By BRENWIN NAIDU
WE LOVE a bit of flash and bling-bling in good ol’ Johannesburg. This is the fast-paced City of Gold, where we’ve all got ambitions to make it big. And for those folks whose hard graft has paid-off, it isn’t abnormal to want to acquire something that will say to the world “Make way, I am here.”
I hasten to add that I’m not one for showing off, but one can understand the logic of these people: if you’ve got it, why not flaunt it?
The ultimate status symbol we’ve had the opportunity of sampling this year at Sports Focus, is the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG Coupe – finished in bright red, with contrasting white leather, and sporty-looking black rims. This particular one, and other C-Class AMG models were all available for our driving pleasure, at the recent launch.
And it’s hard to not get excited and wax lyrically about a car like this. When you’re behind the wheel, listening to and savouring the deep burble of that savage V8 engine, you don’t care about the fact that there might not be enough rear legroom for your kids, or the fact that you’ll be paying an insane amount of money to own the thing. I spoke to one of the product managers at the launch, and he told me that cars from Merc’s AMG range, are the type that would have you looking for any excuse to drive – even if it’s forgetting the milk on purpose and telling your wife that you have to dash back to the shops.
In this coupe format, with its come-hither looks, the C63 is something worth aspiring to. For ages, it has been the BMW M3 that car-fans think of by default, when the matter of performance-orientated coupes is raised. Mercedes-Benz’ AMG Coupe, then, is something that looks poised to challenge the status quo – to put it out there that the company is capable of creating fire-breathing, raw coupes that wouldn’t look out of place at a drag strip, or track meeting – rather than just the directors’ parking section at a major company.
That beautiful 6.3-litre engine tucked beneath the AMG’s sexy front-end churns out an amazing torque figure of 600 Newton-metres and 336-kilowatts. You have to experience power like this at least once in your life – the excitement (Butterflies, I presume) that emanates from your bowels when you hit the accelerator is addictive.
Zwartkops Raceway was so conducive to experiencing all the car has to offer: in a controlled environment like this, you can really let loose and push the limits without fear. On my first lap I was a little apprehensive, and at one point my instructor said I was driving too slow.
I soon learned that with all the Merc’s electronic driver aids turned on, you can safely explore the limits, without really risking losing control of the vehicle. I wouldn’t be brave enough to try it with the traction control fully turned off though – that’s probably best left to those professional drivers with swift wrists.
But it’s not an animal all the time, and when you’re on the open road, it feels as though you’re calmly cruising in a normal, unfettled Mercedes-Benz C-Class. And this is one of the AMG Coupe’s trump cards – it’s suitable for everyday use, which is important, because one doesn’t always feel like opening the taps and testing the limits of grip.
Sit down for this section of the article, dear reader: this package of luxury and mouth-watering performance will set you back R923 700. Throw in R71 800 extra if you want goodies like the AMG Performance Package, which bumps up the kilowatts, and adds a high-performance braking system.