The game Hazard was invented in Britain around 2000 years ago. It’s a game where gamblers bet on the outcome of the ‘Dice’ (one of its other names) roll. It’s a simple enough game and as it requires very little in terms of equipment, it can be played virtually anywhere. It is believed that when the French settled in Canada and then on to New Orleans they took Hazard with them and in the 1700’s it became known as ‘Craps’ – a name thought to have ‘evolved’ from the ‘Crabs’ name given when you roll a double 1 (the roll we now call Snake Eyes).
When it comes to dice roll names, there are some excellent terms available. 3 – Acey Duecy, 4 – Little Joe from Kokomo, 5 – Little Phoebe, 6 – Jimmy Hicks from the Sticks, 7 – Up Pops the Devil and a ‘Hard’ 8 (two fours) – Square pair, eighter from Decatur or Ozzie and Harriet. Betting on the ‘Hard’ combination (the same number combination on each dice) gives a higher return and Hard 8 sprung to mind when I drove the new Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe.
Dressed in Brilliant Blue Metallic the AMG Coupe is quite a pretty yet formidable sight. Its sloping roofline with a low and wide road stance gives off a not so subtle hint that this is a solid racing car and the AMG badging is there to emphase the fact. It has combination 19 & 20 inch 5 twin-spoke forged Alloys, in Matt Black (20” on the rear), a performance exhaust system, and a powerdomed AMG bonnet that struggles to contain the 4L V8 Bi-Turbo brute of an engine within.
Now, New Zealand’s weather is unpredictable at the best of times and it’s always a bit of a gamble as to the conditions you get when reviewing cars, the weather report is no indication either, it’s a case of rolling the dice and hoping for the best – last weekend I unfortunately rolled torrential rain. Even with the aggressive sporty look of the C63 S Coupe’s exterior it still barely prepares you for the power that is delivered to the car’s rear wheels – it’s both thrilling and unnerving; and in the wet more airing towards the unnerving.
Leaving the Coupe firmly in ‘Comfort’ mode, I left Mercedes-Benz Auckland office and hit the motorway traffic; a place that I have previously found their 7-speed AMG SPEEDSHIFT MCT box to have difficulty (High power and low revs seem at odds with each other). However, the C63 S handled the pressure well. The gear shifting in Comfort was much better (still jumpy in Sport and above though).
While travelling bumper to bumper it gave me chance to look around its luxurious cabin. Nappa leather AMG performance seats cushion you well from every angle, glorious deep pore wood, chrome garnish, an IWC clock, a 590 watt Bermester audio, a 21.3 cm TFT screen, and an AMG Instrument cluster with race timer – it even had the Mercedes AIR BALANCE (a little bottle of goodness that ionises the air from the glove box). Head up display was there to keep my eyes on the road while delivering all the important driving info but I tended to look at the kW and Nm info on the TFT.
As I said before, in the wet the AMG C 63 S Coupe is a handful. Pulling out at junctions and gassing the accelerator makes its tail wag more than a little. The car’s electronics (rather than my driving prowess) keeps the wiggle manageable but the V8 power caused loss of traction in the wet quite regularly. It does keep you alert.
With the weekend weather easing I took the chance to let the C63 S Coupe loose around some local country roads. The ride is hard even in Comfort (possibly too much?) and firmer still in Sports and Sports + (with Race up its sleeve too). However; flicking up to Sports + unleashes the all singing and all dancing power of the Coupe’s V8. 375kW & (wait for it) 700Nm! The Sports exhaust screams louder than a Crap table winner and the rev matching and snap and pop theatrics (I’d hoped for) came into play with a vengeance.
In the dry; all bets are off and the C 63 S is an absolute joy to drive. The engine roars and the exhaust crackles as you power up and down the gears. 0-100kph takes a reported 3.9 seconds (I didn’t check but I can confirm it’s fast) and yet it will apparently deliver a respectable 8.7L/100km – act like you care about the last figure.
Increase the revs and the firmness of the car’s RIDE-CONTROL sports suspension is a welcomed addition – especially as you hit corners at speed; body roll is unnoticeable. You feel confident pushing the Coupe’s fat feet deep into the dry tarmac and it doesn’t bite you back (unless you really are a real gambler).
Although it has a prettiness about it; rest assured the AMG C 63 S Coupe is a brute of a car. It keeps you on your toes in the wet but brings you such amazing joy in the dry. The ride is hard and the feel (and sound) of the road is ever present and I believe that that is part of its appeal. The V8 will happily yell louder than you can and you’ll find yourself in Sports + mode more than you probably should. It will even squeeze in four people but you’ll no doubt be looking for excuses to drive her alone and enjoying the sense of freedom it delivers.
I’ll leave you with this one last thought – At the casino table; gambling on the hard eight may be a bit of a long shot BUT it also delivers some of the establishment’s best rewards!
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