Mercedes C63 AMG (M156) Short-take Review by STIK

“Absolute power will corrupt absolutely”

I was a true fan of BMW M cars and I always thought it is the epitome of sport sedan and nothing from Mercedes can ever come close, that was until I drove the AMG C63 with the monstrous M156 6.2-liter V8 with 451 hp and 443 pound-feet of torque. The “one man, one engine” AMG team first used the M156 engine in a number of Mercedes vehicles including the S63, E63, ML63 etc, but it is until they stuff this huge motor into the smallish C-Class sedan, the car enthusiast world began to take notice.

Where the M156 had been great in other cars, it somehow went berzerk in the C-Class. First the sound was simply amazing! Push on the “loud pedal” produces a RIOT of an exhaust note that resembles a NASCAR in action. You can never get tired of this Euro Muscle car soundtrack. The engine also transformed the otherwise uptight Mercedes C-Class into a crazy son-of-a-bitch that love to do menacing acts by a simple stab on the throttle.

Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Hong Kong

Unlike the BMW M cars which requires you to rev the engine to extract power, the C63 accelerates like a freight train at any speed, any RPM, it’s RIGHT NOW, No need to wait. You can do a peel out anywhere, tail-out slide anytime. The only draw back to this 1st Generation C63 powertrain is the transmission. Not only does it refuse to react to your commands, something it decides on its own what gear you should be in! I simply gave up using manual mode and let it do its thing in Sport mode.

However, handling really isn’t as precise as BMW M cars. A fair comparison would be: BMW M car feels like a surgical knife while the AMG is a Sledge hammer. Thankfully the brakes are as capable of slowing the car back to sensible speed as the engine can catapult the car forward. Similar to what I have written in the SL63 review, “Although Mercedes does do a fairly good job of disguising the weight, it is after all a very heavy machine, so you need to preemptively apply the brakes early before a corner to slow the car down. The brakes are very strong but you cannot beat physics. While cornering fast, where you aim the car will not be where it will end up. Due to its mass, the car will inevitably shifted a few meters from where you intend it to be, therefore you should over-compensate by applying more steering lock so the car WILL BE where you wanted it to be. Kind of like in bowling, if your ball always ended up swivelling to one side, you compensate by standing a few steps in the opposite direction.”

Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Hong Kong

The M156 V8 no doubt will be missed, because Mercedes has “moved on” and will be using a much smaller displacement Bi-Turbo on the new C63. It is sad to say bye to the M156 when AMG has clearly nailed the bull’s eye of what car enthusiast wanted so perfectly! So whichever sport sedan you are driving now, go give the M156 V8 equipped C63 a try and experience what I called “Absolute power will corrupt absolutely”

Read more at Kenneth’s Car Review Blog: Driven by STIK