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe

2011 New York Auto Show

2011 New York Auto Show

What is it?
2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe

What's special about it?
We knew Mercedes had to be working on an AMG version of its new C-Class coupe, and sure enough, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe will arrive in the U.S. with the C63 sedan in September 2011 — about a month behind the regular-strength 2012 C-Class sedan and coupe.

We got a quick look at the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe in early March at a top-secret location in the sleepy little town of Geneva, Switzerland. It was there that Mercedes' AMG division engineers gave us a few interesting details on the upcoming performance coupe. To start, the coupe will use the torque-rich, port-injected 6.2-liter V8 just like the C63 sedan. We're told there's no plan to use AMG's new twin-turbocharged direct-injected 5.5-liter V8.

The normally aspirated 6.2-liter V8 is rated at 451 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 443 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm in the C63 AMG coupe. However, most of you will check off the AMG Development package, which specifies a lighter crankshaft, connecting rods and forged pistons. This not only saves 6.6 pounds and adds a more aggressive ECU map, it allows the V8 to generate 481 hp. It also raises the top-speed limiter from 155 to 174 mph.

The big change on all 2012 C63s is the introduction of Benz's MCT seven-speed automatic transmission. First seen on the E63 AMG, this transmission dispenses with the conventional torque converter in favor of a clutch pack in an oil bath. Shifts are smoother and quicker and, in the C63, we're told it reduces fuel consumption by 10 percent — not a bad thing when you remember that the current C63 sedan has a combined EPA rating of 15 mpg.

The transmission includes four shift modes and will match revs in its S, S+ and Manual modes. Launch control (called Race Start) is also part of the deal, and will help you deliver your Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG coupe to 60 mph in a claimed 4.3 seconds. We're not sure why a limited-slip differential isn't standard with this much torque burdening the 255/35 R18 Continental ContiSportContact 5 rear tires, but at least you can buy one à la carte.

If you couldn't tell from its swollen fenders, the 2012 C63 coupe has a 4-inch-wider track than ordinary C-Class coupes; it's 65.3 inches across in front and 64.3 inches in back. The suspension is identical to the C63 sedan, with struts and dual-pivot lower control arms in front and a multilink rear, but the AMG engineers have made some revisions for 2012.

Tobias Moers, head of vehicle development for AMG, told us they've toned down the rebound damping and focused more on getting the compression damping just right, which we hope will result in a more livable ride quality and better handling to boot. The AMG team also increased negative camber up front and changed out most of the suspension bushings with an eye toward making the 2012 C63 coupe and sedan behave more predictably at the limit.

"If you get on the throttle too early in the current C63, it goes sideways," Moers admitted, "which is very funny, but...."

Right, perhaps not so good for the customer who takes his expensive toy to a local track day. In that vein, there's also a new calibration for the stability control system this year, but it will still offer the full-off mode that's essential for track use.

The brake rotors are ventilated and cross-drilled, and measure 14.2-by-1.4-inches in front and 13-by-1 in back. The AMG Development package provides impressive-looking red-painted calipers with six pistons apiece in front and four in the rear.

Standard equipment on the U.S.-spec 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe includes the panoramic glass roof you see in all of the photos here. The glass roof adds about 70 pounds to the car, according to the AMG engineers. They don't care for it and made sure to let us know it's optional in Europe where people have more sense.

Inside, every 2012 C63 coupe has seating for four with serious sport seats up front. Amenities include a Harman Kardon sound system, Bluetooth and a USB port. Options include adaptive bi-xenon lights, an 80GB navigation system (with 10GB of audio storage and a back-up camera), a keyless ignition and mbrace telematics.

Edmunds.com says: Don't let the conservative styling put you off; the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe will be a proper hooligan's thrill ride just like the sedan. — Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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